WVU v. Iowa State: Who are the magicians?

Sometimes you’ve got your head down writing or typing when you’re listening to something or someone and you get the words, but not the context.

Knowing what we know now — which is that Terry Henderson has quite a bug and that it’s going to keep him not only out of a second straight game, but away from the team for a second straight game … and maybe longer — what happened following the first game against Iowa State is finally ringing in my ears.

“He could have said, ‘I was sick.’ He didn’t. He just said, ‘This one’s on me. I’ve got to be able to play through it.’ ” 



Was Henderson sick for the Kansas game? Because, man, Henderson looked bad that game. I said he looked beat. Whatever the case, whatever the adjective, he was not himself and, near as I can tell, no ink has been given to the possibility, or maybe now the fact, that he was sick when he was 0-for-3 against the Jayhawks.

And has what ailed him that day in Lawrence followed him ever since? Did a diagnosis arrive just a few days ago?

I think those are a pretty interesting questions, though certainly secondary to “When will Henderson return to the lineup?” We know he’s been ill for a while, but we don’t now for how much longer WVU expects to be without it’s third-leading scorer during the final push in a conference that really requires scorers.

What I have to say about him and his role tonight is the same as it was Saturday. WVU needs Henderson. It can’t shorten the bench. It can’t expect to match up with Iowa State and its pace for 40 minutes and rely on just Juwan Staten and Eron Harris doing all the scoring in the backcourt or with three-guard lineups with Gary Browne, which then removes a link to other plans that might involve, or necessitate, getting Staten and/or Harris on the bench.

Henderson was hot early in the home win against Iowa State — I thought he faded, but, whatever, it was a blowout that didn’t need 30-plus points from him — and what he did made life easier on Staten and Harris and Remi Dibo, who had a career night that I don’t think you can expect without some assistance from others to clear the way first.

Given what Texas and Baylor have done in succession, it stands to reason the Cyclones are going to (try to) take away Harris and Staten and roll the dice on Dibo and Nathan Adrian. I don’t think Iowa State has the size or the length the Longhorns and Bears posses, so I’m not sure it comes so easily, but whether Staten and Harris succeed or not is somewhat irrelevant. In either case, they’ll have to get Adrian and Dibo involved.

If those two start writing checks, then Iowa State will adjust, but not in such a dramatic manner that will leave Staten or Harris unaccounted for and unchecked. For the entirety of the season, Dibo and Adrian have been front runners. They get open shots because of the attention given to others, but they also shoot and score better when WVU is in the lead and confidence is high (Dibo did a lot of damage against Iowa State after WVU ran away, as an example). We really haven’t seen one or both carry the weight of the offense, or at least provide a leg to stand on and walk a mile.

WVU’s perpetual struggle this season has been finding a third scoring option, be it a player or a tactic. Losing Henderson and then managing all the subsequent side effects that absence causes, makes that struggle no easier. And for all we know, WVU may have more time than it cares to encounter to get a plan together.

And that’s just the offensive problem. Henderson is an above average defender who’d turned into a pretty good help side defender and rebounder. WVU isn’t as good in man-to-man without Henderson, but I don’t think WVU and its otherwise bad defense is going to win with man tonight. I think WVU is going to play a lot of zone and try, again, to keep the Cyclones from shooting 3s. It worked pretty well last time.

They’ll live with the drives and the jumpers and with DeAndre Kane and Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang posting up and stringing passes and cuts together for inside shots. The Mountaineers don’t want and can’t afford to see Iowa State bombing away from 3-point range. The crowd will turn the game in a hurry. Whether it’s the matchup zone or the 1-3-1 or even the tricky 1-2-2 trap, I think you’re going to see some sort of passive-aggressive chaos from the Mountaineers.

That’s all a part of the magic, so to speak, at the Hilton Coliseum tonight. How can WVU make up for the disappearance of Henderson? What tricks will the Mountaineers pull to defend better than they have the past two games, but honestly, for most of the season?

But Iowa State is now without magic wands to wave. No matter what or where, 102 points is 102 points and I promise you the Mountaineers are confident they can do that, or at least something similar, once again. The Cyclones have blemishes they have to mask there, and maybe on offense, too. WVU’s plan last time worked and it’s up to them to pull something out of their hats to make it different this time.

And finally, the three men in charge of the officiating have their work cut out for them, too, in case anyone has any ideas about revisiting what happened 16 days ago. I’m confident they’ve been briefed on the whos and the whats from the first game, so let’s keep an eye on early conferences and maybe even tight whistles.

