On 15:16 and the rest of 2013-14

We’ve covered the strong stretches and the promising play West Virginia exhibited in its victorious two-game road swing. True, an 11-point lead became a two-point deficit Monday, but the Mountaineers didn’t quickly choke away that lead. It was taken away over a prolonged period as they made 9 of 15 shots and committed just one turnover. They weren’t bad. Texas Tech was just a little better, and ultimately not good enough.

So we saw the Mountaineers doing things better and generally looking more organized despite some issues with illness (Eron Harris against TCU, Remi Dibo against Texas Tech) and little injuries (Nate Adrian doesn’t look like a guy with two good ankles).

But those are among the improvements and innovations that happen when a team has only two games and a lot of practice in 15 days before the start of conference play.

One such innovation? Devin Williams and Brandon Watkins playing together.

Never before had they played together as frequently or for as long as they did against Texas Tech. They played seven stretches together for a combined 15 minutes, 16 seconds. Individually, they both played well, Williams all the way back from the bad back that bothered him against William & Mary, Watkins playing his best game since his breakthrough against Marshall.

But as a pair? This was something else. The Mountaineers rebounded far better with those two together, which tickled Bob Huggins to the point he actually played a 2-3 zone that usually gives a team rebounding problems because the defenders don’t have a man to guard. The Williams-Watkins made for a long zone and their size and reach made for better rebounding.

You even saw them complement one another in the ways one might hope for now and come to expect later and, more importantly, submit a plus-four scoring margin in a game WVU would win by three points.

“They can do a lot for us, especially on the defensive end because they give us a lot of rebounding,” point guard Juwan Staten said. “And Brandon gives us something inside we don’t have, which is somebody who changes shots at the rim. He’s great in there for us.”

True, Dibo was ill and Kevin Noreen wasn’t himself on a night he needed to play big, so maybe this was necessity, but maybe it was an invention, too.

16 Responses to “On 15:16 and the rest of 2013-14”

  1. PeterB says:

    Encouraging when they didn’t go el-foldo at a time when they easily could have. Sure, there were plays to be made that would have ended it in regulation, but they took care of business in OT. Next question is if they can beat someone they’re not supposed to. Plenty of opportunities for that, starting Saturday.

  2. SheikYbuti says:

    Not to hijack the thread (he said as he hijacked the thread), what in the hell is going on with the football staff? We evidently just hired Damon Cogdell to an assistant’s position, though I’ve not yet seen anything mentioning that anyone on the staff has left.

  3. SheikYbuti says:

    OK, now I’m reading that Erik Slaughter is leaving.

  4. Rugger says:

    He didn’t like the cold snap?

  5. SheikYbuti says:

    I thought the consensus on the blog was that Slaughter was doing a good job on the defensive line. So if I had to guess, I’d suppose that he’s leaving on his own accord (but who knows?)

  6. Rugger says:

    Dana had Bedenbaugh stay until after NLOI Day last season. Maybe we’re deciding to put more emphasis on recruiting in FL where we have more success. If Slaughter had some big recruits coming in it would be silly to let him go now but if he had few or none, that could be the reason a change is being made.

    Damon looks like a D line coach.

  7. SheikYbuti says:

    Yeah, we just received a commitment today for 2015 from one of Cogdell’s receivers at Miramar.

  8. The 25314 says:

    If Slaughter leaves, that will be assistant #9 to leave Holgorsen since Jan. 2012.

    WVU was last in the Big 12 in sacks.

  9. SheikYbuti says:

    Mike having posted a new thread covering the Slaughter issue, we now return you to the original thread topic. Until next time, when we again take you from the inner mind to . . . the OUTER LIMITS!

  10. Rugger says:

    Dana initially thought we could recruit TX and FL. TX has been a bust, FL is the gift that keeps giving. I like a guy who can admit when he’s wrong.

  11. SheikYbuti says:

    Re: original topic. I’ve seen enough now to be assured that Huggins is indeed well on his way to “fixing” the basketball program and getting it back to where we all think it belongs.

  12. Mr M says:

    With what sounds like the appearance of Holton soon, would it be likely for him to simply appear in uniform and be inserted into a game with no prior notice of his being approved by the NCAA? Or is such approval always available to the public via press releases etc? It would be an interesting strategy if he could be suddenly released upon an opponent.

  13. smeer says:

    poor Sheik – hijacked the thread and then couldn’t give the plane back to the authorities #MikeCispi$$ed

  14. Dann White says:

    I almost don’t believe it, but; with a couple of unexpected wins, this team looks more and more like a NCAA Tourney team than I ever dreamed.
    Granted I watched them beat William and Mary live, and pieces of TCU online, but they seem to be the real deal ~ even sans J. Holton. Should that piece fall into place, I’m afraid I’ll be forced to return Bobby Huggins coaching credentials to him.
    In all seriousness (if that’s possible here); I’m getting excited about the B-ball program again!!

  15. smeer says:

    i’m not ready to anoint them anything yet. 16 more conference games with a still very young ball club

    what I do like is there is upside and Huggs is tinkering with lineups and rotations – something he tried last year with disaster, but this year has more tools in his belt.

    when he settles on who can play with who and who will really be that go to player and who can he put out to make D stops.

    this team will tell us who they are the last five to seven ball games

    but it needs a signature win over a Somebody at home and on the road to get over the mental hump

    I like the team – it’s best days are a head of it – but not sure how far out those days extend until we are in that “we will beat you at our place and beat you at your place” zone.

    we could go dancing, but the strategic wins have still alluded us to date and we’ve only had glimpses that this team can compete with top talent – not forty minutes

    still hoping against not waiting for the fall