West Virginia v Baylor

West Virginia makes a statement in blowout win over No. 11 Iowa State


West Virginia continued their surge as one of the most surprising teams in the Big 12 on Monday night as they mollywhopped No. 11 Iowa State, 102-77.

Remi Dibo led the way for the Mountaineers, scoring 20 points and hitting six of West Virginia’s 13 threes, but it was Terry Henderson who got hot in the first half and sparked an early West Virginia run. The ‘Eers used a 14-2 run and jumped out to a 30-16 lead that they would never look back from.

All in all, it was a truly dominating performance for Bob Huggins’ club, one that further vaults them into the NCAA tournament conversation. They may be just 15-10 on the season and 7-5 in the league, but they can now claim wins over Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor and the Cyclones with their only truly bad loss coming at Virginia Tech in the second game of the season.

It’s worth noting that this group certainly does have the talent to make the Big Dance.

While tonight was a bit of a fluke — I’ll get into that in a second, but I think even Bob Huggins would agree with me — the bottom line is that Juwan Staten has a legitimate shot at winning the Big 12 Player of the Year award. A devastatingly quick point guard, he’s second in the conference in scoring and has become as good as anyone in the league at getting into the lane and finding the multitude of shooters that surround him. Throw in Eron Harris and Henderson, and this team can put up points in a hurry.

But, like I said, this performance was a bit of a fluke. West Virginia caught fire early and were tremendous on the defensive end of the floor. They overwhelmed the Cyclones, a team that is notorious for struggling to win games on the road. This was a statement win, one that will generate plenty of attention across the country, but that does not mean West Virginia is good enough to show up and blow out everyone in the conference.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.