I really thought this was the year for Bradley and Drake. But at least it wasn't the year for Duke. Lots of love for the Mountaineers (and Huggins) for being the team to send Dick Vitale running for Zoloft.
For a team built only a season ago around a motion offense and a gimmick zone defense, it seemed almost unfathomable for West Virginia to win an NCAA Tournament game with rebounding and suffocating man-to-man defense.As we've said here before, this team isn't an NCAA tourney team, much less a Sweet 16 team with Beilein as coach. They don't shoot well enough from three to make up for the pounding they'd take on the boards. This team doesn't outrebound Duke by 20 without Huggins' system and weight room discipline. Others give WVU some respect but are taking shots at the Dukies. The following is for BSR due to Yankee smack.
But that's the kind of impact first-year coach Bob Huggins has made on his Mountaineers.
The better team won. Not the team with more McDonald’s All-Americans — Duke has eight to West Virginia’s none — but the one with better players. Duke is like the Yankees in that it polarizes the electorate into either hating or loving, but it’s also like the Bronx Bombers in its penchant for signing guys who aren’t half as good as advertised.As of today here are the conference standings for the NCAA tourney.
Big Ten (2) 5-2 .714
Big East (3) 10-5 .667
Pac-10 (3) 6-3 .667
Big 12 (2) 7-4 .636
ACC (1) 4-3 .571
SEC (1) 4-5 .444
The Big East has been led by Louisville, WVU, and Villanova. Not many would have picked that threesome at the halfway point of this season. Parenthsis are number of teams remaining.
For WVU it is on to Arizona to face Xavier in the Sweet 16 battle of the Eers. Huggins is very familiar with Xavier, a cross-town rival to Cinci, and is 8-9 overall against the Musketteers.
Xavier has more size than probably any team it has faced this season, with five players taller than 6-6, including two at 6-9. It has five scorers averaging double-digits and is outscoring its opponents 75.5-62.7.The main story for the broadcast may not be the Xavier size, but the lack thereof. At least for Drew Lavender. Lavender is listed at 7 inches shorter than Joe Mazzulla which will ruin every "smallest man on the court" argument for CBS and Mazzulla for at least one game.
The Musketeers are shooting 47.8 from the field to 40.6 and managing a 35.8-30.2 margin in rebounding.
WVU is averaging 74.8 points to 63.1, goaling on 45.5 percent of its shots, and outrebounding opponents 35.9-33.6.
In the Women's Tournament WVU has won their opening game over New Mexico State. They face Vanderbilt in a second-round game tonight.
Finally, to top off the good weekend for WVU the baseball team completed a three game sweep of Pitt on Saturday. The bats have come to life as 20 games in the Mountianeers have hit 18 homeruns and are batting .241 as a team. Jedd Gyorko is batting .488 to start the season. The pitching staff has an ERA of 3.21 thus far and has 147 strikeouts in 168 innings. Teddy Brabender has yet to see any action.