Friday, March 24, 2023

No. 12 WVU hosts streaking TCU

West Virginia looks for its third-straight win Tuesday night when the Mountaineers host the surprise team of the Big 12. TCU (12-3, 3-0 Big 12) was a consensus pick to finish in the conference basement in the Big 12 preseason pool, but the Horned Frogs are off to a strong starting, including winning their first three conference games (Kansas State, 59-57; Oklahoma State, 52-40; Iowa State, 81-79). TCU is tied with No. 2 Baylor atop the conference standings. WVU (13-2, 2-1) has won a pair of conference games after dropping the Big 12 opener in Kansas. Freshman guard Miles McBride continues his rise as one of the Mountaineers best players after scoring a career-best 22 points in Saturday night's win over Texas Tech. TCU is led by senior Desmond Bane (6-foot-6), who leads the team with 17.1 points a game. Bane also tallies seven rebounds a game and 3.5 points a contest. Sophomore Kevin Samuel (6-11) paces the Horned Frogs on the glass, pulling down 8.9 rebounds a game. Sophomore guard R.J. Nembhard leads TCU with 3.6 assists a game. Bane, Nembhard (13.1) and Samuel (10.8) average double-digit scoring for the Horned Frogs. Bane (35.5 minutes a game) and Nembhard (318 mpg) see heavy floor time for TCU, but the Horned Frogs have depth outside of those two. Nine Horned Frogs average more than 12 minutes of playing time a contest. The TCU game is the second of a stretch where the Mountaineers are playing six of eight at home. The game tips off at 9 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNU. WVU is a 7 1/2 point favorite. ESPN's BPI heavily favors the Mountaineers.

The 2021 Mountaineers will be the Most Talented West Virginia Team Ever

The West Virginia Mountaineers, 13-2, are off to a sensational start to the season and could absolutely compete for a Big 12 Conference Championship and perhaps a National Championship this season.  After a miserable 15-21 season last year, it is an incredible time to be a West Virginia fan and this season and team should be appreciated. However, looking ahead, the 2020-2021 West Virginia Mountaineers will almost certainly be the best, most talented team in the program's history.  This of course depends on everything going right and everyone coming back, but the team could potentially be a National Championship favorite next season. Oscar Tshiebwe, the fabulous Freshman Forward, is absolutely athletically gifted enough to declare for the NBA Draft right now, but he is still very raw and would benefit from another season in Morgantown.  Bob Huggins will have the unfortunate story of Sagaba Konate to use as an excellent example of what happens if a player leaves prematurely.  I suspect that Tshiebwe will be back for one more season and then declare for the NBA following a remarkable Sophomore year. Derek Culver, although again very talented, is unlikely to be ready for the NBA after this season.  He's perhaps even more raw than Tshiebwe and leaving West Virginia early would be a tremendously poor decision for him to make.  To truly gain the attention of NBA scouts, Culver must improve his post play, develop his mid-range game and learn to play more under control. The players that the Mountaineers will likely lose next year are Seniors Jermaine Haley, Chase Harler and Logan Routt.  Haley is a big, consistent, talented guard and is a pretty massive loss for the team.  Harler has become a reliable shooter and aggressive defender off the bench and Routt is a big body who adds depth on the interior. With that said, there are players on the team currently who will step up to replace the departing Seniors (Sean McNeil and Taz Sherman will play a bigger role) and several incoming players who will make the team even deeper and probably better. Jalen Bridges, who redshirted this season, has benefited from a year of practicing and working out with the team.  A 4 star in-state recruit out of Fairmont, Bridges has the size and skill to get minutes off the bench and contribute immediately.  I erroneously said that West Virginia "didn't need Bridges" over six months ago, but he's clearly going to be an outstanding player for the Mountaineers. Isaiah Cottrell, a 6'10 four star forward, has been absolutely terrific for the juggernaut Huntington Prep team this year.  Although Duke commit Jaemyn Brakefield gets more attention, Cottrell has been the most consistent player on the team and his length and skill will be invaluable for the Mountaineers as a Freshman next season. Taj Thweatt, a three star 6'7 forward out of New Jersey, and Kedrian Johnson, a 6'4 guard who has been mentioned as one of the best JUCO players in the country this season, will be immediate big-time contributors off the bench as well. This year's team is very, very good, but next season's team will be extremely athletic, very deep and without a doubt the most talented team in West Virginia basketball history.  Imagine Miles McBride, Emmitt Matthews, Jr., Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe with another year of experience!  Depending on how the team finishes this season, expect them to be a Preseason Top 5 team and a favorite to win the National Championship next year.

