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Quick Turnaround Could Be an Issue for WVU

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The WVU men's basketball team will certainly experience some ups and downs this season. The Mountaineers already have through two games. In the victory over Oral Roberts, WVU managed to protect its lead and secure the win. In the loss to Kent State, the Mountaineers failed to protect a lead and let the game get away from them.

Seven freshmen played in the loss to Kent State and looked like freshmen at times. They were out of position, failed to help in time on defense and made bad decisions with the ball. They were also called out for not competing at times in that game.

Kent State took advantage of those mistakes and mental lapses by going on a 20-4 run early in the second half. That erased West Virginia's five-point lead at the half and eventually became a double-digit lead.

It will be interesting to watch the Mountaineers take the floor against Alcorn State Thursday night. The upperclassmen admitted they did not play well in the loss to Kent State. Deniz Kilicli grabbed 15 rebounds, but missed seven shots within two or three feet from the basket. Truck Bryant had his problems shooting from the field and from the free throw line. He also turned it over six times.

At key moments in the game, the freshmen appeared hesitant to try and make a big shot. The upperclassmen are trying to get the younger players to realize the team needs them as much as they need the team. Those players were called out for not competing throughout the game.

Deniz Kilicli revealed he and Joe Mazzulla got into some sort of fight a year ago when Mazzulla called out Kilicli for the exact same thing. Deniz disagreed, but realized Mazzulla's tactic was effective. Kilicli and Bryant both indicated they intend to take a similar approach with the younger players following the loss to Kent State.

WVU had one day of preparation between the loss to Kent State and the game against Alcorn State. How will the team use that day? Sure, Bob Huggins will put his team through a solid three-hour practice and try to have the team prepared for the game. But, how will the team handle this loss?

The answer to that question could help dictate how the next couple of weeks go on the court. Will the freshmen respond to the challenge the older players issue them? Will they compete throughout the game?

I, for one, will closely watch the team warm up. I want to see if the team is coming together, or if this kind of disconnect is preventing that from happening. Watching warm ups and the first few minutes of the game should give a good indication if the team took a step forward or a step backward.

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