"It's one of those games you're supposed to win,'' point guard Juwan Staten said after the team's last game, a 73-70 loss to Purdue. "But you still have to go out and play well and win it.''
In William & Mary, West Virginia is facing a team that has played a soft schedule but has played well a couple of times against notable opponents. The Tribe led 2013 Final Four team Wichita State before losing 79-62 and beat Rutgers by 10 points on the road. William & Mary, though, has played even fewer games of late than have the Mountaineers, beating Goucher 94-60 on Dec. 20 in its only game since Dec. 7.
The Tribe has won five of its last six, beginning with that game at Rutgers. The team's only loss in that span was 71-60 at home to Richmond.
This is also the second time the two teams have met in one of the major sports this school year. West Virginia opened its football season with a 24-17 win over William & Mary after trailing 17-7 at halftime.
The teams also have a long, if not recent, basketball history. They played regularly when both were members of the Southern Conference in the 1950s and 1960s, and WVU holds a 36-9 edge in the series. They've not played, though, since 1982.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.