The men’s basketball teams at WVU and Marshall have played ranked opponents on the same day just five times. We’ll need another hand Saturday when the 4-4 Mountaineers take on No. 3 Michigan in the Barclays Center and Marshall (6-4) plays No. 11 (!) Cincinnati at the Civic Center (also !).
Something else that might not be so familiar? John Beilein’s Michigan team. Oh, he says these Wolverines are much like those Mountaineers and that he often slips and calls present players by the names of past players, or that he schools Trey Burke on Darris Nichols, but Beilein was always as slick with the recon as he was with a backdoor pass.
When the Winter Festival arrives, be prepared to feast your eyes on a different style of Beilein’s brand of basketball.
“I’d say the biggest change is the type of player that he is recruiting, in the sense they still have the same skill set and they can still pass and shoot, but he has bigger guys and more of a low-post presence,” the younger Beilein said. “Our West Virginia teams, the (center) could really shoot it with Pittsnogle and (Jamie) Smalligan. Now he has more (centers) who play on the block and go offensive rebound.
“He’s adapted to the style of the Big 10 and he needed to do that. I think West Virginia fans will be shocked to see how big his team is, especially the wing and center positions, and how long and athletic they are, but with the same skill set.”
That’ll do for today. Off to Brooklyn. Can’t wait to see how this jaunt goes for me …