Big 12 Tournament Has Different Feel For WVU - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Big 12 Tournament Has Different Feel For WVU

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KANSAS CITY -

The Big 12 Tournament tips off later today when West Virginia meets Texas Tech. This is West Virginia's first appearance in the Big 12 tournament. Typically this time of year, WVU and its fans have invaded New York City and Madison Square Garden to watch the Big East tournament.

Gone is the big city and bright lights of Manhattan. Gone too is playing in the iconic building known as Madison Square Garden.

The Big 12 Tournament calls the Sprint Center in Kansas City its home. This is a much more modern building with virtually all of the amenities. The arena is spacious. The concourses are wide with plenty of vending choices for fans.

"It feels a little different not going back to the Garden to play in the Big East tournament, but it's something different and I am enjoying myself so far, so that is a good thing," WVU Guard Jabarie Hinds said.

WVU is not only in an unfamiliar building and an unfamiliar tournament, but the Mountaineers are also in an unfamiliar position. WVU must win the Big 12 Tournament in order to lock up a place in the NCAA Tournament. A loss anywhere in the Big 12 tournament will squash West Virginia's Tournament hopes.

"We have a chance to win this tournament," Kilicli said. "They are not unbeatable. We can go in there and make a run, but it takes a lot of heart to do. We have to be on the same page and put everything out there."

 

WVU got an opportunity to workout inside the Sprint Center on Tuesday. They got a feel for the backdrop and what it is like to shoot in that building.

"It's a pretty big background, so it feels kind of different," Guard Eron Harris said. "You got to get used to that. Other than that, I'm not really worried about that. To me, I don't really consider myself a shooter, I'm a scorer and I will find a way to score somehow."

Three seniors on the team could play their final collegiate basketball game on Wednesday. Any loss will spell the end of their college basketball careers.

"I play every game like it's my last game," Kilicli stated. " It can end now, and it can really end now. If we lose, our season is really done."

One other aspect of the Big 12 tournament versus the Big East tournament that remains unknown for the sake of comparison is the number of WVU fans in attendance. It is obviously a much closer drive to New York City than Kansas City from West Virginia.

The other teams playing on day one of the Big 12 tournament likely will not bring a ton of fans either. None of the four teams are a "close" drive from Kansas City. However, should WVU beat Texas Tech and face Kansas on day two of the tournament, it might as well be like a road game.

Kansas is about an hour away and expects to bring a large group of fans to the Sprint Center for that second round game and the remainder of the tournament.

WVU has to win on day one before it can think about what the atmosphere will be like on day two of the tournament. The Big 12 tournament tips off at 7 o'clock when WVU meets Texas Tech.

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