Slow starts are par for the course with a young and inexperienced team. We saw that this fall with a Mountaineer football team and we’re seeing it with our hoops squad, too. The game against Miami ended with a double-digit victory. However, minus the slow start and the inevitable fall off when second team players enter the game, it could’ve and should’ve been a 20+ point win.
This predicament is seen in the words of our coach, whose post-game backhanded compliment sounded like this: "I thought in the second half we looked like a pretty good basketball team." Huggs freakin’ cracks me up.
WVU faces two straight opponents this weekend that will give us a barometer as to the team’s development thus far. Texas A & M-Corpus Christi (1-6) and Tennessee Tech (5-4) could/should be 20+ wins, too. As we chart team progress and try to anticipate how well we’ll do in our conference schedule, one thing to watch for is whether or not we get off to slow starts.
When a Bob Huggins squad gets up 15 points, he starts to let the second tier players get some PT (Noreen & Forsythe underneath – Williamson on the perimeter). He has to wait until there is a comfortable lead because these guys will make mistakes. It’s a certainty. So, Huggs makes sure they can’t do too much damage. In the long term these mistakes should begin to dissipate and then they can add depth to the first tier of players.
These games we "should" win are critical for this very purpose. If the young first team players start quickly, WVU can get a comfortable lead and then we start playing more people. The more time these guys get on the floor, the better they get and the deeper the team gets by the time we start playing Syracuse, Louisville, UConn & the rest of the Big East.
So lift a pre-game glass to some fast starts.
P.S. - Texas A & M – Corpus Christi sucks. I mean bad.
Tip off for Saturday’s game is 2:00 p.m. The game can be seen on Big East Network affiliates, ESPN Full Court (sports bars) and ESPN3 (my shitty internet connection).