Things have been crazy here in Morgantown all week. Oh, you hadn't heard? Well, that's all settled and done and while I have mixed feelings about it, it's been signed sealed and delivered and nothing more can be done about it. You know what I hate writing about though? Politics. When a football team picks a coach, it's politics. When the West Virginia Men's Basketball team faces Cleveland State in the Coliseum today at 2pm, we get back to what I like.... sports!
So far this season, the Mountaineers have been a total enigma. Kevin Jones and Deniz Kilicli were expected to be dominant offensive forces, while both have been non-factors. Casey Mitchell started the season looking like Pistol Pete Maravich, but reverted almost immediately back to looking like, well, Casey Mitchell. Truck Bryant and Danny Jennings have showed flashes of brilliance, and also been missing men, no moreso than in their one-game suspension against VMI. Cam Thoroughman has played his Cam Thoroughman role most of the season, but he even popped up as a starter who played a whopping 35 minutes the last time the Mountaineers took the court. Quite literally, we are at a point in the season where I have no idea what to expect out of anybody in the old gold and blue. That can be entertaining, but equally infuriating.
The problem is, despite being a so-called "mid-major," Cleveland State is a good basketball team. It has size that other small schools lack, and they use it. Currently undefeated, Cleveland State comes into this matchup having stacked up twelve wins in a row and looking for more. This team, let by hot shooting guard Norris Cole, who averages over 21 points per game, won't come into the Coliseum and back down from anything.
The troubling thing right now is that the Mountaineers are incredibly beatable. They haven't brought their "A Game" to any of this year's contests, but will need it today to dispatch the Vikings. In each of the Mountaineers' seven victories, you can point to one or two players who shouldered a disproportionate amount of the load, while the rest of the team went through the motions. We all know that kind of effort won't cut it in the Big East but it also won't get the team a victory this afternoon, either.
I'm off to the Coliseum, but I'll be back after the game to offer more thoughts on the direction of this Mountaineer squad. Hopefully we'll be talking about a team on its way up!