West Virginia (12-9, 4-4 Big 12) hosts Kansas State (15-6, 5-3) today at the Coliseum. The 1:47 p.m. tip will be televised by the Big 12 Network (locally on WQCW).
The teams played two weeks ago in Kansas and not only did the Wildcats roll to a 78-56 win - WVU's most lopsided loss of the season by far - but Staten turned the ball over seven times that day. It wasn't that he was a liability because he had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Still, he went through all of last season never turning the ball over more than three times in a game. But he also tied a season-low with just three assists.
No doubt part of the issue that day at Kansas State was the opposition. The Wildcats are arguably one of the best defensive teams in the Big 12, and while they don't force an inordinate number of turnovers they do apply a great deal of pressure.
"They're tough on defense,'' Staten said. "They bring a lot of pressure.''
Pressure or not, at least statistically Staten would seem to have a great chance of turning around the numbers from the first Kansas State game when the teams meet today, if for no other reason than the venue. In true road games this season, Staten has 36 assists and 23 turnovers, a ratio of 1.57 that before Tuesday's game at Baylor (that 9-to-1 performance) was even lower. In four neutral-court games he has 25 assists and nine turnovers, a 2.78 ratio.
But in home games this season, Staten has been magnificent handling the ball. He has 65 assists and only 11 turnovers, a ratio of just under 6 to 1.
West Virginia will need that kind of performance today in order to turn things around from the last meeting with Kansas State. The Wildcats got 20 points each from 6-foot-7, 265-pound center Thomas Gipson and 6-7 senior wing Shane Southwell.
It was Southwell who made two free throws and then blocked a Gary Browne shot just ahead of the buzzer last year to give Kansas State a 65-64 win at the Coliseum.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.