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Big East Tournament 2012: Mountaineers Begin Final Big East Tournament

Well, it's all come down to this, the first of two one and done tournaments which will go a long way towards whether or not Mountaineer fans consider this to have been a successful season. Here's what I'll be watching as I try and act like I'm working:

  • Extra motivation? There has been plenty talk coming out of the Mountaineer locker room about both real and perceived snubs in the Big East postseason awards. Truck Bryant thinks he should have been higher than third team all conference, which is debatable. Kevin Jones deserved both a unanimous first team selection AND the conference player of the year, both of which went to Marquette's Jay Crowder. That's a travesty. So there's plenty of talk about respect amongst the Mountaineers right now, the just may be motivated enough to go out and earn some.
  • Can Truck lead the way? Truck is the key player. Kevin Jones will be Kevin Jones. The freshmen will be freshmen. As Truck goes, go the Mountaineers. He's played well in the last two contests, and hopefully that's the sign of an impending hot streak to come. If the senior guard can turn it on, there could be a lot more Mountaineer games in the next few weeks. If he can't, it'll be one and done... twice.
  • Who holds the paint? Obviously, Jones is a huge part of the equation inside for the Mountaineers but he can't do it alone. For the Mountaineers to back down the Huskies, both Deniz Kilicli and Dominique Rutledge will have to play well for WVU. Rutledge has turned it on in the last few weeks, but Kilicli has been heading in the opposite direction. If they can get a decent balance of scoring, defense and rebounding out of those two, the Mountaineers should have success today.
For more on the West Virginia Mountianeers, stay tuned to SBNation Pittsburgh and the Smoking Musket.

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