Beilein Prepares To Meet Former Team - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Beilein Prepares To Meet Former Team

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MORGANTOWN -

When the 2012-2013 West Virginia University men's basketball schedule was released, WVU fans certainly circled one non-conference game more than any other. It is the game this Saturday against No. 3 Michigan in Brooklyn, New York.

The media ate it up when it was announced. Michigan Head Coach John Beilein will face his former team. Beilein went 104-60 in five seasons at WVU. He led the Mountaineers to two NCAA tournament appearances and two trips to the NIT. West Virginia University won the NIT tournament in his final season with the Mountaineers.

"This is a bit unique," Beilein said. "We certainly would not be playing this game if I hadn't approved of this game because of the respect I have for West Virginia and for Bob Huggins and for the program in playing this game."

There will be a lot of wins on the floor when John Beilein leads Michigan onto the court against Bob Huggins and West Virginia. The two coaches have combined for 1,363 wins in their coaching careers.

"Coach Huggins and I have played against each other maybe two or three times and that is it," Beilein stated. "We both get the young men that we coach to reach their potential and maximize their talent. That is where I think we are very similar. How we do that may be different. I don't know because I have never seen Bobby's teams practice. I hope we both agree that we both get the most out of our teams."

This is clearly a made-for-TV matchup. It has prime-time billing with an 8 p.m. tipoff on ESPN. It also closes out a triple-header at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

"It's the time of year where we are all getting ready for conference play," Beilein said of the matchup. "Playing a team like West Virginia you are truly getting ready for high-caliber conference play."

Beilein left WVU in 2007. Three years later Huggins led the Mountaineers to the Final Four. He did so with some key players that Beilein had recruited to WVU.

"I was very happy for West Virginia, for those young men and that team, for the program and the University and for the state of West Virginia," Beilein said about that Final Four team. "So many people were so good to me and my family when we were there that I was so happy for them. I know the passion that is for basketball in that state."

As for this matchup between No. 3 Michigan and WVU, one team is clearly the favorite and one is the underdog. Beilein carried the underdog role into many games at WVU. He will enter this game as the favorite.  WVU Fans can expect to see Michigan doing a lot of the same things the Mountaineers did while Beilein was in Morgantown.

"Our team is very similar to what we had there," Beilein stated. "You look at Zack Novak and I have compared him to Johannes (Herber) or Alex Ruoff. You don't know how many times I tell Trey Burke what a tough son of a gun J.D. Collins was or how Darris Nichols used to play. I don't know if we will ever find a (Kevin) Pittsnogle because he was a unique talent. We have a couple guys that play very much like Tyrone Sally or Da'Sean Butler."

The Mountaineers will need some of their current players to play like Tyrone Sally or Da'Sean Butler Saturday night in Michigan. It should be an entertaining game to watch as two different basketball philosophies clash on the court. Beilein loves to use a strong outside shooting effort coupled with zone defense to win games. Huggins looks to win the rebounding battle and play hard, tight defense to win games.

It is a classic storyline. Hopefully it leads to a classic game.

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