NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Junior Cadougan #5 of the Marquette Golden Eagles and Deniz Kilicli #13 of the West Virginia Mountaineers fight for a loose ball during the second round of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters at Madison Square Garden on March 9, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Tennessee Tech comes into the Coliseum as the Mountaineers look for their fourth straight win.
The season has moved right along for the West Virginia Mountaineers men's basketball squad, who have been led by Bob Huggins to an early season 7-2 record. Before heading to Las Vegas to square off with Missouri State and Baylor on Thursday and Friday, the Mountaineers must first square off with Tennessee Tech in the Coliseum. Here's what to watch for:
- First half consistency. Simply put, this year's Mountaineer team just doesn't show up in the first half. Offensively, they struggle to find their rhythm, which they usually find by early in the second half. It can be frustrating since this team can obviously score when it runs good offense. Problem is, with the constant rotation of freshman in and out of the game, they have trouble settling into a rhythm. Huggins has managed to ride the hot hands so far this season, lets hope someone gets hot early.
- The Turk as a stabilizing factor. Slowly but surely Deniz Kilicli has begun to realize that he absolutely has to help carry the load this year. In the second half against Texas AMCC, he showed that he can be an aggressive force in the paint, despite being a missing man for the first half. The benefit of Kilicli is that he is the recipient of the set plays in WVU's playbook, and a tough guy to guard if he gets the ball on the blocks. I expect to see more and more plays run through Kilicli, to take some of the heat off of Kevin Jones.
- Where the Truck goes, the team goes. In his time in Morgantown Truck Bryant has run away with the title of "Most Frustrating Mountaineer". While you never know what you're going to get with Truck, this Mountaineer team needs him to score. Two games ago, against Miami, he absolutely lit it up and earned Big East Player of the Week honors. On Saturday against Texas AMCC, he was awful. Which Truck shows up will go a long way towards predicting whether or not the Mountaineers will be successful. While they shouldn't have much trouble with Tennessee Tech tonight, once the competition stiffens, Bryant will need to play better if the 'Eers have a chance.