Incredible 2020 West Virginia Basketball Hype Video

West Virginia University student Josh Messe put together an incredible video for the 2020 WVU Basketball season.  Please check out the video below:

Mountaineers Jump in Latest AP Poll

  The West Virginia Mountaineers, following a win on the road at Oklahoma State and a win at home against the #22 ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders, have jumped from #17 to #12  in the latest AP Poll, which was released just moments ago. West Virginia continues play tomorrow night at home against TCU (12-3 overall, 3-0 in Big 12).  The game will air on ESPNU at 9:00PM.

Jevon Carter Has Outstanding Performance in Suns Preseason Finale

Phoenix, Arizona - The Phoenix Suns dropped another close game to the world champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, 114-113, in their preseason finale.  The Suns completed the preseason 0-4, but former West Virginia guard Jevon Carter shined  in the four games. Carter put together a complete performance last night, finishing the game with 12 points on 5-10 from the field and 2-5 from three point range.  Carter also added 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals in 36 minutes. In addition, Carter had several outstanding defensive plays and made a steal against the best player in the world, LeBron James, and finished for an easy layup on the other end of the floor.  Check out the incredible play below: The Suns open the regular season on Wednesday, December 23rd at 10:30 against the Dallas Mavericks.  Carter will be expected to play big minutes this season as the backup to veteran starter Chris Paul.

The Mountaineers Found Their Identity

Morgantown, West Virginia - Down 19 points early in the second half at Oklahoma State, the Mountaineers stormed back with tough, gritty defense that changed the entire complexion of the game. With Isaiah Cottrell injured for the season and Oscar Tshiebwe gone, West Virginia is no longer the dominant inside team that they were to start the year. Now, the Mountaineers must embrace an identity of junkyard dogs and pesky defensive players that outwork their opponents. Following the game, junior forward Derek Culver - who finished with 21 points and 19 rebounds - said, "I'll go to war for those guys in that locker room and I know they'll do the same for me." This a close-knit team that wants to win basketball games and prove that they are still among the best teams in the nation, even after losing two of their most talented front court players. Junior transfer Kedrian Johnson exemplifies the spirit that can lead West Virginia far this season.  He's tough, pesky and doesn't take a play off.  Johnson's 9 points (2-3 FG, 1-2 3PT), 5 assists and 3 rebounds were really the difference in a game that the Mountaineers desperately needed to win. Whereas West Virginia was able to simply dump it down to Culver or Tshiebwe for easy scores at the beginning of the season, this group of Mountaineers will have to out-hustle and out-work their opponents. Like their comeback win against Oklahoma State last night, most wins for the Mountaineers won't be pretty, and they shouldn't be.  West Virginia should win ugly, hard-fought, chaotic games like they've won in the past during the Press Virginia era. The West Virginia Mountaineers are not going to be the same team that we thought they were going to be at the beginning of the season, but this version - the version that scrapes and claws and fights to win games - is just as capable of a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

WVU Announces Starting Lineup Versus Texas Tech

(Photo by WVU Athletics)  The starting lineup for WVU’s matchup against Texas Tech tonight was revealed just minutes ago. The lineup is as follows: Deuce McBride Jordan McCabe Taz Sherman Derek Culver Jalen Bridges  

West Virginia Knocks Off the Jayhawks in Morgantown

(Photo by WVU Athletics)    In front of a nationally televised CBS audience, West Virginia was able to defeat the 23rd-ranked Kansas Jayhawks in Morgantown, 91-79. Miles McBride, who has become a consistent force for the Mountaineers, finished with a career-high 29 points. He would also add 8 assists and 7 rebounds.   Taz Sherman would also put in a solid shooting day for the Mountaineers, adding 25 points, including hitting 4-for-7 from behind the arc. After leading by double digits at halftime, 44-34, the Mountaineers allowed the Jayhawks to tie it up, 47-47, in the opening minutes of the second half. However, they would close the game strong, and put the game away within the final five minutes.   West Virginia will have a couple of days off before traveling to Texas Tech on Tuesday. The game tips-off at 9 p.m.

Dan Dakich Claims He Would Have Won 2 National Championships at WVU

Morgantown, West Virginia - Dan Dakich, former college basketball head coach turned analyst for ESPN, commented on Duke's Jalen Johnson opting out for the remainder of the season, saying, "In what other industry would we praise someone for walking out on their partner, teammates and co workers at the most important time of the year in their industry?" Ironically, Dakich was once the Head Coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers...for 8 days. When West Virginia fans pointed this out, Dakich replied by saying, "19 years later and ya'll are still whining.  Sorry if I hurt you but give it up it's been 19 years.  I've moved on to a great life and hope you can do the same." Dakich seemingly went on to claim that he would have won two national championships at West Virginia University if he decided to stay and called WVU a "nice lil program": "Cost ya 2 NCAA Titles...nice lil program though." When Dakich took the position in 2012, former 5 star recruit Jonathan Hargett allegedly approached his new coach and said he was owed $20,000 from West Virginia University.  Dakich took this information to West Virginia University's President at the time David Hardesty. Hardesty, according to Dakich, claimed that Hardesty said, "If you go any farther with this, we’ll destroy you.”  Dakich claimed during today's West Virginia VCU game that the WVU President "came for him, which Hardesty vehemently denies. Dakich decided to leave the team after 8 days on the job and go back to his old team, Bowling Green.  This, of course, led to the hiring of John Beilein. Dakich leaving was one of the best things that ever happened to West Virginia University sports.  Now, as an analyst and commentator for ESPN, Dakich takes every opportunity that he has to bash and take shots at West Virginia.

WVU Should Allow a Packed Student Section for Baylor Game

Morgantown, West Virginia - The West Virginia Mountaineers will play arguably their biggest, most important game of the season tomorrow night against the one-loss Baylor Bears. This game will likely be a matchup of two top five or six teams in the country, and it has far-reaching implications for the NCAA Tournament. While West Virginia University will allow 2,800 fans into the Coliseum for the game, that amount of spectators will unfortunately not have much of an impact on the game. And the Mountaineers will almost certainly need a real home-court advantage in order to beat one of the very best teams in the entire country. The NCAA COVID guidelines do not make any sense.  In fact, they're idiotic.  Why are players sitting six feet part on the sidelines, yet rubbing up against each other during games? It's all dramatization and fake. It's a big spectacle to make people feel safe. Why are college students able to pack into small classrooms (have you seen the classrooms in Woodburn Hall?), yet not be able to fill up the student section of the Coliseum? The West Virginia Mountaineers will need fan support tomorrow evening, and it doesn't make any sense why the student section can't be filled from courtside all the way to the tip-top of the Coliseum! WVU, Gordon Gee, Shane Lyons, make the right decision and open the doors for the students!  Cheering on the Mountaineers is no different or any less safe than sitting in a classroom. Make the right decision.

BREAKING: Derek Culver Makes All-Big 12 First Team

(Photo by WVU Athletics)   Moments ago, the First Team All-Big 12 roster for the season was announced, and WVU’s Derek Culver made the list.   Culver has had a tremendous junior season, becoming one of the most dominant players in the conference. He finished the regular season averaging 14.8 points per game and 9.8 rebounds.

Gabe Osabuohien Says He Isn’t Losing in the NCAA Tournament

Morgantown, West Virginia - Senior forward Gabe Osabuohien made a very bold statement about the West Virginia Mountaineers' chances in the NCAA Tournament. Osabuohien said on his personal Instagram account, "I ain't losing (a game) in the tournament." Osabuohien, who averaged 1.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game during the regular season, is one of the best defenders in the Big 12 Conference. As a senior, Osabuohien could return to the Mountaineers for one more season next year, or he could decide to leave following this season.  If he decides to leave, the next loss for the Mountaineers could be his final game. The Mountaineers, a 3 seed, open then NCAA Tournament on Friday night at 9:50PM in Indianapolis against 14 seed Morehead State.  If West Virginia wins, they will advance to play the winner of the San Diego State/Syracuse game in the 2nd round. According to Gabe Osabuohien, the Mountaineers have six games remaining this season with the final game being the National Championship!

