(Photo courtesy of West Virginia Athletics)
Morgantown, West Virginia – Watching the Mountaineers this season, it’s very apparent that the only team that can beat West Virginia is West Virginia.
There’s simply no team in the country that can match their size, strength and depth. The only way that the Mountaineers are going to lose this season is if they beat themselves with poor shooting and/or execution.
When West Virginia is executing their offense correctly and making shots, they’re impossible to keep up with. Their incredible defense and toughness is overwhelming to opponents, and it truly is going to come down to whether the Mountaineers can make shots consistently or not. If the Mountaineers can shoot a high percentage – 50% of above – how can anyone beat them?
The only obvious issue early in the season is West Virginia’s proclivity to play to their competition. It doesn’t make sense that the Mountaineers can outplay the clear best team in the country, Gonzaga, for most of game, and a really, really good Richmond team, but then struggle to defeat North Texas or Georgetown.
Really good teams play really good basketball regardless of who they’re playing. West Virginia hasn’t shown that killer instinct where they step on a bad team’s throat and execute them yet.
With that said, there are so many bright spots for the Mountaineers right now. Miles McBride is absolutely phenomenal in all areas of the game. He’s an ideal leader for a team that wants to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. He’s a winner, he doesn’t make many mistakes, he’s an outstanding defender and he’s consistent.
West Virginia’s entire roster – top to bottom – is exciting. While some players have not played up to their potential (see: Oscar Tshiebwe, Sean McNeil, freshmen Isaiah Cottrell and Jalen Bridges), it’s clear that this team is a cohesive unit of really talented players that want to win a national championship this season.
The only team that can stop West Virginia is West Virginia.