The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

March 10, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU playing waiting game

MORGANTOWN — They tell you the wait is the toughest part, the hours that lead up to the game.

In baseball, players will sit around and play cards or watch tape or listen to music. Football players, well, you’ve seen the movies, banging their heads against the lockers. If you think that’s all fake, think back to a man named Owen Schmitt.

Enough said there.

Boxers? Imagine, if you will, waiting and waiting to put on the gloves, to go out there and face Mike Tyson or Sonny Liston or Muhammad Ali. That sweat may come from getting loose or it may just be nervous sweat.

West Virginia University’s basketball team is waiting.

And waiting.

And waiting.

The Mountaineers played Villanova on Saturday, winning the game, setting themselves up for the Big East Tournament.

Great, except that they earned a double-bye and with such they rested on Sunday and Monday and Tuesday and will rest Wednesday before finally springing into action … if they have any spring left.

That’s a lot of practice, a lot of tape, a lot of good ol’ fashion B.S. before a game.

Some good teams will ease themselves into a tournament, facing an opponent they should handle with no sweat. They can get used to the environment, to the arena, to the crowd without really being in danger of losing.

You get a double-bye and all you’ve earned is the right to skip that.

You have to come out running and gunning, ready for a fight from the first round against an opponent who is already game hardened.

That does not sound like the way this multiple personality group of Mountaineers want it to be.

They ease themselves into games, first half pansies who turn into second half warriors.

But that’s in December and January and February.

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