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Puerto Rico Tipoff: West Virginia Vs. Vanderbilt: Mountaineers Try To Stay Unbeaten Against Commodores

Yesterday the Mountaineers dispatched the Davidson Wildcats in what was one of the most brutish and ugly games I've seen lately.  There really is nothing like November basketball.... low shooting percentages, lots of turnovers, fouls, and foul shots.  Feel the excitement!  After the game, Huggins was disappointed in the team's effort and consistency as there wasn't much of either.

Today, at 12:30, the Mountaineers square off against a Vanderbilt team that went to the NCAA's last season, and hasn't dropped a game so far in this young season.  Guard John Jenkins led the Commodores over Nebraska yesterday by dropping in 22 points and generally keeping things moving offensively.  Vanderbilt has the size to matchup with the Mountaineers in the paint, and as a team the Commodores had eight blocked shots yesterday, getting four from reserve forward Steve Tchiengang.  If the Mountaineer forwards have the same sort of afternoon they did yesterday, getting nearly as many fouls as points, it could be a tough day on the blocks for the WVU big men.

What I'm looking for out of WVU is exactly what Huggs wants: balance and consistency.  Yesterday, the guards carried the show and without heady play from Truck Bryant and good outside shooting in the first half, there might have been a much different outcome.  Kevin Jones, arguably the Mountaineers' best player, has been missing in action so far this season, shooting under fifty percent from the field and not being the inside force we expected going into this season.  Yesterday's disappearance of Deniz Kilicli and emergence of Danny Jennings will be the main storyline to follow, though.  I wouldn't be surprised if Huggins starts Jennings over the Turk after yesterday's dismal display.

WVU will play again Sunday versus whomever matches their outcome from the Minnesota/North Carolina game.  I'm rooting hard for the Mountaineers to win for two reasons. First, gotta get quality wins early and this is the way to do it.  Secondly, if the Mountaineers are victorious this afternoon they'll play in the championship game on Sunday at 8:30pm.  If they lose, they play at 12:30, right when I plan to be at Heinz Field cheering on the Steelers against da' Raid-duhs, so for my own self-serving reasons I say, "Let's get this win Mounties!".

Check back here for in games updates.... and as always.... don't tell my boss.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.