Tonight in the NIT Final, the Mountaineers take on Clemson. The Tigers entered post season play with a 21-10 record. That's 21-10 after starting 17-0, so they went 4-10 down the stretch beginning with their loss to Maryland on January 13th. Apparently planning to create some rivalry with WVU fans, Clemson lost twice (freaking twice!) to Maryland. Clemson also had two losses to a Duke team inciting much praise from Billy Packer and penis love by Vitale. But hell, at least they beat the Polytechnical University of Virginia (a result foretold by the tribe of locals who worship Beamer's thing and predict events based upon the color thereof).
In a scheduling move with which some of us may be familiar, the Tigers boosted their early out of conference schedule with a few, well, rec league teams. During their impressive 17-0 stretch, the Tigers had big victories over Monmouth (12-18), Furman (15-16), the hippies of Appalachia State, the mighty Bucs of Southern Charleston (8-22), some Golden Golphers (9-22), perenial opener for WVU football, Wofford (10-20), Georgia Southern (15-16), Western Carolina (11-20), and Georgia State (11-20). Against teams with a full 5 players (and coincidentally winning records), the Tigers went 11-11 (er, 12-11 if you count the hippies).
They are led in scoring by the 6'5", 210 lb sophomore guard K.C. Rivers. Rivers has been building momentum in the NIT scoring 17, 12, 29, and 19, respectively, while shooting 49% from the field. They may also rely upon the 6'9" James May down on the blocks. Mays is the tema's second leading scoring averaging 12.5 points per game.
Clemson also employs the strategy occasionally adopted by the Mountaineers - just chuck it up and hope for the best. They were second in the ACC with 623 attempted 3s converting at 33.9%. (Compared to WVU's Big East leading 894 attempts and our lofty 36.7% conversion.)
According to one sports book, Clemson is favored by 1 with an over/under of 136. Expect another predominantly WVU crowd.