AMES, Iowa -- It's possible that when Iowa State and West Virginia play tonight, the two best players on each team were the two best practice players last year.
The Cyclones and the Mountaineers enter the 9 p.m. game (ESPN2) inside the Hilton Coliseum following the lead of transfers who sat out in 2011-12.
Iowa State (11-4, 1-1 Big 12) features four Division I transfers. One leads the team in scoring, one is the starting point guard, one plays the most minutes and has the best assist-turnover ratio for an up-tempo team and one is the top reserve.
And for effect, a junior college transfer is Big 12's most prolific and most accurate 3-point shooter.
"We'll always look at it and try to find out what makes the most sense for the program and to have long-term success," said Coach Fred Hoiberg, who has brought eight Division I transfers to campus in his three seasons. "For us, it was pretty important to get to the next level and where we needed to be to compete in the Big 12 Conference.
"It's something we'll certainly continue to look at. There were a couple this year we missed on that ended up going to big-time programs."
The Mountaineers (8-7, 1-2) have three Division I transfers. Center Aaric Murray leads the team in scoring (10.6 points per game), while point guard Juwan Staten is second (10.5) and leads the team with 2.9 assists per game.
Both have found their coach's bad side this season.
"Everybody's got to be on the same page," West Virginia Coach Bob Huggins said. "When everyone isn't on the same page, you don't have a very good team. But we all make mistakes."
Huggins benched Staten, who played one season at Dayton, for the second half of last week's win at Texas and then the entire home loss to Kansas State.
He said Staten will travel for tonight's game, but has repeated Staten will not play until he's on the same page with his coach and teammates.
Huggins left Murray, who played two seasons at La Salle, on campus when the Mountaineers traveled to Brooklyn, N.Y., for a loss to Michigan. Murray has averaged 12.5 points and 8.8 rebounds in the five games since and has played 24 and 26 minutes the past two games off the bench.
"We very well could bring him off the bench," Huggins said. "He's getting better. We've got to get him to not take some plays off, but I think he's getting better."
Dominique Rutledge has started for Murray the past two games. He's a second-season junior college transfer. Senior Matt Humphrey is a transfer from Boston College, but he's only played in eight games and hasn't seen a minute in the past four.