CHARLESTON, W.Va -- Let's get straight to the point ... as in floor generals.
The point guard position is the most compelling aspect of Saturday's Capital Classic, the 42nd matchup between the men's basketball programs at West Virginia and Marshall (7:30 p.m., WOWK).
Juwan Staten, a 6-foot-1 junior for the Mountaineers, and Kareem Canty, a 6-1 freshman for the Thundering Herd, have been two of the country's most dynamic at their position this season.
Both players are in the top 10 nationally in assists, but they're also bona fide scorers. Only four Division I players are averaging at least 16.0 points and 6.5 assists, and half of them - Staten and Canty - will be on the Charleston Civic Center court Saturday night.
"It is a good matchup," fourth-year Marshall Coach Tom Herrion said.
"We've got a lot of good matchups at a lot of positions, but usually point guard play is paramount for any team."
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Steady Staten is averaging 16.4 points, 6.8 assists and 6.4 rebounds. Last season, his first at WVU, he had 101 assists against 48 turnovers, slightly better than a 2-to-1 ratio. This season Staten ranks No. 5 nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.64) with 65 assists against 14 turnovers. Five of those turnovers came in WVU's 80-71 loss at Missouri, so Staten has nine turnovers in the other nine games combined.
He is the only player in the top 15 of assist-to-turnover ratio with more than 50 assists and he leads WVU in minutes per game (35.8), so the opportunities have been plenty for him to be careless.
"Juwan is playing really, really well," Herrion said of Staten. "He's having a breakout year, as you'd expect after being in that system for a year."
Canty, a highly touted recruit, might be exceeding lofty expectations. He is averaging 18.3 points and 6.7 assists, and is coming off a career-high 28 points in a 90-77 loss at Penn State last Saturday.
Among all freshman in college basketball, Canty is sixth in scoring, first in assists and 13th in 3-pointers made. Canty averages 35.2 minutes per game. With leading-scorer Elijah Pittman suspended indefinitely, Canty averages 10.5 more minutes per game than any of his teammates.
Staten and Canty seldom leave the floor - and for good reason. They're also throwbacks, of sorts, even down to the players they watch and emulate.
Staten said he pops in old game tapes of Isiah Thomas and studies the professional hoops Hall of Famer.