WVU Exhibition Final Tune-Up Before New Season - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Exhibition Final Tune-Up Before New Season

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MORGANTOWN -

West Virginia is preparing for its true debut when the Glenville State Pioneers come to town Tuesday night.

Aside from a 40-minute scrimmage against the other half of their roster, tonight's showing will be the first that is open to the public, following a closed scrimmage against Xavier in late October.

When the opportunity to showcase the team arose a year ago, West Virginia failed to inject much reason for enthusiasm in the fans who attended the game against Northern Kentucky, as the Mountaineer lost to the Division-II team. Deniz Kilicli, who did not take part in that exhibition, recognizes that no one in the locker room wants to leave the Coliseum with that same taste in their mouths Tuesday night.

"I didn't play that game, but that was the same kind of team," Kilicli said, comparing NKU and GSU. "A shorter team that ran a lot and shot a lot of threes and that's what they do, Glenville State actually has really good shooters. It'll help us get back on transition and do all the defensive stuff that we've been working on."

An exhibition like this is another chance to improve and to perfect all that the team has been working on since it last stepped on the court in a dismal NCAA Tournament performance against Gonzaga.

The Mountaineers will look to display a bit of the fast paced style of basketball that they say will take over Morgantown in their first Big 12 season, but Kilicli stresses that when Glenville State is the opponent, the major focus will be on WVU and not the team on the visitor's bench.

"We're still going to play as hard as we can and see what we can do. It's more like preparation for us than making an impression or anything. I think Gonzaga will be a making an impression kind of game."

With that in mind, it is worth cautioning any who witness the game that what you see is not what you should then expect when the season truly tips off at midnight a week from now in Spokane, Wash.

A WVU squad that for the first time in a long time feels confident about its depth will likely throw out a number of lineups against the Pioneers in an effort to maximize the amount of teaching that takes place in this final tune-up.

"I think what we've talked to them about is hopefully we have the luxury that we can play 10 or 12 guys," said Huggins. "What we've talked to them about is play as hard as you can play for as long as you can play and then come out and get a rest and I'll put you back in. And if you don't play as hard as I think you ought to play, then I'll take you out and you're probably not going to get back in."

Huggins expects vast improvements this season and a change in identity as the Mountaineers utilize athleticism and a bench that are far improved from previous seasons.

Leading the charge will be a group of young guards who have shown throughout camp that they are able to run the offense as well as handle the offensive threats that come their way.

With sophomore Juwan Staten making his debut in a Mountaineer uniform and Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne entering their second campaigns, Huggins believes the floor generals will make the sort of impact that he desires from the one and two positions.

"It's kind of like football has a quarterback who makes the decisions and the way we play with everybody touching the ball and everybody having to pass the ball and everybody having to make decisions, we have a tendency to have a lot of guys who have to make decisions," said Huggins.

Of course, one of those former guards to play under Huggins in Morgantown is Joe Mazzulla and both he and former WVU center Rob Summers will make their returns to the Coliseum as assistant coaches on Steve Dye's Glenville State staff.

Kilicli is one of just two players on the current roster to have suited up with Mazzulla and says he looks forward to the reunion.

"It's weird," said Kilicli. "I played with Joe and I know Rob. It's weird that he's a coach now. It'll be awesome."

Another former WVU guard, Darris Nichols, presented a similar storyline last season as his NKU Norse game planned against the Mountaineers. In that one, the student was victorious over the teacher.

Huggins is anxious to see what challenges Mazzulla and Summers will throw his team's way.

"Obviously they're going to know what we do," said Huggins. "It's hard to run offense against guys that know everything that's going to happen. We're not as sharp offensively as we need to be. We really need a lot of work on our offense. I think we've made a lot of progress defensively, at least I hope we have."

WVU and Glenville State tip off at 7 p.m. at the Coliseum.

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