WVU Looks To Get Physical With Michigan - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Looks To Get Physical With Michigan

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MORGANTOWN -

The West Virginia University men's basketball team is in New York City preparing to meet No. 3 Michigan.

It is hard to call a game in December a must-win game, but the Mountaineers have put themselves in a position where this might be just that.

WVU must realize that because Head Coach Bob Huggins emerged from practice in a good mood and met with the media prior to West Virginia's departure for New York City.

"We got something done today," Huggins smiled. "I thought we had a good practice today, we got something done."

"I think we focused today," WVU Forward Kevin Noreen said. "As Coach Huggins said, we hit somebody in the mouth. We're not going to hurt somebody, but we are going to play physical."

A couple of the players alluded to the fact that they were much more physical in practice. In fact, Volodymyr Gerun was sent to the hospital for stitches courtesy of a Keaton Miles elbow.

One aspect of West Virginia's play under Bob Huggins when it has been successful is rebounding the ball and imposing its will physically to win on the glass. This WVU team has not had that, at least not yet.

"We are definitely going to have to focus and on top of that we are going to have to hit some shots," Noreen said. "We are going to have to play the way Coach's teams have played in the past and not like we have been playing this year."

WVU dealt its NCAA tournament resume a blow by giving up a 15-point second half lead to Duquesne and losing earlier this week. It can make up for that with a win over the Wolverines.

"It would right the ship for us, that's for sure," Noreen shrugged. "If we are able to go there and focus and have some things fall our way, I thought Marshall was a turning point, but this would be a turning point."

"Michigan is the highest ranked team we have played," WVU Forward Keaton Miles stated. "We don't look at that, but we look at it as a big game to improve ourselves and our notorization to get into the NCAA tournament."

John Beilein's teams always shot the ball well when he was at West Virginia. This Michigan team also shoots it very well. In fact, four of Michigan's five starters average double-figures. Unlike some of Beilein's teams at WVU, Michigan is rebounding it well too. Three of those five starters are averaging more than five rebounds per game.

"They have got big guys and they really crash the glass," Noreen said. "Not only are they big, they are long and they have a lot of athletes as well. They are coached on hitting the glass, but that is something we are coached on as well so it should be a good battle."

"I think if we play defense the way Coach Huggins wants us to play defense, then it doesn't matter who we play," Miles stated. "It's the mindset of not letting my man score and helping when I need to help."

Appearances are not everything, but when Bob Huggins looks relaxed and confident three days after watching his team lose to a team it had not business losing to, then something must be up. He was smiling and honking his horn playfully at media members as he left the practice facility. It is as if Huggins knows something big is about to happen for his team.

Huggins took the blame following the Duquesne loss and said it was up to him to fix it. Perhaps he already fixed it.

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