Friday, September 29, 2023

Women’s Basketball Coach Seems to Be Leaving WVU

According to several reports, WVU’s Women’s Basketball Coach Dawn Pluitzuweit has emerged as a top candidate for the vacant head coaching gig with Minnesota’s women’s basketball team.   The news was first reported by Minnesota Jr. All-Star Girls Basketball. Plitzuweit has been in Morgantown for one season, finishing 19-12 overall with a 10-8 conference record. The Lady Mountaineers lost earlier today in the Round of 64 in the NCAA Women’s Tournament. Stay tuned to The Voice of Motown for updates on the situation.

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!

Legendary Head Coach Dies

Morgantown, West Virginia - Moments ago, it was announced that legendary former head coach of the Temple Owls, John Chaney, had passed away at the age of 89. Chaney is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and had many tremendous battles with the West Virginia Mountaineers in the 1980s and 90s when both teams were in the Atlantic Ten Conference. Chaney, who finished his career with a remarkable 741-312 record, was the AP National Coach of the Year in 1988. Rest In Peace, Coach Chaney.  

West Virginia WILL Win the Big 12 Tournament Championship

To begin, let's really let it soak in and appreciate the fact that the West Virginia Mountaineers went from 15-21 overall and 4-14 in the Big 12 Conference last season to 21-10 overall and 9-9 in Big 12 play this year.  That's a major turnaround and Bob Huggins and staff should be commended for going out and getting the players they needed and for fixing what needed to be fixed.  Outstanding work. The Mountaineers are now right where they need to be to make major noise in the Big 12 Tournament.  Although West Virginia is the 6th seed in the tournament, their path to the championship actually shapes up quite nicely. West Virginia opens up against the 3rd seed Oklahoma Sooners on Thursday night.  The Sooners swept the Mountaineers this season, winning in Norman 69-59 back in early February and then at home against a then-struggling West Virginia team in Morgantown 73-62 on February 29th.  With this said, it's really, really difficult to beat a team three times in a row in college basketball and West Virginia is frankly a more talented, deeper team than Oklahoma and will likely be favored.  This is a far different West Virginia than it was only a few short weeks ago and the Mountaineers will should roll the Sooners on a neutral court. If/when the Mountaineers get by Oklahoma, they will play the winner of the TCU/Kansas State versus Baylor game on Friday night at 8:00.  TCU and Kansas State have both played well at times down the stretch and are certainly capable of upsetting a Baylor team that has looked very beatable lately.  If Baylor advances, West Virginia proved this weekend that they can beat them and the Mountaineers will likely move on to the Big 12 Championship, regardless of their opponent. On the other end of the Big 12 draw, Kansas, Texas and Texas Tech are all capable of making it to the championship round.  Kansas has been the most impressive team in the country all season long, but Texas is one of the hottest team in the Big 12, winning five of their last six games.  Texas Tech, on the other hand, has lost four games in the row.  Expect a Texas versus Kansas matchup for a trip to the championship round. Whether the Mountaineers play Texas, Kansas or any other team in the Big 12 Championship, they are peaking at just the right time and are capable of beating any team anywhere right now.  With a win, three consecutive wins and a Big 12 Championship will bring West Virginia to a 3 or 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament and in perfect position to do some real damage where it really matters. Although the Mountaineers struggled in February, winning in March is what matters and Bob Huggins has his team primed and ready for a real run when it really counts.

Brad Howe Makes Compelling Case for John Beilein as the Next Head Coach at...

Brad Howe, the co-host of the Citynet Statewide Sportsline, made a very compelling case for the return of John Beilein as the next head coach at West Virginia University.  MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Multiple names have been batted around as potential replacements for Bob Huggins as the next head coach at West Virginia University, but one name that continues to gain heat is former Mountaineers' head coach, John Beilein. Brad Howe, the co-host of Sportsline and former WVU Assistant Athletic Director, made a very compelling case for Beilein to return to West Virginia on today's show. Here's what Howe had to say: "How many coaches out there can you say are a better coach than John Beilein? Five? Less than five. I'll just say five. Proven successful head coach, fits the school...if you have a John Beilein, who is the same age as a Bob Huggins and on a one or two year situation, can you fund raise around that? You've got some talent amassed already that are waiting to see what happens. You have the talent and you bring in an elite X and O guy. What Beilein didn't have when he was here before was his NBA experience (Beilein now works for the Detroit Pistons as a Senior Player Development Advisor) and he not only has credibility for what he's done and accomplished, he can also explain to West Virginia's current players what to do to get to the NBA. I can't find a box that he doesn't check." See the full video below from MetroNews:  

