The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

January 18, 2010

Few leads safe in today’s college game

MORGANTOWN — The only thing less certain in college basketball than a 10-point lead with 20 minutes to go is a 20-point lead with 10 minutes to go.

The way teams are playing now, and West Virginia is at the head of the class, has gotten to the point that the first 35 minutes of a game are as meaningless as the start in a marathon.

The only reason to come early is to socialize or have a hot dog or two, because game after game is transforming from a runaway to a nail-biter. Warnings ought to be posted in all arenas across America, “Leave Early at Your Own Risk.”

Doesn’t seem to matter who’s playing or where the game is, the early action is nothing but a mirage.

“The runs in this league have been amazing,” Notre Dame Coach Mike Brey said during the Big East Conference coaches’ call earlier this week.

He should have known. He possessed a 20-point lead over West Virginia, only to have the Mountaineers take it down to the wire.

“I walk out at halftime up 20 and I’m worried to death,” Brey admitted.

And he really can’t understand why.

“We’d just played the best half of basketball we had played in a few years,” he said.

West Virginia-Syracuse on Saturday turned into the same thing. The Orange had put the game away, reached the point where Red Auerbach would have been lighting up his victory cigar. This one was so far gone that the fat lady was in the second verse when WVU decided it was time to play.

Syracuse already had the bus warming up outside the Coliseum. It was 65-55 when Wes Johnson converted one of two free throws.

The scoreboard clock showed 1:25 to play.

Who knew Truck Bryant still had nine more points in him? Who knew Da’Sean Butler would suddenly come to life, hit a shot, make a steal, feed Dalton Pepper for a layup, feed Bryant, then hit a 3 off Bryant’s assist?

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier

    You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
    As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads