The West Virginia University men's basketball team got the Big East schedule off to a good start with their home win against Villanova on Thursday night. In that contest, tightly contested for most of the game, the 'Eers finished on a 15-4 run led by freshman guards Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne, while senior guard Truck Bryant dropped 34 points on the 'Cats. Tonight they face Herb Pope and the Seton Hall Pirates in their first Big East road contest of the year. Here's what's worth watching:
- Kevin Jones vs. Herb Pope. The Big East's two leading scorers and rebounders will square off against one another tonight, and it will be something to behold. Both senior big men are trying to improve their NBA chances and they will be graded by scouts on how they perform against each other. West Virginia fans can expect more of the same out of KJ, who seems to go for 20 and 10 in his sleep. What will be interesting to watch will be how KJ matches up against Pope defensively. With Deniz Kilicli still ailing, and most of the freshman bigs still looking totally lost, it's going to be up to Jones to keep Pope in check. On offense, Pope will get plenty of help defending KJ, so expect some of WVU's other players to get wide open looks. Whether on not they can capitalize may be the story of the game.
- Will Huggs continue to roll with three guards? Down the stretch of WVU's win against 'Nova, Bob Huggins used a three headed attack at the guard position, playing Bryant, Browne and Hinds for the decisive stretch of the ballgame. Hinds and Browne both had success getting to the rack and finishing in the lane while Bryant's deep shots were falling. This opened up the Mountaineers' ability to run a diversified offense and score from all parts of the court. Going forward, this may be the Mountaineers strongest on court lineup. I expect to see Bryant, Hinds and Browne playing together a lot more in the future.
- Aaron Brown from downtown! Freshman forward Aaron Brown may be counted on to play more as well. Other than Bryant, he's the only Mountaineer who appears to be a decent deep shooter. Against Villanova, Brown hit threes at crucial times to keep the Mountaineers in the game when it looked like things had gotten away from them. If Bryant and Brown can continue to hit their threes, it will make life in the post a lot easier for Jones and Kilicli.
Stay tuned to SBNation Pittsburgh and the Smoking Musket for updates on tonight's action.