Bring Back Press Virginia

Morgantown, West Virginia - The West Virginia Mountaineers, 9-3 overall and 2-2 in the Big 12 Conference, are ranked #14 in the Associated Press Poll heading into two huge back-to-back games against #4 Texas at home and #2 Baylor on the road. With the loss of Isaiah Cottrell to a Achilles' heel injury for the season and the departure of Oscar Tshiebwe to the transfer portal, the Mountaineers are no longer the dominant interior team that they were to start the season.  With that said, West Virginia needs a new identity to continue to grow and to achieve what they want to achieve. When West Virginia entered the Big 12 in 2013, the team struggled to compete in the new league.  In the first season in the Big 12, the Mountaineers finished 13-19 and 6-13 in the conference.  In 2014, West Virginia went 17-16 and 9-9. Head Coach Bob Huggins knew that changes would have to be made for the Mountaineers to get his team over the hump and this is how "Press Virginia" was born.  Huggins was flexible and adapted a full-court press on virtually every possession.  Opposing teams were confused and couldn't handle the pressure for the entire game. Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles were only Freshmen, but their toughness and competitiveness was already shining through.  The team also featured Seniors Juwan Staten and Gary Browne, Juniors Jonathan Holton and Jaysean Paige, and Sophomores Tarik Phillip, Devin Williams and Nathan Adrian.  In other words, the Mountaineers were loaded.   The "Press Virginia" era featured seasons where the Mountaineers finished 25-10, 26-9, 28-9, 26-11 with four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.  While the current West Virginia team may not have the depth that the Press Virginia teams had, they are still very deep and have the athleticism to run the press full time. Emmitt Matthews has the length and size to be a disruptive force at the head of the press in the Jonathan Holton/Nathan Adrian role, Miles McBride is a comparable defender to Jevon Carter in his Freshman season, and this year's team is athletic and has depth at every position.  Gabe Osabuohien and Kedrian Johnson were made for Press Virginia! Not only will the press wear out and confuse opponents, it will also lead to turnovers, which will inevitably lead to easy baskets on the other end.  While the "Press Virginia" teams of the past struggled to shoot from the perimeter in the same way that this year's team has, they scored many points off of turnovers and were able to stay with teams simply by creating chaos defensively. The new version of the West Virginia Mountaineers need an identity and the perfect identity for them is to look to the past successes and become "Press Virginia" once again.  In order to have a deep run in March, the Mountaineers need to be different, to have something that will catch opposing teams off guard and be difficult to prepare for, and Press Virginia is exactly that. Bring Press Virginia back now!

West Virginia Should be Ranked…Highly

According to the RPI (Rating Percentage Index), the West Virginia Mountaineers are the best college basketball team in the country.  According to the AP and coaches, they are not among the Top 25 teams. The RPI is a quantity used to rank sports teams based upon a team's wins and losses and its strength of schedule.  Prior to West Virginia's win over a very good Rhode Island team, West Virginia's strength of schedule was the 4th toughest in the nation and they remain undefeated. The teams with a better strength of schedule than the Mountaineers (Kansas, Northern Arizona and New Orleans) all have losses. Why the RPI - clearly the most accurate and fair method of ranking teams - is no longer used is beyond me. If the Associated Press and coaches aren't using the RPI to base their decisions around, what exactly are they using to determine the rankings?  Clearly they aren't watching every game and obviously many of the voters don't have close, intimate knowledge of each team.  Voting seems much less technical than the RPI, and what amounts to a guessing game should not be what's relied on. The whole system of ranking teams is asinine.  Preseason rankings are particularly ridiculous and should be done away with.  Teams with unimpressive starts to the season are more highly ranked than the Mountaineers based entirely on the random, biased, uninformed judgments of the voters. The beauty of West Virginia not being ranking is that it's essentially meaningless, particularly at this time of the year.  With that said, the Mountaineers deserve to be not only be ranked in the Top 25 when the rankings are released tomorrow afternoon, they should be ranked highly.  The West Virginia Mountaineers, coming off a disappointing 15-21 season, is the most impressive team in the country to start the 2019-2020 season.


