Campus Connection

  • By John Antonik
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  • November 11, 2010 02:32 PM
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Men’s basketball is planning an evening for the ladies on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010 at the WVU Coliseum. Basketball’s Director of Operations Jerrod Calhoun came up with the idea while on a trip to Kentucky with coach Bob Huggins to work a clinic for John Calipari.

“Their GA played for me at Walsh and he was telling me what they did,” said Calhoun. “I said, ‘Huggs let’s do it.’”

Calhoun said this event is going to be more of an informational gathering than an actual clinic, with demonstrations and question-and-answer sessions part of the three-hour presentation.

“It’s going to be from 6 to 9 and we’re going to have an NCAA official come in and give a general explanation of the rules,” said Calhoun. “Then we will have Huggs talk about our offense – passing the ball and show them how our guys are supposed to cut to the basket.”

There will be stations set up around the Coliseum and Calhoun said they have different plans to accommodate groups of all sizes.

“We might take them into the film room and show them how we prepare for an opponent,” he said. “The objective is when they come to future games with their family they know what to look for and what we’re doing out there.”

There will be a tour of West Virginia’s facilities, a catered meal, and each participant will receive a t-shirt and have a photo opportunity with Bob Huggins.

Those interested in attending can get more information by calling the Mountaineer basketball office at (304) 293-5482. The deadline for registering is Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010.

Thursday Tidbits …

- Here are some expanded numbers to illustrate just how well West Virginia’s defense has played so far this year. The Mountaineers have yet to give up a rushing touchdown at Milan Puskar Stadium (both rushing TDs have come on the road at LSU and at Connecticut).

Each quarter as defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel gets a better idea of how offenses are going to attack him, the opposing team’s average per rush has declined from 4.13 yards per carry in the first quarter, to 2.84 in the second quarter, to 2.79 in the third quarter, to finally, 2.27 yards per carry in the fourth quarter.

And, in the middle of the field when the playbook is wide open, Casteel’s Crew is limiting teams to just 1.85 yards per rush and a 47.8-percent completion percentage with four interceptions during offensive plays between the 40s.

One other impressive defensive stat: Teams are completing only 52.1 percent of their third-down pass attempts against the Mountaineers (37 of 71 for 316 yards). Casteel said one of their objectives was getting off the field on third down and through eight games West Virginia has been able to do that.

- For those of you that may be curious, Nebraska this week leads the country in plays from scrimmage of more than 50 yards with 13. San Diego State is right behind the Cornhuskers with 12. Oregon’s high-powered offense is ranked sixth this week with 10 plays of more than 50 yards. Here is the breakdown of the top Big East teams with plays of 50 yards or more from scrimmage:

Cincinnati, 8
Pitt, 6
Connecticut, 5
South Florida, 5
Louisville, 4
Rutgers, 3
West Virginia, 2
Syracuse, 1

- Parking coordinator Joyce Bucklew asked me to remind those planning to park their RVs at the WVU Coliseum that they must wait until after midnight on Friday night to enter the Coliseum lot following the conclusion of the men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader.

The Mountaineer women open their regular season at 7 p.m. against Loyola, Maryland while the men will take on Oakland at approximately 9 p.m. Both games will be televised nationally on ESPN3.com.

- Earlier this morning, it was announced that advance ticket sales for Friday night’s Oakland game has been halted. According to Sports Marketing Director Matt Wells, men’s basketball established another record for season ticket sales this year by topping 7,800. It is the sixth consecutive year men’s basketball has achieved a record number of season ticket purchases.

- Sports Information Director Bryan Messerly tells me five NBA scouts will be in attendance for Friday’s West Virginia-Oakland game to get a look at the Golden Grizzlies’ senior center Keith Benson. Last year, Benson averaged 17.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game to earn Summit League MVP honors. Against Pitt in the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament Benson scored 28 points and grabbed nine boards against the Panthers.

- Bob Huggins’ five-player early signing class was rated 24th in the country by ESPN’s recruiting insider. Seven Big East schools are ranked in the Top 25, including No. 5 Louisville. The others are No. 7 St. John’s, No. 9 Syracuse, No. 11 Rutgers, No. 21 Georgetown and No. 22 Villanova.

St. John’s and Rutgers are both signing huge recruiting classes this year, the Red Storm have inked five players so far and have 10 scholarships while Rutgers has commitments from seven different players.

- Women’s coach Mike Carey landed two players listed among ESPNU’s girls basketball top 100 in point guard Linda Stepney and forward Averee Fields. Stepney from Lake Taylor High School in Norfolk, Va., is the nation’s No. 68-rated player while Fields, a 6-foot forward from Hazell, Ky., is the nation’s No. 80-rated player.

- The Mountaineer women’s soccer team is back in the top 10 for the first time since September, 2009. This week, Soccer America has West Virginia seventh in its top 25 poll. West Virginia reached sixth in the coaches’ poll during the 2006 season.

WVU has the nation’s fourth-longest winning streak at 12 games (a school record) and will face Morehead State Friday night at Dick Dlesk Stadium at 6 p.m. It is the fifth time Morgantown has been the host site for an NCAA tournament women’s soccer event and this year marks the fourth time the Mountaineers have been seeded entering the tournament.

Coach Nikki Izzo-Brown is making her 11th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.

Penn State and Penn will play the first game at 3:30 p.m. with the winner facing the WVU-Morehead State winner at 1 p.m. on Sunday. All three matches will be video streamed for free.

- The WVU men’s soccer team will have a pretty strong case to make when NCAA tournament at-large bids are awarded next Monday:

No. 27 in this week’s RPI
Seven wins against the RPI Top 100
Thirteen of West Virginia’s 19 matches against RPI Top 63
Five wins against RPI Top 63
Only two teams (Notre Dame and Wake Forest) have played more RPI Top 75 teams than West Virginia
The overall record of West Virginia’s 19 opponents this season is 170-114-58 as of Nov. 8

Hopefully that will be enough to get the 10-7-2 Mountaineers into the Big Dance.

- The volleyball team will be rooting for Villanova to win its pair of matches this weekend against Georgetown and USF. The Wildcats, at 21-6, are still playing for an NCAA tournament at-large bid and have already wrapped up one of the eight spots in the Big East tournament.

West Virginia, meanwhile, is currently 12th in the conference standings but can jump up into the top eight by winning its two remaining regular season matches against St. John’s and UConn and having Syracuse lose its final two matches against conference leaders Louisville and Cincinnati. If West Virginia finishes tied with South Florida, the Mountaineers will go to the tournament because they beat the Bulls earlier this year in Morgantown.

“If the teams that should win do win then we can get in,” said West Virginia’s first-year coach Jill Kramer.

- I ran into former WVU football player Rico Tyler a few weeks ago during homecoming weekend. He is now Associate Vice President for student affairs at DePaul University.

It’s always nice seeing former Mountaineers doing well.

Happy Veterans Day everyone!