WVU Preparing for Rematch with Notre Dame - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Preparing for Rematch with Notre Dame

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MORGANTOWN -

Just two weeks separate a pair of games between West Virginia and Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish beat the Mountaineers 55-51 in Morgantown on February 8.

West Virginia did not play well, particularly in the first half when the Mountaineers managed just 16 points. Notre Dame dictated the style of play by running a lot of the shot clock on offense and playing a tough 2-3 zone on defense.

"We were awful the first half," Head Coach Bob Huggins said. "What did we score, 16 points the first half? We just had a spell we didn't play very well offensively. We did a pretty good job of getting back in the game in the second half, but they made some big shots."

WVU was struggling when the two teams met earlier this season. Notre Dame handed West Virginia one of five losses in a six game stretch.

WVU will enter this meeting following a 66-48 win at Pitt. Notre Dame is coming off a great comeback victory at Villanova. The Fighting Irish erased a 20-point deficit to knock off the Wildcats 74-70 in overtime.

"They [Notre Dame] are playing pretty well," Huggins said. "Actually, that was a heck of a comeback in the Villanova game."

Jack Cooley is playing very well for Notre Dame right now. Cooley is the big man in the middle for the Irish. He scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds against Villanova. Cooley also put up a double-double against WVU two weeks ago. He scored 21 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in that one.

"He is very efficient," Huggins said. "He is a lot like KJ. A lot of what he gets is off the offensive glass. You got to get a body on him."

Notre Dame succeeded in dictating the pace of the game during the first meeting against West Virginia. Forcing the Irish to pick up the pace is not an easy thing to do.

"I don't think you can speed them up," Huggins stated. "The people that have tried to speed them up have not been very successful. They have too many people that can make shots. When you gamble, they make shots."

Notre Dame does not lose very often at home. The Fighting Irish are 14-1 in South Bend this season.

West Virginia could use a couple more quality wins and this is an opportunity to get one. WVU is 17-10 overall, 7-7 in the Big East. A win over Notre Dame will keep WVU in sole possession of eighth place in the Big East. A loss will drop the Mountaineers into a tie with Seton Hall and Connecticut, two teams that hold tiebreaker advantages over WVU.

Huggins still believes his team needs 10 Big East wins to feel comfortable on Selection Sunday, "I'm not sure that if we are 9-9 we are not okay. I would feel a whole lot better with 10. I would feel a whole lot better with 12 actually."

WVU visits No. 18 Notre Dame Wednesday night. The Mountaineers will return home to host No. 10 Marquette on Friday.

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