This is the first year for the Mountaineers to compete in the Big 12 and that will require some changes to the way the program is built and the team plays. The Big East is a more physical, defense-oriented league; the Big 12 favors athleticism, especially in the post, and more of the league's teams favor up-tempo games. The Mountaineers will need to make a quick transition if they are going to compete for the Big 12 title.
West Virginia was dealt a huge blow in the offseason when senior center Asya Bussie went down with a season-ending knee injury. It is never easy to lose a starter, particularly when, like Bussie, she is the team's leading scorer and a 1,000-point, 500-rebound player. But the Mountaineers must find a way to replace her points and rebounds and -- most important -- her leadership.
Despite the loss of Bussie, the Mountaineers have plenty of experienced returning talent. The team is built around a dominant post player in Ayana Dunning, who averaged 8.4 rebounds per game. Junior forward Jessica Harlee is talented and should take a big step forward and develop into an All-Big 12 player. She started 32 games last year and had a team-high 65 steals.