Difficult Assignment

By for WVUsports.com
January 09, 2009 01:31 PM

Posted by Tony Caridi on Friday, January 9, 2009
(1:32 pm)

I’m looking forward to our trip to Milwaukee for Saturday’s game at Marquette. The Mountaineers will see Joe Alexander and the Bucks in action along with eating at Joe’s favorite Milwaukee restaurant.

West Virginia’s last two visits to the Bradley Center were not pleasant. The Mountaineers were rolled 81-63 in their last trip in 2007, and got absolutely crushed, 75-50, in their first-ever visit in 1994. The common theme shared in both games (separated by 13 years) is that they both started at 11 am Milwaukee time which just happens to be tomorrow’s tip time.

However, let’s keep in mind that WVU has defeated Marquette in three of the last four meetings, including last season’s 79-64 triumph in Morgantown. WVU’s defense held Marquette to 41 percent shooting from the field.

Unlike Connecticut, Marquette does not have a huge size advantage over the Mountaineers. In fact, WVU matches up quite well in the paint. The Golden Eagles are one of four teams in the country with three players who have scored more than 1,000 career points. The only team in the country with four active 1,000-point scorers is North Carolina.

Senior point guard Dominic James, who seems like he’s been there since Al McGuire, is 11 games shy of setting the school record for most career games at 128. James, ninth all-time in scoring, was held to 10 points against the Mountaineers last season on 4-of-12 shooting from the field.

Senior Wesley Matthews leads the team in scoring. He was, shall we say, hot, against Rutgers on Wednesday. Matthews set a school record by making all 10 of his field goal attempts on his way to a 23-point night against the Scarlet Knights.

First-year coach Buzz Williams is a young guy at 36, but he’s made an extremely smooth transition into the head coaching job vacated by Tom Crean. Williams has Marquette out to a 3-0 start in Big East play, which includes home wins over Villanova and a 34 point slap job of Cincinnati. It’s a tough challenge for the Mountaineers, but that’s all right, the Mountaineers are tough and eager to play again after Tuesday’s game against the Huskies.

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