I suck at golf. I recently teed it up at this really nice course that my brother-in-law paid for me to play on (he’s really good and has a lot of money). For most of the afternoon I was embarrassed and frustrated by how I couldn’t control where my ball was going. Then, as I have in previous golf outings, I hit one good shot. The rush came over me and I started to imagine that I could actually be good at this game. All I need to do is hit one good shot and I keep coming back.
As I watched Senior Night at the Coliseum last Tuesday, I realized that this year’s WVU basketball team makes me feel as I do about golf. While Truck & KJ made their final appearance in the the last Big East Men’s basketball game to be played in Morgantown, our team played well enough to hook me into thinking that they might just be able to play this game.
This Saturday is huge for the Mounties (18-12 / 8-9) as they have two important post-season tournaments riding on the day’s events. First, if they can beat USF in a Noon game in Tampa, they put pressure on a game that follows in Chicago. In golf, one likes to make your putt first and add to the drama of your opponent’s attempt. Our opponent (Seton Hall, a fellow 8-9 BE team) plays at DePaul immediately after our game on Saturday.
Whichever team (WVU or the Hall) wins - while the other loses - will get the #8 seed in the BE tournament (thanks to UConn losing to Providence last Tuesday). If they both win or lose, WVU will be relegated to the bottom 1/3 of the draw in New York because of previous losses to the Pirates and Huskies. Worse yet, if we lose in Tampa we are more than likely off of the bubble for the Big Dance.
If we ever needed Kevin Jones to make a statement about being the BE Player of the Year, it is against USF (18-11 / 11-5). They are strong on the defensive glass, number one in scoring defense in the conference, and they guard the perimeter as well as anyone else in the league. Hence, our inside offensive game is going to have to be money. Hopefully the minutes that Rutledge has been logging will pay off when he gives Kilicli a breather. And here's hoping that the Florida sunshine puts Deniz in the mood to play hard.
If Truck is shooting cold, expect the Bulls defense to clamp down inside and force us to shoot semi-contested perimeter shots. This hasn’t been our forte of late. Notre Dame played a similar style and held us to 44 and 51 points in our two losses to them. USF is last in Scoring Offense in the BE (scoring 11.0 points less per game than WVU), yet they have won 11 conference games. Why? Because they lead the league in Scoring Defense (holding teams to an average of 57 points per game).
WVU vs. USF tips off @ Noon Saturday. The game can be seen on Big East Network Affiliates, ESPN Full Court and ESPN 3. Let’s GO…MOUNTAINEERS!
Seton Hall lines up their putt at DePaul @ 3:00 p.m. In the words of Angie D'Annunzio "Noonan…Miss it!!!"