It's a BIG Monday night in Morgantown, with the hated Pitt Panthers coming to town. With West Virginia coming off of it's worst loss of the season, things aren't looking great for the gold n' blue. I'm off to the Coliseum in a few, but here's what I'm looking for tonight:
- Perimeter Defense. Good guards make mincemeat of the Mountaineers, it's just as simple as that. Nova's tandem of Stokes and Wayns were the latest in a long line of guards who've put together highlight reels against the 'Eers. Luckily for WVU, starting point guard Asthon Gibbs is out, but this could be the night Travon Woodall becomes a household name. Simply put, Truck Bryant and Joe Mazzulla have to lock down their counterparts. If Pitt's guards can get free in the lane to dish and score, WVU is going to have a hard time keeping up.
- The Bigs Gotta Come To Play. Deniz Kilicli, John Flowers, Cam Thoroughman and Kevin Jones will have their hands full with some big bangers tonight. West Virginia lacks the depth to get into a hack-attack type defense and has to play quickly to suceed. Cam's gotta keep himself in front of his man, and JFlow has to play most of his game in the air. It's possible that Gibbs' absence makes it harder for the Pitt guards to get the ball down low, but it doesn't make it impossible. The Mountaineer frontline absolutely has to stay out of foul trouble and contribute offensively for the Mountaineers to have a chance.
Offense Has To Run. This Mountaineer team is just not good enough to run and gun with anybody, let alone the number four team in the country. To be successful, WVU has to slow it down, make good cuts, smart passes and get good looks. If they're tempted into lazy shots, this team will sink quickly. Moving the ball through the lane will be key, so Mazzulla will have to be able to penetrate and Cam will need to get open in the post to distribute the ball to shooters and cutters alike. If the Mountaineers take good care of the ball and play methodic basketball, this is a totally winnable game. If they don't, it could be a blow out.
I'm off to the Coliseum. I'll be the guy in the Coonskin Cap in section 18. It's been a rough weekend of sports for me, so I really wanna get this one.