Flagrant 3 coming up. Let’s blog.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:54 pm

And Staten’s been out for a few possessions that have gone nowhere. Huggins, I guess, doesn’t want to use the last timeout.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:54 pm

Hogue: 16-for-50 from 3 before that. That’ll probably be enough here.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:52 pm

It’s just too easy. And it’s obvious what ISU is going to do. Just no answer for WVU defensively

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:51 pm

And he should be mad about the way WVU has guarded on the perimeter. It’s a layup line and Watkins keeps opening up huge lanes. It looks like he wanders and gets lost.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:50 pm

Staten’s hot. He’s scoring and talking.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:46 pm

I feel like this is definitely the hardest and maybe the best Dibo has played. Your thoughts?

Also, no Henderson means Browne from 3.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:42 pm

OK, Niang is tough to handle, but it’s much tougher when the officials give you that call. What’s Noreen supposed to do there? Just totally vacate the paint? Yes?

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:40 pm

Zero post presence lets you give up lobs like that. That was a bad decision by Niang and, frankly, a lucky finish by Kane.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:39 pm

Chaos, just not passive-aggressive. Noreen is alone against Kane. His teammates see it and Kane sees that. Drives and dishes to Long for his fifth three and another momentous one. It’s a 64-54 lead.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:38 pm

And with Williams now saddled with four fouls, WVU has no body to answer him inside.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:38 pm

Niang is a nimble bear. Williams lacks his elegance.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:37 pm

Long’s four 3s tonight have given ISU leads of 14-11, 22-14, 51-42 and 56-49.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:32 pm

Long hits two big 3s, so naturally WVU pay attention. Watkins loses Niang, and biang, another 3 for a 59-49 lead. Again, so hard to come all the way back on the road.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:31 pm

Staten’s making an interesting adjustment. He’s going way under the Watkins screen before it arrives, essentially beating his defender and Watkins’ defender.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:30 pm

Harris doesn’t get much of a rest because Dibo gets his third foul with 14:11 to go. Here’s a spot where it’s nice to have Henderson. Just illustrating what’s hard to explain.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:27 pm

When WVU gets a chance to guard, WVU isn’t bad defensively in this game. The bad moments come when a bad shot or over, or sometimes just a long rebound or some hasty ISU play, gets the ball back before the defense. Settled, the Mountaineers are all right.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:24 pm

No screener for Staten with this lineup. But there’s a 3bo on WVU’s end and a charge on ISU’s end. It’s 48-42 and WVU has dodged another haymaker here. IT’ll have theball after this timeout.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:22 pm

Huggins pulls Harris and they have a constructive talk. While embraced. Neat to see.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:20 pm

Harris scores and ends about 20 minutes between scores then gets a steal and blows a running 18 footer because I guess he thought he was fouled. Bad shot, bad defense and ISU gets a layup.

Needless to say, he needs to do better than that.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:16 pm

I have ISU for 26 points in the paint. Hoiberg gonna Hoiberg.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:16 pm

Down nine, Huggins goes Staten, Harris, Browne, Dibo and Noreen.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:15 pm

Williams sets a moving screen — he’s playing defense — eight seconds into the half and has to sit with three fouls. Silly play because he’s trying to play well here.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20149:02 pm

Really good and gutty effort by WVU’s team, as opposed to WVU’s stars, to get back in this game. It really should be a much larger ISU lead. But that 7-0 run after Kane’s 3 built a 37-26 lead is a meaningful stretch for WVU.

It takes a lot of effort to get back from 14 down and WVU pushed a few times. It’s good to have more than half of it off the bone already and halftime to recuperate. And ISU had to play hard in that half and doesn’t have any better depth than WVU.

This isn’t over.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:46 pm

hate the sin, love the sinner there. That’s aware help defense by Watkins. Pretty close to a good block.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:45 pm

Dibo and Staten are on Harris in this timeout. Harris is heated about something and needed cooled down. He’s 1-for-6 and probably isn’t getting calls he wants.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:44 pm

And guess what. Niang misses two free throws, rebounds his miss and scores. That’s a bad job by Adrian and Watkins.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:44 pm

…which will be played without Williams after his second foul. Here comes Watkins and he has to be good here to make this rally worthwhile.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:43 pm

WVU survives two 3-point shots and gets a State layup to force ISU into a timeout. Very resilient run by WVU here. Important 4:39 to go.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:41 pm

And back to 10. Niang is indecipherable for WVU’s post paint defense.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:40 pm

A dreadful eight minutes for WVU, and 4:46 betweenbaskets, but a 6-0 run makes it 28-20 with 5:40 to go here.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:39 pm

