Oral Roberts Golden Eagles Vs. West Virginia Mountaineers
Friday November 11th, 9pm, WVU Coliseum, Morgantown WV
Who is Oral Roberts? The Golden Eagles hail from the Summit League and have a good shot at the league title this season. Oral Roberts returns five starters including the dynamic Dominique Morrison, who averaged nearly twenty points per game last year. While not a major conference school, Oral Roberts is a quality opponent for the Mountaineers to open the season against.
What to look for from the Mountaineers: Whether the old guys, Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant, can mesh with the new guys, Gary Browne and Jabarie Hinds. It's almost impossible to know what kind of team the Mountaineers will be this season with so few known quantities on their roster. At their best, Jones and Bryant are the kind of dominant players that a team can be built around. At their worst, they leave a lot to be desired and seem to disappear for long stretches. Hopefully each will rise to the task this season. There are a lot of new additions to the WVU squad, and it will be up to these two to be the glue that holds the team together.
What to look for from the Golden Eagles: Experience and heady play. WVU may be stocked with raw talent, but Oral Roberts has the vast edge in experience. This is the perfect kind of team to deal Huggins' crew an opening night loss. They'll play smart, and they'll try to bait WVU's freshmen into silly mistakes in their first Division I game.
What I want to see: I want to see how Huggins uses the new players. He said over the offseason that math is a factor and half of the new guys will simply have to play. The numbers say that's just how it is. Need eight guys, really, and WVU only really has four. While there's a lot of hubbub surround the arriving guard tandem of Hinds and Gary Browne, I'm most interested in seeing how the new guys contribute in the front court. Jones and Deniz Kilicli will get the bulk of the minutes, but some combination of Keaton Miles, Pat Forsythe and Aaron Brown will need to join the rotation along with redshirt freshman Kevin Noreen. I'm looking forward to see how Huggins uses the freshmen in the rotation and how quick his hook is when they make their inevitable mistakes.
What I don't want to see: A calm, composed Oral Roberts basketball team wear down a bunch of jumpy WVU freshmen with smart, consistent basketball. It might happen. Normally one figures that the home opener for a major conference program like WVU is an inevitable victory against an overmatched cupcake. Not this year. WVU's inexperience, and one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country, mean that nothing is a given this season for Mountaineer fans.