The Morning After

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  • February 27, 2009 02:40 PM
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Posted by Tony Caridi on Friday, February 27, 2009-02-27
(2:37 pm)
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On the morning after an emotionally deflating loss to Cincinnati, the Mountaineers came across town to practice on the home court of the team that ended their season last March: the Xavier Musketeers.

The Mountaineers concentrated on shooting during today’s workout. It was their inability to hit open shots that spelled defeat last night. West Virginia’s 33 percent shooting was its third-lowest performance of the season.

On Sunday, the Mountaineers will meet a South Florida squad which will limp into the game with an 8-19 overall record. The Bulls are 3-12 in Big East play but threw a scare in WVU last month before falling 62-59.

Don’t be surprised to see USF play a triangle-and-two combination defense against the Mountaineers. The Bulls’ had success with that scheme in last month’s game. USF is expected to play man-to-man defense against Alex Ruoff and Da'Sean Butler while using a zone against the three other Mountaineers.

Last night’s loss drops West Virginia into a tie for seventh place, but with tiebreakers the Mountaineers would finish ninth if the season ended today. Finishing ninth would force the Mountaineers to play on the opening day of the Big East tournament - something they badly want to avoid.

Former Cincinnati guard Nick Van Exel attended the Mountaineers morning practice at Xavier. Van Exel, who led Cincinnati to the Final Four under Huggins, played 13 seasons in the NBA. Van Exel attended Thursday’s game along with several former Bearcats.