WVU v. Baylor: Don’t blow it!

2014-02-22_12-23-04_192

You are looking live at a neat pregame scene at the Coliseum. The Big 12 Network crew was taping the intro it plugs in at the start of the game and the students assembled behind the shot and blew bubbles in the background. Because they’re on the bubble! I’m not certain the recoiling Stephen Howard would agree, but I like it. I endorse it. I even condone the giveaway pom poms for the students today. Nothing wrong with that. Better than T-shirts.

Baylor, dressed in black and neon green today, came a long way with a three-game winning streak. WVU’s past two home crowds haven’t been very big, but they’ve been rowdy and they’ve affected the game at appropriate points. Bubbles and pom poms are a good start.

Bad start? Well, WVU isn’t healthy and will be short-handed today.

Divisive as he can be, that’s a big, big blow. Whether he’s on or off, he’s still a body in a role that takes minutes that don’t belong going to someone else.

Positive? I guess you don’t have to worry about him checking out during the game. But that’s it. WVU is not better with this development.  

No one’s told me anything about Devin Williams and his status, but he took time and care to get loose and he looked really stiff in the brief warm up I saw him going through.

Losing Henderson doesn’t really force WVU to change its game plan or make the Mountaineers appreciably worse off for the game and at the mercy of the opposition. It would behoove the Mountaineers to have an able Williams in the paint. Baylor is big and has been wise to use its size in its three-game winning streak.

 The Mountaineers (15-11, 7-6 Big 12) gave up 23 baskets in the paint and a season-high 57.9 percent shooting and were outrebounded 41-26 as they lost to the Longhorns by 17 points.

That’s followed WVU through its week off as it prepares for Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. game against Baylor at the Coliseum (WQCW in Charleston). The Bears (17-9, 5-8) have won three straight games after losing seven out of eight. Included in the losses was a home loss in which they outrebounded WVU by 10, but were outscored 28-14 in the paint.

In the past three wins, Baylor has outrebounded teams by 27, 14 and 15 and scored 28, 38 and 28 points in the paint. Huggins likened the challenge of playing the Texas frontcourt to playing the Baylor frontcourt.

“I think it is similar,” Huggins said. “They do a great job protecting the rim and they’re a terrific offensive rebounding team.”

Remember, WVU outscored the Bears 28-14 in the paint in Waco. It would seem Baylor has sought to cure that problem, but this is also the Big 12’s best 3-point shooting team and the Bears sometimes fall out of love with easy shots and fall in love with 3-point shots. WVU will take that.

WVU will also take the ball from Baylor. The Bears turn the ball over a lot and WVU had a 18-0 scoring edge off turnovers in the first game between these two. The Mountaineers have to manufacture extra possessions and capitalize on them when they’re going to give up offensive rebounds and points in the paint.

At stake today? It’s probably, if not definitely, a must-win for both squads if they hope to entertain at-large NCAA Tournament possibilities. A win gives Baylor 18 wins with four games to go. A loss gives the Bears (17-9, 5-8) nine Big 12 losses. Hard to consider a team that’s not .500 in the Big 12 as an at-large team.

As for WVU (15-11, 7-6), it’s obviously not in the same bubble position that it was at this time last week. A loss does more damage and, if we’re being honest, makes it at least possible WVU goes to Kansas City at 16-15 — don’t tell me the team that loses today can be expected to navigate Iowa State and Oklahoma on the road and Kansas at home. If 16-15 WVU then loses in the first game of the Big 12 Tournament, the NIT is no guarantee. Only three of the past 256 NIT teams have been fewer than two games above .500 (one was 16-15 St. John’s last year and it was a No. 5 seed).

So with that in mind, suppose WVU goes 3-2 in the final five regular-season games. That’s a 17-14 record in Kansas City. Even a 1-1 record makes them three-games above .500, which seems to be the line to toe here and what makes today kind of a big deal.

Onto the post, which is also kind of a big deal.

 

 

41 Responses to “WVU v. Baylor: Don’t blow it!”

  1. hershy112 says:

    This must be one of those “hey, the game starts at 1:30, but it really starts at 1:47″ games.

