West Virginia plays at Iowa State tonight

AMES, IOWA – West Virginia University’s basketball team has been described as offensively challenged.

After all, the Mountaineers average just 68 points per game (ranking WVU 177th nationally) and connect on just 39.7 percent of their field goal attempts (which puts WVU at No. 307).

You never will hear the words offensively challenged used to describe the Mountaineers opponent tonight. Iowa State ranks sixth nationally in scoring, averaging 82.5 points per game. The Cyclones are seventh nationally in rebounding, and 15th in assists.

To matters worse for WVU, this is a road game and Iowa State is unbeaten at the James H. Hilton Coliseum this season. The Cyclones only losses took place on the road at No. 18 UNLV, No. 6 Kansas (in overtime), and to arch-rival Iowa, while the other setback came on a neutral court to No. 22 Cincinnati.

The Cyclones are coming off a 20-point home win over Texas on Saturday night while WVU’s last outing was a heartbreaking 65-64 home loss to Kansas State that same day.

Iowa State has five players who average in double figures, including guards Will Clyburn (14.3), Tyrus McGee (13.3) and Korie Lucious (10.1) as well as forwards Georges Niang (11.5) and Melvin Ejim (10.8). Niang, who has made just three starts, had a game-high 18 points vs. Texas.

West Virginia, which is 0-2 at home in Big 12 play but managed its one conference win at Texas, is led Aaric Murray (10.6) and Juwan Staten (10.5).

The only Mountaineer who has started all 15 games is Jabarie Hinds, who averages 7.3 points per game.

By the way, former Parkersburg South star Chase Fieler had 18 points when Florida Gulf Coast University visited Iowa State, a game that saw the Cyclones prevail, 83-72.