One Big East game in the books, one loss in the books. It's been a disappointing week to be a Mountaineer, something that was exacerbated this evening as a good home crowd watched the Mountaineers slog through forty minutes of sloppy basketball. The result was a double-digit loss that wasn't even that close.
The Mountaineers were out-muscled in the paint, and were outscored down low by the Red Storm 40-6. 40 to freaking six! Have you seen how big Deniz Kilicli, Kevin Jones and Danny Jennings are?!?! How the hell can that happen? Easy. The Mountaineers were mesmerized by a St. John's team that moved without the basketball. Time and again their guards penetrated and found great looks for their cutting forwards. Mountaineer defenders were on their heels the entire time.
On offense, WVU ran almost no plays, simply settling for the first open (or contested, who cares!) jump shot they could find. No one could find his touch, and over the course of the game the Mountaineers took thirty-six threes, hitting only a third of them. Thirty-six threes. John Beilein is not the coach here anymore, and that kind of deep shooting is indicative of no thought being put into the offensive sets whatsoever.
Right now, this Mountaineer team is starved for players who will attack the basket. No one is asserting himself offensively, and the lack of development of Kilicli, Dalton Pepper and Jennings is a gaping hole in the Mountaineers' game right now. Bob Huggins seems to be grasping at straws to find five players to put on the court at any given time. In the first half, he rolled with a lineup of Mazzulla-Throughman-Jones-West-Kilicli for long stretches. This lineup did a better job running plays and making defensive stops, but the offensive liabilities were glaring. Without brief stretches of hot shooting from Casey Mitchell and Jonnie West, this game would've been a bigger mess.
This Mountaineer team isn't the same gritty squad that made it to the Final Four last season. Without some drastic improvements, this team won't be playing in March at all.