Tip Off: 7:00 pm est
TV: AT&T Sportsnet
The Mountaineer basketball team is looking to bounce back after an opening season loss to Texas A&M in Germany on Friday night. “We weren’t in very good shape, we had some things that didn’t go right, and I think we put our heads down a little bit. We didn’t respond to it the way we needed to respond to it”, said head coach Bob Huggins during practice on Tuesday.
West Virginia must correct some of the mistakes they made against the Aggies, the biggest mistake Huggins sees, is transition defense “We were horrible in transition defense and they took advantage of it”.
This is a young Mountaineer team, that has to replace six players from a Sweet 16 team a year ago, “We’ve only had one veteran guy back, Dax practiced for less than half of the practices and with him not being there, it’s just JC (Jevon Carter), and it really throws a lot on JC’s shoulders. We’re just playing a bunch of young guys or guys that haven’t been here before”.
The Mountaineers will have an opportunity to improve against an American team that went 8-22 last year and dropped their first game of the year against Kansas State, 83-45.
The American Eagles are young and do not have one Senior on the team. They do however, return their leading scorer from a year ago, starting Sophomore guard Sa’eed Nelson (14.9).
They start two freshman forwards Jesse Little (6’10” 178-lb) and Sam Iorio (6’6” 230-lb) and newcomer, Junior guard CB Diallo (6’1” 167-lb).
The Eagles added NAIA transfer, from St. Xavier University, Junior guard Larry Motuzis (6’6” 200-lb), which scored 17 points against Kansas State in the opener. He is a versatile guard that can play inside and out and can hurt an opponent from behind the arc.
Look for Freshmen forwards Drew Lamont and Nick Macarchuk, Freshman guard Marvin Bragg and Junior forward Matt Cimino to come off the bench.
Fans may not enjoy games like this, but it’s important for the development of the young talent on this Mountaineer basketball team and it can be a confidence builder.
The Mountaineers should not have a problem handling the Eagles, but the key to this game is how they handle adversity, rebounding, defense and how they create offense.
I have West Virginia winning this game, but I think they are a little sluggish after making the trip back from Germany.
Mountaineers win, 76-55.