West Virginia Finally Lived Up To The Hype

(Photo courtesy of WVU Sports)

Morgantown, West Virginia – Through the first six games of the season, West Virginia was ranked #11 in the Associated Press Poll and #10 in the Coaches Poll, but they neither played like it or looked like it prior to today’s game against Richmond.

Today, the Mountaineers looked like not only a top ten team, they looked like one of the very best teams in the country.  We finally saw the lights-out shooting that Bob Huggins promised in the offseason, and when the Mountaineers are making shots like they did today, they might just be unbeatable.

West Virginia’s first half against Richmond was an absolute thing of beauty – the Mountaineers played terrific defense, made shots at a high percentage, rebounded well, didn’t settle for bad perimeter shots and took the ball to the basket.

In other words, we saw the Mountaineers’ potential and what they were capable of if everything comes together for the team.  Perhaps the lack of preseason was the reason for the “slow start.”  It’s difficult to call it a slow start when the Mountaineers were 5-1 and a top ten ranked team in the nation, but it was clear that they were capable of so much more.

Sean McNeil finally got hot and hit open shots, Oscar Tshiebwe looked like Oscar Tshiebwe, Miles McBride was his typical amazing self, Taz Sherman provided a scoring punch off the bench, Jalen Bridges and Isaiah Cottrell played with a level of looseness not seen in previous games, and even Jordan McCabe started to look like he belonged.

Richmond is a very, very good team, and West Virginia absolutely stomped them.  It wasn’t even close.  When the Mountaineers played like they did today, no one in the country can stop them.

When the Associated Press comes out tomorrow afternoon, the Mountaineers will likely be ranked in the #6 – #8 range, but there’s only one team in college basketball that has been more impressive than them so far, and that’s the team they lost to – Gonzaga.