  2. Josh24601 says:

    That’s So Brady, episode 2.

  3. Josh24601 says:

    Noreen contributes.

  4. Josh24601 says:

    Good for Dibo to see the ball go in.

  5. Josh24601 says:

    Staten be like dang.

  6. Josh24601 says:

    Boy, Harris can’t guard anyone so far in the first half. We really can’t score without him, but we may as well be honest that the Harristotle Turnstile is the trade-off.

  7. avb31 says:

    No D in ErOn.

  8. Josh24601 says:

    Gathers screen was not exactly stationary.

  9. Josh24601 says:

    Noreen can be serviceable when the opponent doesn’t have a post presence who punishes the size void caused by playing Noreen.

  10. Josh24601 says:

    Flipped to Lou-Cin during commercial and HOLY BUCKETS YOU GUYS RICK PITINO’S BEARD!

  11. Shoot4show says:

    That was WNBA range!

  12. hershy112 says:

    Feeling it!

  13. Shoot4show says:

    Did he just say, “Great reconization?”

  14. avb31 says:

    Recognization

  15. Josh24601 says:

    The ball going in masks a bunch of issues.

  16. Rugger says:

    “in three halves of basketball this season, WVU is outscoring Baylor 26-0 on points off turnovers.”

    That is incredible and thanks for jinxing them Mike.

  17. hershy112 says:

    S4S,

    Yes. That just happened. All I can do is shake my head. That takes announcer IQ to an all new level.

  18. avb31 says:

    Recognization™

  19. Josh24601 says:

    Y’all see Marcus Smart’s Reggie Miller impersonation just before the half in Texas Tech – Okie St?

  20. Shoot4show says:

    Anybody remember when DW said no one could guard him in the post?

  21. Josh24601 says:

    It would seem that the Dude Huggs Just Ain’t Gonna Play Today is Watkins.

  22. jtmountaineer says:

    Josh, I was about to say the same thing. Seems like his height would be a help on defense. Wonder if he’s in the doghouse from the week’s practice.

  23. avb31 says:

    No Terry = WAY too much Gary Browne. That’s never good.

    This one might be over.

  24. Josh24601 says:

    I think what we mean is Er333333n.

  25. jtmountaineer says:

    Lay off Gary today. He’s played a solid defensive game. Thank him for Brady’s 6 points.

  26. Josh24601 says:

    Staten missing that front-end out of the under-8 stings.

  27. Josh24601 says:

    Oh and then an OREB putback. Then a contested Dibo 12-footer and we’re in trouble.

  28. avb31 says:

    Set. Match.

  29. The bubble has burst.

  30. avb31 says:

    Shoot for an NIT home game now.

  31. Josh24601 says:

    Bummer.

  32. jtmountaineer says:

    Short of running the formidable table before us. we’re now playing for NIT seeding.

  33. avb31 says:

    Should have seen this coming with Henderson out. If Gary Browne AND Kevin Noreen are playing 20+ minutes, the result is never going to be favorable.

  34. lowercase jeff says:

    sucks.

  35. jtmountaineer says:

    On one hand, we’re going to play Kansas, Iowa State, and Oklahoma with nothing to lose. On the other hand, we’ve got nothing to win either.

  36. Foul Shot says:

    Had this one budgeted as a W.
    Not enough bullets today and those guys are tough to defend down low with our smaller front line.
    Baylor looking March Madness worthy, we do not.
    Looking like another wait till next year scenario.

  37. jtmountaineer says:

    It’s really convenient to throw Gary Browne and Kevin Noreen under the bus, but they played well enough today. Dibo and Adrian were defensive liabilities. Huge liabilities.

  38. Rugger says:

    No D bo, no 3 bo.

    Why does a french tank have 6 gears?

    One for forward, 5 for reverse.

    do not tell that joke at a french restaurant until dessert is finished. Service can get real slow otherwise.

    I see better defense in the near future.

  39. Yet if not for the French, the American Revolution falters.

    But yeah, they can’t fight…

  40. Rugger says:

    My apologies if I offended you CO or anybody else.

  41. Teddy Duchamp says:

    Hey, I’m French!