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WVU - #17 UConn Preview: Wait. You're Not Jim Calhoun.

The WVU Men's Basketball team advances to the finals of the Puerto Rico Tipoff against former Big East foes UConn Huskies at 6:30pm ET in the Roberto Clemente Coliseum.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

2014 Puerto Rico Tipoff Bracket

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Game Day Vitals

Opponent Information

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Obligatory

Good God. I don't know which is better, the dunk itself or the John Flowers reaction. JFlow was born with a hype man rally towel in his hand.

Game Preview

The last five minutes of the Boston College game could prove to be a pivotal moment not only for this team, but for the West Virginia Mountaineer basketball program as a whole. Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles, Jr. effectively busted out of their shell and showed that they can contribute in a big way down the stretch. This team proved that they can get the job done in crunch time without the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year on the court. That is a big deal and one that should not go ignored.

However, what also cannot go ignored are the spots where West Virginia looked largely ineffective against Boston College on both sides of the ball. Devin Williams struggled with the height of the BC inside men and only got into rhythm late in the game when the Eagle front court was in foul trouble. While not every team is going to have a seven footer, it still must be dealt with appropriately when that time comes. Unfortunately, that time comes only two days later against the defending national champions.

The #17 UConn Huskies lost a ton of production on the floor to graduation/draft including the #24 overall pick Shabazz Napier. To step up in his place, former WVU commit Ryan Boatright has lead the charge in the Huskies back court and averaging 21ppg/4.7apg. Outside of Boatright, two major guards are sophomore guard Rodney Purvis (14ppg) and freshman Daniel Hamilton (13ppg/~6rebs.) The aforementioned seven footer that will certainly feature is sophomore Amida Brimah who does not have very impressive rebounding stats, but does average four blocks. Honestly, statistically, the Huskies do not score, rebound, or assist very well as a team, but shooting 45% from the field helps especially when you are playing the woefully shooting Mountaineers.

While the superstars Staten and Boatright will get all the hype, this game will boil down to how well the supporting casts produce/defend around the point guards. You know that UConn has the ability to break down the press, but can West Virginia force enough turnovers to balance out the layups? Teams tend to wear down in the face of this press in the second half, so don't be surprised if the Mountaineers start picking off passes late in the game just as they did against Boston College. This means Carter and Miles must step up again both offensively and defensively when called upon. Speaking of being called upon, Devin has to get the ball early and get his game going. Inside-out play is the strength of this West Virginia squad. Feed the big guy early and WVU should get their first true resume win of the year.

Prediction

WVU 70 - UConn 65