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Takeaways: West Virginia Completes Two-Day Trip in Kansas City



Joe Toussaint
Photo: Kelsie LeRose / WVSN

West Virginia basketball went 1-1 in Kansas City this week during the Big 12 Conference Tournament. Let’s take a look at some takeaways before Selection Sunday.

Mountaineers Lacked Energy Against Kansas

West Virginia lacked energy against Kansas on Thursday. WVU guards Erik Stevenson and Joe Toussaint admitted it too after the game. WVU allowed 52 points in the paint and 16 second-chance points to the Jayhawks. The Mountaineers just looked tired and ready to move on to the NCAA Tournament. This team went 4-1 in their last five games before the Kansas loss. It was about time before West Virginia ran out of gas.

Now, WVU has almost a week to rest up for March Madness.

It’s important for West Virginia to get this rest and not get caught up in the Big 12 play. WVU is projected to play Iowa in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with the winner most likely facing 1-seed Alabama in Birmingham. West Virginia could use this rest.

WVU Takes Momentum into March Madness

Losing to Kansas on Thursday doesn’t kill this team’s momentum.

“We never lack confidence,” Stevenson said after the loss.

“They’re the No. 1 team in the country, to be honest,” Toussaint added.

This team isn’t worried about their loss, they know it was going to happen at some point. It’s now a one-game season. Win or go home.

Time to Play Small

For the majority of the season, it has appeared that West Virginia should play small. WVU’s starting big man Jimmy Bell appears to have hit that Big 12 wall that most Junior College players hit during their first season. Bell did pull down eight rebounds against Texas Tech in the first round, which helps.

But this team should play small in the NCAA Tournament.

It’s easier to space out the floor and create more driving opportunities for Kedrian Johnson or Toussaint, without the paint getting clogged.

WVU F Tre Mitchell can really use his shooting ability to stretch the floor out and create those opportunities even more.

Bell still has a lot of time to grow and can bring value but this gameplan would make West Virginia faster and more organized.

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