Mar 14, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA: West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins watches from the bench during practice for the second round of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the CONSOL Energy Center.
WVU is a Big 12 program now. Today’s NCAA tournament game against Gonzaga provides a foretaste of what life will be like for Mountaineer hoops fans in the near future. For me, writing about a Big East team has been easy because for the last two decades I’ve lived and breathed a basketball conference with which I’m familiar. I have no sense of what to expect in the Big 12, just like I have little real understanding of how good Gonzaga is.
Gonzaga is a perennial NCAA Tournament team, but this year’s squad is as young and inexperienced as we are. Freshman guard Kevin Pangos - the WCC newcomer of the year – leads the team in scoring with 13.8 per game. This isn’t a typically powerful Zags squad and because they play in the WCC they will struggle against our aggressive defense at first.
What I do know is that to beat WVU, all you have to do is some how bottle up KJ on offense. If the Zags put the game on Truck Bryant and Deniz Kilicli’s shoulders they stand a pretty good chance of winning. That’s not easy to do, as Kevin Jones is a stud. Even in most losses where his two veteran teammates completely melted down, KJ was still brilliant and managed to keep the game close.
Therefore, it is my conclusion that no matter how well or poorly Gonzaga matches up against WVU, the game will more than likely come down to the Truck’s shooting and Turk’s ability to be aggressive without fouling out.
Tip off is 7:20 EDT on TNT. Let’s GO…MOUNTAINEERS!