MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As West Virginia Men’s Basketball looks to kick-off the first round of the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic against Elon on Thursday night, let’s talk about five things Mountaineer fans should know about this match-up.
WVU to Use This Week to Prepare For March
On Wednesday, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins mentioned that he wants to use this week’s tournament to prepare for the NCAA Tournament come March. Huggins mentioned that he favors playing three games in four days, rather than practicing against themselves.
“I think, to a large degree, you end up toughing it out in these tournaments,” he said. “We’re going to play a couple of days, have a day off and then play another game… I think it’s good preparation for the NCAA Tournament.”
Hopefully, the Mountaineers can build up their resume this weekend, with potential match-ups against Marquette and No. 22 Saint Bonaventure.
Elon comes into the game with a 2-1 record, with the single 74-61 loss last Tuesday against Florida. The Phoenix average 85.7 points in the first three games played this season.
What problem can Elon give the Mountaineers on Thursday night?
Well, they can shoot the ball pretty well from deep.
Other than a 5-of-20 performance from three against Florida, Elon has shot a combined 31-of-65 (47 percent) from deep in their other two games.
“They’re a good team, they shoot the ball really well,” Huggins said. “I was able to watch two of their games, and when they get on a roll, they make a lot of shots.”
Huggins also mentioned that Elon will play some form of zone against his team on Thursday, whether that’s a 2-3, or 1-3-1.
Potential Time to Give Young Guys More Experience
Kobe Johnson and Seth Wilson are the only freshmen to check into the game so far for the Mountaineers. Huggins said he wants to play three-to-four freshmen this season. No offense to Elon, but this would be a great opportunity to play Kobe Johnson, Wilson, Jamel King, Taj Thweatt and Seny N’Diaye.
Freshman James Okonkwo, regardless, will probably not appear in the first round match-up on Thursday. Okonkwo has nearly recovered from his injury but only has practiced with the team three times, according to Huggins.
This will also be a great opportunity for the rest of the newcomers to get more experience with minutes under their belts. Grad transfers Malik Curry, Pauly Paulicap and Dimon Carrigan have all been rotation players off the bench for the first week of the season, and will be quality pieces to the success of this year’s team.
West Virginia is favored by -14 points against Elon.
The WVU money line is set at -900.
How to Watch and Listen
You can watch West Virginia take on Elon on Thursday, at 9 p.m., on ESPN2. The first round match-up will be in Charleston, South Carolina.
Mountaineer Sports Network will broadcast the game on the radio, with Tony Caridi and Jay Jacobs once again calling WVU games for the entirety of this season.
(Top Photo: Kelsie LeRose – WVSN)