Santos-Silva vs. Culver in the post will be a war
Not all of the matchups we will discuss here will be one-on-one battles all night long. But the matchup between Tech’s Marcus Santos-Silva and WVU’s Derek Culver will be and it should be a true slugfest.
Culver is a dominant 6-foot-10, 255-pound beast who is averaging 13.4 points and 10.3 boards per game this year. He’s arguably the best big man in the Big 12 and now, he’s WVU’s primary force in the post.
Tech fans may remember the name of former Mountaineer big man Oscar Tshiebwe, a 6-foot-9, 260-pound bull in the middle of the WVU lineup. Earlier this year, he left the program and has since committed to play for Kentucky. That’s placed an even greater load on Culver’s shoulders as Tshiebwe’s 8.5 points and 7.8 boards per game have left a hole to fill.
But Culver is more than capable of taking care of the dirty work in the paint for the Mountaineers. In fact, in two of his last three games, he’s had performances of 19 and 16 rebounds.
The simple fact is that Tech is not an elite rebounding team. But surprisingly, in Big 12 play, Chris Beard’s team has been better in that aspect of the game than the Mountaineers ranking fifth in the league in rebounding margin at -0.14 while WVU sits at No. 7 at -0.67.
The key here for Santos-Silva will be to simply stay on the floor. In five games this year, he’s accumulated at least four fouls. If that happens tonight and Tech loses their primary post option for long stretches of the game, Culver could own this game on the glass.
But if Tech’s senior big man can stay out of foul trouble, he could help prevent Culver from having his way down low. So watch what happens in the paint when these two bulls lock horns because it could be where this game is decided.