The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 8, 2012

Old rivals VT, WVU to play today

MORGANTOWN — A revived Virginia Tech basketball program invades the Coliseum for an important 4 p.m. battle with West Virginia University today, and if coach Bob Huggins has his way, it won’t be for the last time.

The teams, long-time rivals that go back to Huggins’ playing days, are operating under a two-year agreement after the series ended when Virginia Tech left the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“I’m all for the series being extended,” Huggins said. “I can’t speak for them. We played for 50-some consecutive years, then stopped playing.”

This, of course, is a transitory time at WVU as the team has moved from the Big East to the Big 12.

“I don’t know why we don’t continue to play Pitt and why we don’t play Virginia Tech. Why don’t we play the people we played all these years and have such great tradition with?” Huggins said. “The place is sold out tomorrow.”

And it’s sold out for a reason. WVU comes in off a hotly contested victory over Marshall that almost erupted into a free-for-all, while Virginia Tech comes in unbeaten at 7-0 and ranked as the No. 3 scoring offense in the country.

That, of course, sets up the timeless offense vs. defense setup, Virginia Tech averaging 86.1 points a game and led by Erick Green, a guard who also is third in the country in scoring at 24.9 points a game.

WVU gives up an average of 66 points a game, so something has to give.

When someone asked Huggins what he does when he runs into a high-powered offense like the Hokies, his answer was revealing.

“Honestly, you could ask them what they do when they run into a team that guards like we guard,” he said. “I think we will do a better job of guarding them than anyone else they’ve played. If we don’t we’re in trouble, but I think we’ll do the job.”

In truth, this is the way Huggins plays the game.

“I’ve said this a thousand times, generally speaking, we take people out of what they want to do. The truth is, we took Gonzaga out of what they wanted to do, but they were really, really good with throw and replace,” he said.

Gonzaga, of course, annihilated the Mountaineers in the season opener, one of their three losses in what is now a 3-3 season.

“We’ve taken everyone out of their sets. We just haven’t done a very good job guarding them when the floor gets spread,” Huggins said.

Huggins gets some big-time help for today’s game as the six-game suspension of newcomer Volodymyr Gerun is up and he’s eligible to play. The native of the Ukraine was sitting out because he had played professionally overseas.

At 6-10, he is the tallest of the Mountaineers, and it is said he is a strong outside shooter.

“The best thing he does is shoot the ball,” Huggins said. “We don’t really have a pick-and-pop guy, and I think he can do that.”

The Mountaineers’ biggest problem has been shooting the basketball, especially from 3-point range. They are hitting only 40.6 percent of their shots and just 23 percent from 3-point range, making good on 20 of them in the first six games.

Against Marshall, they failed to make a 3 until there was nine minutes left in the game and took only six 3-point shots, almost ending a streak of 428 games in which they hit a 3.

The men’s game will be followed by the women’s game against St. Bonaventure at 7:30 p.m.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Smallwood puts future in jeopardy

    The last thing West Virginia’s struggling football program needed as twilight was setting on Bastille Day in Morgantown was to have one of its own whisked off to the North Central Regional Jail on a fugitive warrant from another state, especially a player who had figured to play a key role in the resurrection of a program gone bad.

    July 16, 2014

  • WVU player arrested in Delaware case

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood has been arrested by university police and is being held at North Central Regional Jail awaiting extradition on a felony warrant out of Delaware.

    July 15, 2014

  • WVU hoping to add two non-conference contests

    West Virginia is nearing the completion of deals to play football games against long-time rival Virginia Tech, now in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference, according to a source close to the negotiations.
    An announcement is expected shortly.

    July 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: MLB All-Star game biggest celebration of top athletes

    You will pardon me if I find something else to do when the Pro Bowl rolls around, or if I try to find a “Three Stooges” marathon when it’s time for the NHL All-Star game. As for the NBA All-Star game, I’d rather watch a replay of a four-year-old Uruguay-Ethiopia World Cup soccer match in which I knew the outcome.
     

    July 14, 2014

  • Howes learns to ‘never settle’ as WVU administrator

    You probably don’t know much about Terri Howes, even though she is a rather high-ranking executive in the West Virginia University athletic department.
    “I like it that way,” she said, sitting in a large office at the Coliseum, decorated with pictures and memorabilia, a jar of candy sitting by the door for visitors to dip into.

    July 13, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads