WVU Sports with Mike Casazza

Sweet Sixteen: (1) Gonzaga 61, WVU 58

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It would appear everyone has already said what they will about last night’s game, but I do feel the need to jump in: Say what you will about last night’s game, but if Jordan Mathews doesn’t make that 3-pointer, Gonzaga is flying home today. West Virginia did a lot wrong, familiar errors that have cost a good team games at separate times choosing to come together at once to cost the Mountaineers one more time, but the Bulldogs needed every one of them to get a chance.

They got it, they took it and it’s WVU that’s flying home today.

That’s too simple, though, so let’s review and attempt to cobble together a complex and tortured legacy of this team.

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Sweet Sixteen: (1) Gonzaga v. (4) WVU

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You are looking live at the catbird seat at the SAP Center, site of tonight’s Sweet Sixteen games. West Virginia and Gonzaga get us started — Mountaineers go first, of course — and the winner advances to Saturday’s regional final, a.k.a Elite Eight game, against the winner of our second contest: (11) Xavier v. (2) Arizona.

That’s Sean Miller against Sean Miller’s old team, and watch out for the Musketeers.

But Chris Mack is one of our game’s bright coaches, great coaches. He’s not my former assistant. He stands on his own two feet and his record and what he’s done speaks for itself.

And I don’t know if I’ve seen a coach take a team that had lost a number in a row and lost such a terrific player, and now flip it and have them playing at such a high level. We’re playing against one of the hottest teams that’s remaining in the tournament. And if last weekend is any indication of where they’re at, it’s scary for anybody that’s going to play against them.

The road to the final four … something something.

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Better without the biggest?

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Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Gonzaga is big. Like, this big. The Bulldogs go 7-foot-1 and 6-9 in the starting lineup. The reserves are a 7-footer, who’s expected to be the next, uh, big thing in Spokane, and a 6-10 Frenchman who does a little bit of everything. The guards? Not small.

West Virginia – and stop me if you’ve heard this – is not intimidated. Impressed? That’s relative. Certainly, the fact that the Bulldogs are so tall and so long and also here is to be respected, but the feeling is the Mountaineers are not stunned and therefore not scared. “Playing in the Big 12, I would say we’ve been through worse the last three years,” Elijah Macon said.

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Gonzaga has been one of the country’s best teams from start to present, so it’s perhaps unfair to say the Bulldogs are lucky to be here. But – and that’s the critical word – there was an incident in the second-round game against Northwestern.

A lead that was 18 points large at halftime and then four points bigger in the second half was down to just five points when this happened.

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West Virginia is 0-3 all-time against Gonzaga, and two of the games weren’t even funny. Bob Huggins is 1-4 against the Bulldogs and 0-4 against his friend Mark Few, and he’s had an overall worse time than the Mountaineers.

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Sweet Sixteen media day

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Live at the SAP Center for media day. WVU works out at 3 p.m. Interviews are at 4 p.m.

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You are looking live at the scene inside today. Outside? It’s raining, because of course it is, but it’s not accumulating and not causing treacherous driving conditions. Stick with me the rest of the day. I’ll be going deep into the PST.

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Ah yes, the pre-spring depth chart

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A detour into spring football! I honestly believe this: Nothing is more menial to Dana Holgorsen than a pre-spring depth chart. The entire point of spring practice is, in essence, to create a depth chart after the spring game. Formations, personnel, order of succession, the whole deal — and that’s how Jake Spavital is taking things as he begins his first season in charge of the West Virginia offense.

“We want to figure it out and wrap it around them,” Spavital said. “I think it’s big to throw a lot of experiments out there in the spring.”

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