WVU gets two Williams free throws (misses) and an offensive rebound and then a pass to an open Dibo at the hoop and he turns it over. Nothing out of three good things on that possession.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:38 pm

A whistle for Williams! Interesting to see ISU hurry the ball into its backcourt after WVU makes or misses. I imagine it’s to avoid the zone and to attack the paint, which means avoid a WVU strentgh and exploit a weakness. With that haste and WVU’s misses, we haven’t seen much zone.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:37 pm

I have Iowa State at 10-for-18 in this run, which is a 26-7 run. WVU is 3-for-15, and affected or not, Harris 1-5/0-2 so far.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:33 pm

Not helping by not catching passes and bobbling the ball out of bounds. That’ll do, Brandon.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:32 pm

And Watkins isn’t helping anything by vacating the paint when Niang dashes through it.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:31 pm

And these officials aren’t going to run Huggins, unless it’s just blatant. He’s barking every time down and the officials walk away. Reason being, I’ve been told: Officials have to do paperwork for an ejection. Officials want to get on the road to the next stop, or to an airport that’s not near by.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:31 pm

Also, it was 7-2. IT’s now 26-14. That’s a blistering 24-7 run.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:30 pm

And your boy Mike Stuart with the T on Huggins. And he may have come really close to get another with the follow-up language. Ning’s free throws make it 24-14. WVU is 0-8 when it trails by 10 in a game.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:29 pm

Man, Adrian has beautiful looks and has stepped into every 3 so far.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:27 pm

Brutal no-call for WVU and a sledge hammer 3. ISU hunts for haymakers.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:27 pm

For you …


Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:24 pm

And Adrian answers with a 3. That was important.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:24 pm

WVU being outscored 15-5 here and shooting 2-for-10 as ISU goes 6-for-9 and 2-for-2 from 3.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:20 pm

Or I’m wrong. Great play by Kane on the help side to block Williams, who seems to like his matchup with Niang. Great grinding score by Niang inside. WVU responds with a missed 3. Iowa State counters with a three-point play. Suh-wing.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:19 pm

Very fast and physical here, and though it’s early, I don’t think Iowa State likes physical.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:16 pm

Mark Whitehead, Duke Edsall and Mike Stuart are your officials. None of them had the first game between these two.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:14 pm

And now Hoiberg is going after the officials. Not happy with the officiating. Neither are 14,000-plus other people. I have no idea what it’s like on TV, but it’s loud on the floor. WVU won the first four minutes, though.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:11 pm

And at 16:25, we’ve got Noreen and Ejim tangled up and jawing. Officials are already talking to the WVU bench. Didn’t take long.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:10 pm

Noreen was at the table before the Williams basket. Not sure Huggins wanted to make that sub.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:09 pm

And at 17:25, we have the first Devin Williams-goes-straight-up-and-gets-no-call

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:06 pm

“Don’t punch him, Eron.”

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:06 pm

First touch for HArris is a brief one. Boo. Pass. That’s the plan.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:06 pm

WVU wins the jump! Sixth time all year.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:05 pm

Also, the PA announced Harris last. Loud boos.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20148:04 pm

“Harris, this isn’t boxing!”

Mike Casazza February 26, 20147:59 pm

Hilarious. Big screen follows Hoiberg from the locker room, through the tunnel and across the floor to his handshake with Huggins. Hoiberg asks “What do you think?” which is probably automatic small talk for that moment with any coach.


Hoiberg seemed to realize Huggins was actually engaged and they spoke and for a few more seconds.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20147:56 pm

Oh, man, Ronnie Everhart was lustily booed. Student behind me: “That’s not even their coach, dip[stuff].”

Mike Casazza February 26, 20147:55 pm

And Harris received some not-so-pleasantries upon taking the floor.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20147:54 pm

We’ve got a Cyclone horn here. And lots of clapping in tune to a highlight video. These are little things, but they’re big deals for the overall atmosphere.

Mike Casazza February 26, 20147:37 pm

So far, nothing specifically aimed at Harris. Just generally loud booing at all of WVU.

Also, Iowa State players engage in a pretty nice slam dunk contest during warmups. Fans are here early to see it. Everything matters, gang.

36 Responses to “WVU v. Iowa State: Who are the magicians?”

  1. Josh24601 says:

    Here’s hoping Harristotle is what he consistently does. The making shots part, and not the turnstile-defense part.

  2. Mack says:

    I haven’t been sick so where I couldn’t go for more than a day or two in a row. . . maybe ever.

  3. netbros says:

    If it is mono that Henderson has, I can vouch for the fact that he cannot play. I was laid up in a hospital bed for 11 days when I was 28 years old, and all told I was sick for probably 5 weeks. The sickest I’ve ever been. Mono sucks.

