West Virginia University Coach John Beilein got his undergraduate degree from then-Wheeling College. He studied history.

And that’s fitting, because Beilein is building a history with the West Virginia Conference, Wheeling Jesuit’s athletic home.

For the second year in a row, West Virginia University is playing an exhibition game against a WVC opponent in Morgantown.

“We’re going to make that an every year rule that we play a West Virginia Conference team,” said Beilein, whose current team played his former squad in November. The Mountaineers won, 91-44.

“We’ll go around the league,” Beilein said. “I don’t know that we’ll play all 14 teams in 14 years, but we’ll continue to do it.”

The team has already been selected, but Beilein said he’s not ready to make an official announcement yet.

That’s because the Mountaineers’ 2006-2007 hoops slate hasn’t been finalized.

Beilein said he and his staff are still having difficulty nailing down two empty non-conference spots on the schedule.

The game against the as-yet-unnamed WVC team is an exhibition game, likely the only one the Mountaineers will play this year.

That they use it to play a WVC team just makes good sense, Beilein said.

“When we played Wheeling (Jesuit) this past year, they brought a whole bunch of fans, and it was a great atmosphere,” he said. “It’s just a natural thing.”

WVU has already announced it will participate in a Thanksgiving weekend tournament at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla.

The inaugural ESPNU Classic, featuring Minnesota and Arkansas, among others, is scheduled for Nov. 23-26.

And there are games also planned against UCLA at the WVU Coliseum and against North Carolina State at the Charleston Civic Center, along with the annual Toyota Capital Classic against Marshall at the same venue.

Part of the problem seems to be teams seeking larger financial guarantees to play. That’s been documented in the past.

Beilein said that while the school has adjusted its athletic budget to accommodate the new financial trends, he won’t be hamstrung by them.

“Five years ago, we were offering $35,000 (guarantees),” he said. “Now, some teams are getting $80,000.

“We won’t be held hostage, I can tell you that,” he said.

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