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WVU Prepares for Big East Play at 9-3

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MORGANTOWN -

 

The West Virginia University men's basketball team wrapped up non-conference play, with the exception of the Marshall game, at 9-3. If somebody would have told you prior to the season opener that the Mountaineers would win nine of their first 12 games, what would you have said?

The Mountaineers are a young team with nine freshmen on the roster. Nobody knew how long it would take for this team to grow up. Sure, winning nine of 12 games is very good for this team and a credit to the coaching abilities of Bob Huggins and his staff.

After seeing these 12 games, it is hard to accept nine wins knowing they could have won at Mississippi State and against Baylor at the Las Vegas Classic. This team could be 11-1. Still, the Mountaineers are 9-3 with a lot of confidence heading into their Big East opener Wednesday night against Villanova.

WVU is currently sitting at 35 in the latest RPI rankings and has the 27th strongest schedule in the country. That means the Mountaineers' NCAA tournament resume is in great shape.

West Virginia's biggest problem is playing with consistency. WVU can almost guarantee Kevin Jones will get a double-double. He has posted eight double-doubles through 12 games. His best game may have been late last week against undefeated Baylor when he scored 28 points and grabbed 17 rebounds.

Beyond Jones, the entire team needs to get more consistent. Freshman Guard Jabarie Hinds poured in 19 points against Akron. One month later he added 18 points and seven assists against Baylor. In between, he only managed to score in double figures one time.

Another freshman Guard, Gary Browne, has only scored in double figures twice this season. Once was last week against Missouri State. The only other time he scored in double figures was against Morehead State right before Thanksgiving.

Those players have to become more consistent. Part of the problem is that Bob Huggins has to spend several minutes every game trying to figure out which players can truly help him win that particular game.

Those costly minutes could be a big difference between a player performing at the division one level or sitting on the bench throughout the game'.

If and when the freshmen players begin to get more consistent, watch out!! Huggins will have a better idea of who he can count on and who he can't.

With the RPI and Strength of Schedule rankings working in West Virginia's favor, it would appear nine to ten more wins will be enough to get them into the NCAA tournament. Can they get those nine to ten wins in Big East play?

That question will begin to be answered Wednesday night against Villanova.

For now, ask yourself this question? Are you happy with the Mountaineers 9-3 record?

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