Morgantown, WV - It was a tough way to end the regular season and Big 12 tournament, but West Virginia's overall body of work is the primary reason why these Mountaineers find themselves with a #3 seed and promising path in the NCAA tournament. Much of that 'body of work' can be summarized in the widely respected KenPom ratings. We will take a quick look at those as well as how we stack up with Morehead St. in few more of these interesting stats. First, you have to understand the statistics; both the adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency ratings are based on points scored or points allowed in 100 possessions against an average D1 team. WVU comes in the tournament ranked VERY strong in adjusted offensive efficiency at #11 out of 357 D1 College Basketball teams.  For comparison, Morehead St. ranks #214 in the offensive rankings. There's a reason West Virginia didn't drop out of the Top 15 all season... And it wasn't because of our defense...Contrary to recent years this isn't a classic Huggs defensive team, coming in at #65 out of 357 in adjusted defensive efficiency. Morehead St. ranks #96 in the adjusted defensive rankings, which is more of a testament to how bad we've been defensively down the stretch than it is Morehead St. being an above average defensive team. Remember, they aren't seeing the offensive juggernauts these Mountaineers play against every night. This goes to show two things: 1. The level of competition they've played (winning 19 of their last 20) certainly isn't the Big 12 caliber we are used to... actually not even close! 2. These Mountaineers SHOULD be FAR superior. A couple other interesting comparisons include (out of 357 teams): Strength of Schedule: WVU - 19th in D1 Morehead St. - 217th in D1 'Quadrant 1 wins' WVU - 7 Morehead St - 0 We will end with a good one... From 2014 through 2016 there were 5 upset wins in the 3 vs. 14 matchup. Since then? None.... Needless to say the Mountaineers are better in almost every category. But as we all know, nothing is promised in March.

Jevon Carter Narrates WVU Basketball Hype Video

Morgantown, West Virginia - Newly-signed Phoenix Suns guard Jevon Carter was back home in Morgantown last week practicing and visiting with the team, and it appears that he also took time out to film a hype video for the Mountaineers that will certainly get any West Virginia fired up and ready for the upcoming season. In the video posted on the WVU Men's Basketball Social media accounts, Carter says, "I have to tell you about the past 8 months.  You know it, you've lived it and you've felt it.  But what you don't know, you don't know the work we've put in.  When time stood still, we kept moving.  When life came to a stop, we kept working.  We put in time so that if, so that when life resumes, we will be ready.  Ready to prove, ready to perform, ready to play. Because while things may be different, it's still the same game." Carter ended by saying, "Now is the time to play." The Mountaineers open up the season tomorrow at against South Dakota State in the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic.  This game will be the culmination of 8 months of hard work.  Let's Go Mountaineers!

Inside the Mind of Derek Culver

Morgantown, West Virginia - Last week, Derek Culver was focused solely on his professional career.  He was ready to leave West Virginia University and pursue a career in the NBA, the G League or a professional career overseas. Now, Culver is 50/50 on whether he'll return to play one more season for the Mountaineers or pursue other options. Culver has spent the last two weeks in Los Angeles, California and although the details are sketchy, he has certainly been working out and training with hopes of becoming a professional basketball player and making money immediately. However, reality could be setting in for Derek Culver.  He he is not going to be drafted in the 2021 NBA Draft.  He was promised certain things by certain people that clearly weren't exactly true, and Culver is now torn. Leaving West Virginia now looks bleak.  He could impress NBA scouts and executives in workouts and earn a spot in the G League, but the average salary in the G League is $7,500 a month, or approximately $35,000 a year. Playing overseas isn't much better right now.  With teams unable to allow fans in attendance for an entire year, owners have lost a tremendous amount of money and the average salary for overseas professional basketball players are $30,000-60,000 a year. Although Culver is ready to move on and would like to make money playing professionally right now, staying at West Virginia for another year and getting his degree is almost certainly his best option for his future right now. Having said that, Culver is riding high after last season, earning a spot on the Big 12 Conference first team, averaging 14.9 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, and he could potentially hurt his chances of playing professionally if he injures himself in college, or is unable to recreate or better his output from last season. Culver has inquired about returning to West Virginia University for one more season and has continued to do his school work this semester.  Right now, he is 50/50 on returning and is still entirely undecided on what to do.  The deadline to declare for the NBA Draft is May 30th at midnight, so he still has time to figure this all out. Although Bob Huggins has been actively recruiting interior players to replace him, he would certainly welcome back Derek Culver back for one more season.

James Okonkwo Commits to Blue Blood ACC Program

Last week, West Virginia forward James Okonkwo entered the transfer portal. Today, he committed to play for a blue blood school in the ACC.   MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- After entering the transfer portal last week, West Virginia forward James Okonkwo decided today to continue his career playing for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Okonkwo, a 6'9 forward from England, averaged 2.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game in his first season with the Mountaineers last year. Okonkwo also received interest from Texas A&M, Seton Hall, UCONN, LSU, Nebraska, VCU, Ohio, Mexico State, Saint Louis and Mississippi State, among others. With the loss of Okonkwo and the loss of Mohamed Wague, who committed to Alabama yesterday, West Virginia is going to have to find replacements in its now very thin front court.

WVU holds spot in latest tournament forecast

West Virginia remains a 3 seed in the latest Bracketology projection after the Mountaineers 1-1 start in conference play. ESPN's Joe Lunardi has WVU as a 3 seed in the East Region in his latest Bracketology forecast, the same spot as before WVU started Big 12 play. However, in this projection, Lunardi has the Mountaineers traveling farther from home as he had WVU facing 14 seed Stonybrook in the Greensboro, N.C. pod. Lunardi has Memphis (6) and LSU (11) in the bracket with WVU The Mountaineers dropped a spot in CBS forecast, which was released before WVU's 55-41 win at Oklahoma State Monday night. CBS Jerry Palm has WVU as the No. 2 seed in the East Region. Palm has WVU opening against 15 seed Radford   CBS had WVU as a No. 1 see before the Mountaineers loss at Kansas on Saturday.

Mountaineers Season Ends in Disappointment

Indianapolis, Indiana - The West Virginia Mountaineers struggled with Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone defense for most of the game, falling to the Syracuse Orange, 75-72. The Mountaineers were led by a sensational performance from Sean McNeil, who finished with 23 points.  Miles McBride had a solid overall performance, scoring 11 points with 6 assist and 4 rebounds, but ultimately, the team dug itself into too big of a hole to recover from. This is obviously an extremely disappointing end to the Mountaineers' season, but with most of their players returning, the future is very bright next season in Morgantown.

Oscar Tshiebwe is the Runaway Favorite to Win the National Player of the Year

Morgantown, West Virginia - Last season, Oscar Tshiebwe looked like a shell of his former self. He was overweight, out of shape and he lacked the defensive and rebounding intensity that he had in his freshman season with the Mountaineers. In ten games with West Virginia last season, Tshiebwe averaged a mere 8.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Since transferring to Kentucky, Tshiebwe has been a totally different player and has separated himself from the rest of the top players in the country for the national player of the year award. Tshiebwe, who averages 16.9 points and 15.3 rebounds per game through 29 games played for the Wildcats this season, leads the NCAA in total rebounds, rebounds per game, offensive & defensive rebound percentage, and is second in double-doubles. He is also shooting 59.7% from the field and is averaging a career-high 1.5 steals per game. In addition, he is putting up truly historic rebounding statistics for Kentucky this season. With 445 total rebounds on the season, he is currently 4th all-time in rebounds in a season and he still has two regular season games remaining. Tshiebwe is the perfect candidate for the national player of the year due to his spectacular statistics, the impact he's made on his team this season and his team's success. Kentucky is currently 23-6 overall and 12-4 in the SEC. Last season, the Wildcats were 9-16 overall and 8-9 in conference play. In addition, Tshiebwe is now cracking NBA Mock Draft lists. In ESPN's latest mock draft, Tshiebwe is projected to go 43rd to the Charlotte Hornets: "While undersized for a center at 6-foot-8 without shoes, Tshiebwe’s exceptional wingspan (7-foot-4) and chiseled frame allows him to play much bigger than his height. While unconventional, and perhaps not as modern a big man as NBA teams tend to prefer recently, Tshiebwe has done a great job of changing the narrative around his pro prospects by sheer will, productivity, and most importantly, impacting winning." Although West Virginia fans are disappointed in the way that Tshiebwe left the program last season, it's hard to argue with the decision he's made now. He's gone from a player in major decline last season to the best player in all of college basketball and a sure-fire NBA draft prospect in one year.

The Most Feared Team in the Nation

Morgantown, West Virginia - West Virginia may have lost to the #1 ranked team in the nation, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, but no team is more feared in college basketball than the Mountaineers right now. Losing to Gonzaga was the best thing that could have ever happened to the Mountaineers. Had they beaten the clear best team in college basketball, they would have inevitably suffered from swelled heads and would have thought they knew everything already.  This, of course, would have led to players feeling like they had nothing more to prove. A close loss in this game was exactly what West Virginia needed.  The Mountaineers now have something to look forward to, to work towards and they now know that if they work hard and listen to their legendary head coach, they can beat anyone.  They now have a hunger to get back to face the best team in the nation again, and when they do, they know that they can beat them. Not only does West Virginia have the size, skill and depth that makes them a tough opponent, they also play a physical style of basketball that no team wants to match up with. Gonzaga Head Coach Mark Few told Bob Huggins the following after their matchup in Indianapolis: "That's the toughest team we'll play all year." And they are.  West Virginia's incredible depth and talent - combined with their hunger to get revenge on the team standing in their way of a national championship - makes them deadly.   Any coach or player around the country watching West Virginia's game against Gonzaga saw who the better team was.  The West Virginia Mountaineers are the most physical, strongest, toughest, best-rebounding in the nation, and no one wants to play them. Bob Huggins has truly put together the most feared team in all of college basketball.