Well that ... happened. The West Virginia Mountaineer basketball team came out today and did just enough to beat South Florida 56-46. The crowd was listless, the team was listless and the game was pretty boring. The Mountaineers posted their lowest point total of the year and won a game by ten points without playing very well. The Cliff's Notes version:
- Casey Mitchell, the rebounder. Hell of a game from Casey who had a double-double with 13 points and 14 boards. Amazing. He hustled on offense and defense and turned in one of his better all around games, despite not lighting up the scoreboard as has in the past. He struggled shooting the ball, only hitting 1 of 5 3-point attempts, instead he attacked the basket and had a lot of putback opportunities. If Mitchell can score inside and from mid-range, hit long shots will start opening up and then he can get deadly.
- At the point guard, Truck Bryant played pretty well on defense, but couldn't get anything going on offense. He shot a paltry 2 of 9, and his seven misses were a barrage of ill-advised possession killing jumpers. Bryant has to start making the players around him better. He just ... doesn't. There's a moment in seemingly every possession where it becomes obvious that Truck's not coming off the ball. That terrifies me.
- Danny Jennings didn't play and wasn't on the bench in what Huggins called after the game an "inexcusable absence." He also intimated that it may be the last we've seen of Jennings. That would be a big loss, because you always had to feel that he was going to get it together eventually. Deniz Kilicli and Cam Thoroughman both played admirable games against Gus Gilchrist, who is among the best the conference has to offer. That's refreshing, but the Mountaineers have to have depth going into the meat of the Big East schedule. Right now, they can go nine, max. That's a foreboding sign.
- I have a theory that the reason for the small and distracted crowd, and listless play on the court, was a result of the nervousness about the impending Steelers game. I know that I'm in that camp. I'm going to focus on football now, see you midweek as the Mountaineers travel to Louisville to duke it out with Rick Pitino's crew.