Jordan McCabe Made the Right Decision

Morgantown, West Virginia – West Virginia fans may have forgotten but... Jordan McCabe is a virtuoso, a flashy on-court maestro with the basketball, who needs freedom to make mistakes to perform to the best of his abilities. Bob Huggins is an old-school, gritty, tough coach that doesn’t like or appreciate flashiness or dazzling playmakers.  He’d rather a player make the easy, sure pass than the no-look or behind the back one. This is where the conflict between Jordan McCabe and Bob Huggins started.  McCabe needed freedom and Bob Huggins does not want his players to have freedom to make mistakes on the court. With this said, Huggins knew what he was getting with McCabe when he recruited him out of high school four years ago.  McCabe traveled with the Harlem Globetrotters and performed halftime dribbling exhibitions.  High school footage of McCabe shows that he liked to dribble…a lot, and he liked to make fancy passes. McCabe did what he could to adjust to Huggins’ style.  He was the first player in the gym and the last to leave.  He calmed down on the showmanship on the court and ran Huggins’ offense.  However, McCabe’s lack of size, athleticism and speed made him ineffective if he was unable to use his natural ability to dribble and make difficult passes. Again, this is what the problem was with Jordan McCabe at West Virginia University.  He was a square peg in a round hole.  Either Bob Huggins needed to let Jordan McCabe be Jordan McCabe, or Jordan McCabe was never going to be the truly productive college basketball player that he is capable of being. After showing real promise in his freshman season, McCabe's production and confidence diminished.  As a junior this past season, he averaged 2.2 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 31% from the field. This is not how it was supposed to go for Jordan McCabe.  He was the leader and the future of the team at one point. At the end of McCabe’s freshman season, a severely-depleted WVU team went 2-2 to close out the season and 2-1 in the Big 12 Tournament, beating Iowa State, Oklahoma and eventual National Championship-bound Texas Tech along the way.  McCabe averaged 13.5 points, 5 assists and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 35% from three point range during the last 10 games.  This is what McCabe is capable of when given the freedom to be himself. Jordan McCabe has worked really, really hard his entire life to become an outstanding basketball player.  With no prospects of playing professionally after graduation, he has two years left of eligibility to play competitively. He had a very difficult decision.  Did he want to spend the final two years of his basketball career perpetually in Bob Huggins’ dog house while playing limited minutes behind Miles McBride, or did he want to go elsewhere to have some freedom to be the leader on the court that he knows he can be? Jordan McCabe made the right decision.  As much as we all wanted him to remain in Morgantown and as much as he wanted to be a Mountaineer for life, this unfortunately just wasn't the right fit for him.

Best Virginia Has a New Head Coach

Morgantown, West Virginia - The Final Fourcast announced moments ago that former West Virginia player and current coach at WVU Tech, James Long, has been named as the new head coach of the TBT team Best Virginia.   Long, a former member of Bob Huggins' coaching staff at West Virginia, graduated from WVU and played for the Mountaineers from 2014-2017.  Long was a member of the Academic All Big 12 Basketball First Team while he was a player. Long is now the head coach of the WVU Tech Golden Bears.  The Golden Bears finished 13-7 this past season. Congratulations, Coach Long!

Huggins Pursues Big-Time Talent

Morgantown, West Virginia - The West Virginia Mountaineers coaching staff has shown heavy interest in Tyler Nickel for years and today, they officially offered the talented forward from Elkton, Virginia. Nickel, a 6'8 forward, is a four star player according to 247 Composite and is currently the #2 ranked player in the state of Virginia and the 69th ranked prospect in the entire country in the 2022 class. Nickel finished last season with 1,464 points in his high school career, which is the most in Virginia history through a sophomore season. When asked to describe his game, Nickel said, "I’m primarily a two or a three. I create my own shot and make plays off the bounce. I can score from anywhere on the floor and go coast-to-coast off a rebound often. I also guard multiple positions comfortably." Nickel's recruitment is heating up with a list list of scholarship offers.  "My recruitment is still very much open and I’m just looking for the best fit for me", Nickel said. "I’ll start cutting my list at the end of this upcoming spring and then make a decision next fall.  My offers include Richmond, Virginia Tech, LSU, Clemson, Wake Forest, NC State, Iowa, Indiana and West Virginia.” With several players potentially leaving West Virginia after next season - including Malik Curry, Taz Sherman, Pauly Paulicap, Gabe Osabuohien, as well as Sean McNeil and Miles "Deuce" McBride if they return for the upcoming season - the Mountaineers will have several scholarships available and a young scorer like Tyler Nickel is the type of player that Bob Huggins and staff could rebuild a team around. Check out his incredible highlights below: