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Mountaineers Understand They Cannot Start Slow Moving Forward

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The Mountaineer basketball team is working their way up in the Top 25, now sitting at No. 22 after defeating Youngstown State Saturday.

WVU is also No. 10 in the NET ranking, a key metric for NCAA Tournament selection. According to WVU basketball’s Twitter account, the team’s first 11 opponents have a combined .757 (103-33) winning percentage, which is tops in the country.

In the latest NCAA NET rankings, WVU has played the fourth-toughest strength of schedule in the country — a schedule that is not getting any easier.

After a slow start against Youngstown State, the Mountaineers acknowledge the need to start fast at each game moving forward against Ohio State Sunday and into Big 12 play.

Junior Guard Taz Sherman said the team is going to have to take things up another notch with this schedule.

“If we come out like that in the first half against Ohio State, we will be down 15 easy,” Sherman said after the win at Youngstown State last Saturday. “We can’t come out like that no more. Once we come out like us, like we did in the second half, then we will be okay.”

Sherman said the slow start against the Penguins is experience that is going to do nothing but help the team moving forward.

“I feel like anything we experience is only going to help us,” he said. “Things were getting chippy at some points in the game, but I feel that is how it goes in a game of basketball. I feel like me and my team just keep playing hard, sticking together and really listening to our coaches because our coaches are really giving us blueprints to win games. We just do knucklehead types things and mess it up but you know I feel like all in all we are going to be alright.”

The road ahead is one the Mountaineers are ready to take on after some time off for the holiday season.

“It’s an honor to play against all of the top teams now on the national scale,” Sherman said. “We are about to go into Big 12 play, the hardest conference in my opinion, and we have it tough. We are at Kansas, at Oklahoma State and then Texas Tech at home then Ohio State before that. It is an honor to prepare for these games and to play on this national scale is what every college player wants.”

This road starts with the Mountaineers’ non-conference schedule is coming to a close this Sunday at No. 2 Ohio State, a team that comes into the game with an 11-1 record.

It is followed by a brutal stretch in Big 12 Conference play, starting at No. 5 Kansas (9-2) on Jan. 4; then at Oklahoma State on Jan. 6 before coming home for a Jan. 11 matchup against N0. 23 Texas Tech (8-3).

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