Tomorrow's game in Storrs is WVU's golden ticket. Not to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, because that Young Frankenstein guy surrounds himself with little people and they terrify me.
And not to the Pawtucket Patriot factory, because Family Guy regulates youtube videos like my employer regulates sexual harassment. Since when was 'sugarbreats' offensive? I was under the impression that if you said 'sugar' before anything it was okay. And it's not my fault. My male secretary should be wearing a manzier.
But if WVU beats UCONN, at UCONN, the Mountaineers would be as good as in the tournament.
After suddenly becoming a mediocre team for the better part of 14 months, UCONN has been playing terrific basketball. Since losing to Providence on January 17, UCONN has won 11 of 12 games.
They have five players averaging double figures and 7'3 center, Hasheem Thabeet terrorizing the paint on defense. Uh, you think WVU will have match up problems? You better believe it.
Though it will be difficult, WVU better rebound or Bob Huggins will end up like this guy after the game.
However, the Mountaineers have proved they can be competitive with big centers. But don't look for Jamie Smalligan to play like a 7-footer again like he did against Roy Hibbert. To neutralize Thabeet, WVU will most likely use a combination of Joe Mazulla, John Flowers, and Wellington Smith to try to deny entry passes and frustrate the big man.
Look for WVU to use up most of their fouls again. It's going to be a dogfight, and Huggins has his players playing very physical defense. If WVU can make 50% of their shots, including 3's, they have a chance, but they MUST shoot the ball very well.
Fortunately, a loss will not kill the Mountaineer's tournament hopes. In fact, guys like Joe Linardi have WVU in the field already, expecting a loss to UCONN. But the Mountaineers are also expected to take care of business at home against Pitt, and on the road against St. John's.
My fear is that WVU will exhaust so much energy against UCONN and still lose, that they will be flat two days later against Pitt. A couple wins in the Big East tournament would still make me feel much better.
So grab your whips, and get ready for the biggest Huskie beating this side of the Ikilledadog race.