  4. Dr. Casazza,

    I have this rash…

  5. Rugger says:

    Is anyone aware of the game being carried on FIOS in Northern VA?

  6. netbros says:

    It is on MASN and Altitude if you get either of those.

  7. Rugger says:

    MASN shows Mason/Richmond here but i can do espn3. Thanks netbros!

  8. Josh24601 says:

    Yo, Rugger. MASN2 is carrying it. Not sure whether Fios has that.

  9. Josh24601 says:

    Put it in their eye, Eron.

  10. Drew says:

    WVU can take this emotion and turn it against ISU. They seem on edge.

  11. Rugger says:

    Thanx Josh.

    Yo, Adrian!

  12. Drew says:

    Travel? Is that a joke?

  13. Drew says:

    Seriously, that call was absurd.

  14. avb31 says:

    This is going to get really ugly, really quickly.

  15. Rugger says:


  16. Rugger says:


  17. Did Iowa State just let WVU go in at halftime so that “fat boy” could feed them pudding?

  18. Drew says:

    I’m impressed by that run. If we can keep up the effort, it’s still within reach. We haven’t been able to come back and win after being that far down yet. Throw in its one of the toughest venues in the conference and the odds aren’t good, but you never know. I thought we were done after all those three point plays.

  19. jtmountaineer says:

    This will stay tight if Harris can become a reasonable facsimile of his offensive self. He has not, unless I’m wrong, and I don’t think I am, previously missed two free throws in a Big 12 game all year.

  20. avb31 says:

    This has been a gutty effort tonight.

  21. Drew says:

    Horrible defense.

  22. Shoot4show says:


  23. Shoot4show says:

    I really wouldn’t know how to guard with these rules and the inconsistent manner in which they are called.

  24. netbros says:

    The final score looks worse than the effort. Too bad.

  25. overtheSEC says:

    Mike, I know your head is down and you’re writing but Huggins said something to Hoiberg at the handshake line and Id love to know what it was. It seemed like a complaint possibly about one of the Iowa State players.

  26. Daniel says:

    I caught that, too. He was pointing at something and barking in Hoiberg’s face. It was a brief shot before the camera cut away, but it looked… uncomfortable.

  27. jtmountaineer says:

    Thank god for TCU. Really, really need a win. Two wins, to be precise, and I really don’t know when or where that second one’s going to come. We really miss Terry defensively. I’m glad I can say that because it means he’s made progress, but damn, I don’t see great things in our future with him out indefinitely.

    Dibo was pretty solid. Williams looked good early and faded due in part to foul trouble. Harris had a very quiet 15 points. Watkins is looking a lot like Rutledge his first year. Good when he happens to be in the right place at the right time, but I think I know why he didn’t play last Saturday.

  28. jtmountaineer says:

    Incidentally, I don’t care for Hoiberg. Why is he such a media darling?

  29. Shoot4show says:

    Incidentally, I don’t think Huggs cares for Hoiberg either.

    And burn those socks in the same ash heap that once was that God awful mustard suit and shoes ensemble.

  30. Jvance says:

    Huggins is so over rated. Not a isu guy at all. All I hear is he’s a hof coach. Take out all the dII games and ones with belines players and what do you have. A fat guy with a red face and no championships and none on the way. They show him with all these wins beside other coaches. They have all won. He can’t. Can’t recruit good players. Don’t give me they are a football school either. We all know that’s not true. No 5 star wil play for him. They are going to smu, lsu, a lot of schools that are not duke or uk. So it’s not that. He gets guys that nobody wants. Then you get sub .500 year to year. Yes they are better this year. But haven’t they gotten worse every year he’s been there. Maybe another contract would work. He’s a joke!

  31. Jvance says:

    Why is my comment taking so long. Hate the truth

  32. Mack says:

    jt, because Hoiberg was a great college player (probably the all-time Iowa State fan favorite) and he’s back at his alma mater.

  33. jtmountaineer says:

    Mack, maybe I missed that period of college basketball. People treat him like he’s some sort of offensive maestro who will be coaching in the NBA whenever he decides it’s time. ISU has some nice pieces, but I still don’t see them going past the sweet 16.

    And Fred Hoiberg, you are no Jeff Hornacek.

  34. glibglub says:

    “Yes they are better this year. But haven’t they gotten worse every year he’s been there.”

    According to that first sentence, the answer to the second is “No”.

  35. MontanaEER says:

    Jvance brings the type of grammatical aptitude that we so loathe. You have no opinion if you can’t express it in a coherent manner.