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Richmond vs West Virginia: 2020-21 college basketball game preview, TV schedule

AMES, IA - MARCH 03: Derek Culver #1 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drives the ball as Tre Jackson #3 of the Iowa State Cyclones defends in the first half of the play at Hilton Coliseum on March 3, 2020 in Ames, Iowa. The West Virginia Mountaineers won 77-71 over the Iowa State Cyclones. (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images)
AMES, IA - MARCH 03: Derek Culver #1 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drives the ball as Tre Jackson #3 of the Iowa State Cyclones defends in the first half of the play at Hilton Coliseum on March 3, 2020 in Ames, Iowa. The West Virginia Mountaineers won 77-71 over the Iowa State Cyclones. (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images) /
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A nationally ranked matchup is set to tip-off Sunday with Richmond and West Virginia.

TV Schedule: Sunday, December 13th, 1 pm ET, ESPN

Arena: WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, WV.

Sunday will feature a Top 25 showdown between the No. 19 Richmond Spiders (4-0) versus the No. 11 West Virginia Mountaineers (5-1).

This will mark the 55th meeting between Richmond and West Virginia. The Mountaineers currently lead the all-time series 41-13. West Virginia won its last matchup over Richmond 67-59 in 2015.

During this week, Richmond picked up two victories against Wofford 77-72 and Northern Iowa 78-68.

On Monday, the Spiders found themselves trailing Wofford 70-65 with 2 minutes and 18 seconds left. However, Richmond closed out the game on a 12-2 run to remain undefeated. The Spiders had four players in double figures with senior guard, Jacob Gilyard (12.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 7 apg) leading the way with 18 points and five steals.

On Wednesday, Richmond trailed by 10 points in the first half, but had a big second half to overcome their deficit and win 78-68 over Northern Iowa. The Spiders had three players tally double-doubles.

Sophomore forward, Tyler Burton (12.8 ppg, 9 rpg) posted career-highs in points and rebounds, scoring 21 points and snagging 13 rebounds on Wednesday.

Senior forward, Grant Golden (15.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.8 apg), scored 17 points and had 11 rebounds. While, Gilyard tallied 12 points, 11 assists, and four steals.

As for West Virginia, the Mountaineers committed only five turnovers last Sunday in their 80-71 victory at Georgetown. Sophomore point guard, Miles McBride (13.7 ppg, 4.5 apg), had an impressive game scoring a team-high 17 points, along with seven rebounds, seven assists, and four steals.

West Virginia got their fifth win of the season on Friday with a 62-50 victory over North Texas. The Mountaineers held the Mean Green to 34.5 percent shooting. Junior guard, Sean McNeil (11 ppg), led the Mountaineers with 15 points.

The Spiders are a scrappy team defensively and rely on forcing turnovers to generate points. The key impact player for the Spiders that can be a two-way contributor is Jacob Gilyard. Gilyard is averaging 4.2 steals per game and is currently third nationally in steals per game. This season, he has racked up at least three steals in all four games.

Coming off a career-high 11 assists on Wednesday against Northern Iowa, Gilyard will look to transfer that momentum into Sunday. Offensively, he’s been a tremendous playmaker and ballhandler. Gilyard will head into Sunday’s matchup with 28 assists to just five turnovers this season.

Richmond’s three frontcourt starters will have their hands full with the bigs of West Virginia on Sunday. For Richmond, senior forwards Grant Golden and Nathan Cayo (14.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg), will be key to generating offense inside, as well as helping out on the glass. Golden currently is shooting 26-for-47 from the floor (55.3 percent), while Cayo has been spectacular inside shooting 24-for-34 (70.6 percent).

Also, Tyler Burton has been a difference-maker towards his sophomore season leap at Richmond. Burton is currently shooting 17-for-33 (51.5 percent), while leading the Spiders in rebounding.

The matchup concern for the Spiders is that the Mountaineers have two dominating rebounders with junior forward, Derek Culver (14.5 ppg, 10.7 rpg) and sophomore forward Oscar Tshiebwe (7.6 ppg, 8 rpg). West Virginia will enter Sunday’s matchup with one of the top offensive rebounding margins nationally, outrebounding opponents on the offensive glass 95 to 67.

The key for the Mountaineers will be if they can put a stop to the Spiders’ inside scoring attack with Golden, Cayo, and Burton all shooting over 50 percent from the floor. Back in early-December, West Virginia held No. 1 Gonzaga to just 37.1 percent in the first half. However, Gonzaga’s high-powered offense was able to break out in the second half to convert on over 61.8 percent of their shots.

Even though their last two victories haven’t been pretty, the Mountaineer defense has proved to be the strong suit for West Virginia. During their last two games, West Virginia held their opponents to a combined 44-for-117 shooting (37.6 percent).

This season, West Virginia has struggled with making their shots. The Mountaineers will enter their matchup only making 40.7 percent of their shots this season. Tshiebwe will need to be a factor offensively by getting good looks in the post. He has been off to a slow start scoring and was held scoreless on Friday against North Texas.

Both squads will head into Sunday’s meeting with one thing in common, which is that they don’t make too many mistakes with turning over the basketball. Richmond currently has 62 assists to 44 turnovers, while West Virginia has 80 assists to 69 turnovers.

Richmond is looking to pull off the upset to move up in the rankings with their experienced roster of four starting seniors, along with a breakout sophomore in Tyler Burton. All five starters for Richmond will enter Sunday’s game averaging over 12 points per game.

West Virginia’s roster is dominant inside with players that can defend at a high-level and rebound. With a win on Sunday, the Mountaineers would most likely move up into the Top 10 of the AP Top 25 Poll on Monday.

Overall, Richmond and West Virginia will offer a great backcourt battle with point guard Jacob Gilyard of Richmond battling Miles McBride of West Virginia.

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The matchup in the frontcourt will be a great challenge for both teams, as the efficient scorers of Grant Golden, Nathan Cayo, and Tyler Burton of Richmond will face a challenging West Virginia interior defense led by Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe.

Prediction: West Virginia 73, Richmond 67