The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

February 14, 2011

Road rumble

WVU, Orange to duke it out tonight

MORGANTOWN — The way West Virginia shooting guard Casey Mitchell sees it when West Virginia takes the floor today in the Carrier Dome against Syracuse in what might be one of the bigger regular-season games of the season for both teams is that this will be nothing short of bare-knuckle fighting.

“Syracuse is one of the top four teams in the conference,” Mitchell said on Saturday after WVU’s offense came to life against DePaul’s porous defense and scored 82 points in an 11-point victory. “I really don’t know how they have six losses. They are like one of the biggest, most athletic teams in the conference and have a great zone.

“They just gave games away,” Mitchell continued, “just like we did. It cost them six losses. Well, we’re not trying to get our sixth loss and they’re not trying to get their seventh loss in the conference. It’s going to be a brawl.”

Syracuse is 20-6 but 7-6 in the Big East while the Mountaineers are 16-8 and 7-5 in the conference but looking at really tough final couple of weeks of league play before the conference tournament.

Most people don’t think of Syracuse in physical terms, considering that they play that 2-3 zone of Jim Boeheim’s, but it is a difficult zone to crack with all the subtle nuances he has been able to put into it over his Hall of Fame career.

To complicate matters, WVU had only one day — Sunday — to get ready for the zone, which is tricky.

“The toughest thing is we can’t simulate their length,” Coach Bob  Huggins said. “Craig Carey, Mike Carey’s son, he tries really hard, but he’s not Ricky Jackson, you know what I mean.”

Carey is a walk-on who usually plays the role of an opponent but with Syracuse, there’s just no way he can be as long and quick and athletic as the players’ Boeheim has.

But don’t think for a minute that WVU won’t be ready for the zone.

“You work on it all year. It’s not like we haven’t worked on it,” Huggins admitted. “We have to really take a hard look at how people score. Louisville made a lot of shots [in beating Syracuse on Saturday, 73-69.] They got a lot of good shots early.”

And it only helped some that DePaul, a pressing team, went to the zone on a couple of occasions and the Mountaineers handled it easily.

“It’s no secret what we have to do,” guard Joe Mazzulla said. “We got to get the ball in the short corner and in the middle against the zone and make shots.”

Making shots is the key.

“With the zone, you have to keep making shots. I don’t think he’s coming out of it, so you have to keep making them,” Huggins said. “That’s what Georgetown did. I saw the Georgetown game.”

The problem is that until the DePaul game, WVU had been in an awful shooting slump, especially among the players who need to hit from long distance against the zone, men like Mitchell and Truck Bryant and Dalton Pepper.

Hitting better than 50 percent, admittedly almost all of them layups, could boost Mountaineer confidence.

“It is good for everyone’s confidence going into Saturday’s game,” Mitchell admitted.

Mitchell, the Mountaineers leading scorer when he’s on the floor and not in Huggins’ dog house, hit four of six shots against DePaul, two tough shoots ands two 3s.

As important, perhaps, is Pepper’s ability to score coming off the bench. A non-entity early in the year, Pepper has been getting more and more playing time and playing better because of it in recent days, hitting three of six against DePaul while scoring nine points.

“Watching Louisville, they got them moving and overloaded on one side,” Pepper said. “That [gets] you someone wide open. I’ll just go out there and try to find a groove and be comfortable so I can help the team out.”

E-mail Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • LINDLEY COLUMN: Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    Cheating has been part of college athletics probably for as long as people have bothered to keep score.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.

    July 24, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Five major sports topics of interest to area fans

    Tom Hart, a widely known retired Morgantown High School administrator and coach, continues to excel as one of the nation’s top bowlers.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
    Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
    Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
    The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.

    July 23, 2014

  • 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

  • Fleming, Billy.jpg WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees

     Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
    “Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos