Life in the Big East is never easy, and the Mountaineers' schedule can attest to that. Tomorrow at noon, WVU hosts No. 9 Georgetown, before traveling to No. 8 UConn a mere 48 hours later. As the home game of the two, that makes the 'Eers matchup with the Hoyas more important then ever. Here's what I'll be watching as WVU tries to hold serve at home:
- The evolution of Mountaineer defense. Bob Huggins, a man to man guy to his bone, has always impressed WVU fans with his ability to adapt to whichever defense suited his charges the best. For the last few years, the zone defense of choice has been the 1-3-1, but more and more Huggs and company have gone to the 2-3 when going gets tough. It's been helpful for the Mountaineers, who struggle inside. Outside of all-world forward Kevin Jones, the WVU big men have been inconsistent and disappointing for much of the first half of the season. The 2-3 masks that well, and could work against the Hoyas. Unlike in years past where Georgetown's efforts have been spearheaded by one or two stars, this year's is a balanced Hoya attack which could be stymied by the 2-3.
- Which Truck shows up? It's gotten to the point where Mountaineer fans are used to it, and the defining question of the season is: which Truck Bryant comes out tonight? When Truck is on, he's on, and when he's not, he really, really, is not. Truck poured them in against Rutgers and Villanova, which book-ended a dismal 3 for 16 performance against Seton Hall. For the Mountaineers to hang with the Hoyas, they'll have to be led by good Truck. When he's on, he's WVU's best shooter, and best chance to score. When he's off, he's a liability in sneakers and the Mountaineers are better off with the freshmen in the game.
- Can Deniz Kilicli continue to make a presence inside? Granted, the big Turk has been hurt for the last few weeks, but something has been amiss much longer than that. His touch on his inside shots seems to be off and he seems to be forcing a lot of jump hooks off of the back of the rim. In order for him to contribute he's going to need to score and rebound. While his rebounding has improved, his scoring has dipped. What gives? It's a good question, on that WVU will need to have an answer for as they try to match up with some of the Big East's better teams.
- Which new guy steps up? It's going to have to be somebody, if the Mountaineers are going to come out of a game against a top ten team with a victory. Jabarie Hinds, Gary Browne and Aaron Brown get the most minutes, and seem to be the best candidates. Hinds and Browne succeed in getting to the rim, while Aaron Brown has emerged as a dead-eye long range shooter. Two of the three will need to have a good game against the Hoyas for WVU to keep things interesting.