The West Virginia Mountaineers men's basketball squad will have some competition to go with breakfast tomorrow: a date with the Golden Flashes of Kent State. As part of ESPN's 24 hours of basketball season tip-off promotion, West Virginia will square off with Kent States at the early hour of 10am. If you're up, here's what you should be looking for:
- Will a youthful team let one slip away? The Mountaineers are young, with a capital young. They lost the exhibition game, and let Oral Roberts back in the game with under three minutes left in the home opener this weekend. This Kent State team is good, and they have everyone back from a team that narrowly missed the tournament last season. They haven't played a game yet this season, so they could start it off with a bang tomorrow morning.
- Who steps up from the freshman class? In the 'Eers first game, freshman guards Jabarie Hinds, Gary Browne and Aaron Brown all played admirably, while the freshmen frontcourt players struggled. This season will obviously feature a lot of ups and downs and it will be fun to see who steps up. Keaton Miles started against ORU, but generally looked lost much of the game. Pat Forsythe didn't do much, but did leave the game after five fouls. I always consider that time well spent. Kevin Noreen and Dominque Rutledge each made it into the game and didn't accomplish much either. It seems that the guard situation is set, but who joins Kevin Jones and Deniz Kilicli in the front court remains to be seen.
- Can Truck stay in the game? Truck spent most of the first game on the bench in foul trouble, something he must avoid this season. As one of the Mountaineers' only true scorers, Truck has to know his value is putting the ball in the bucket and not throwing himself in front of opposing players. Truck managed to tally 17, but he could have gone for twice that if he'd been able to maximize his minutes.
- Can KJ keep carrying the load? This year's team is going as far as Kevin Jones will take it, and he started things off the right way against Oral Roberts. Jones dropped 20 points and 8 boards, including the game clinching rebound when the Mountaineers could absolutely not afford to give up another shot. So far so good, Mountaineer fans. For how long?