WVU v. Missouri: “How’s the Big 12?”



You are looking live inside Mizzou Arena on the frigid campus of the University of Missouri, which automatically makes be a better journalist, if for one night only.

Understand that here, the people don’t much like the Big 12 and it was that burgeoning discontent that ultimately pushed them out of the league and into the Southeastern Conference. As you can expect, once you’re in the SEC, you develop a certain¬†joie de vivre. Then when you find yourself playing for the SEC football title, it becomes very, well,¬†je ne sais quoi?

And so it was no surprise that when I first arrived at the arena — and I was forewarned the students section is, as you can see, right on top of the floor and that the kids can be rowdy — one lonesome student shouted, “Welcome to Missouri, West Virginia. How the Big 12?” That was promptly followed by laughter, isolated as it was 75 minutes before the game. There was later a poster board illustration of the Mountaineer mascot and some peculiar joke about the resemblance to Miley Cyrus. I’d say you had to be there, but trust me, you didn’t.

But it’s going to be difficult in here tonight. The Tigers (7-0) are pretty good and they play well at home. They’ve won 77 straight at home in non-conference play and are a Petersen Events Centeresque 141-21 since this place opened in the 2004-05 season. Missouri was 17-0 at home last season and has won 22 straight and 37 of 38.

Meanwhile, the Mountaineers (6-2) have played but once in a true road game and that didn’t go very well.

The blog is tipped, and here we are …



Mike Casazza December 5, 20138:44 pm

Huggins working refs and earning calls with 3:29 left in the game.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20138:41 pm

Mark my words: In March when it’s bubble talk time, if WVU is in the conversation — and that might be a big if — Huggins will have a line similar to “We only lost by 11 at Mizzou. Nobody ever wins there.”

Happened to the 2009 team that was getting destroyed by Louisville and scored the final 14 points to lose by nine … and it made sense to people who listened.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20138:39 pm

Staten: 12-6-4. Hard to get assists when you make 16 shots.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20138:36 pm

Tonight’s crowd: 7,292.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20138:35 pm

And in case you were wondering … head down, writing.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20138:32 pm

It looks as though they’ll break 50. WVU scored 50 in the Gonzaga game last year, the low mark of the season.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20138:29 pm

Down 25, now’s about the time you wonder about damage to collective confidence, but Staten, Henderson, Noreen and Browne aren’t guys that will give in, so that’s at least productive.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20138:21 pm

And there’s a 3. Muh bad.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20138:21 pm

Henderson is doing just enough things to keep WVU in this and … do I dare … it’s suddenly a 15-point game.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20138:15 pm

WVU has not trouble playing hard on offense and trying to score. It’s the other 47 feet that leave a little to be desired.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20138:05 pm

And WVU has three turnovers out of a timeout as Adrian throws the ball into the hand of a defender guarding Adrian and protecting against a pass into Williams.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20138:04 pm

I think Huggins wanted to see his guys run offense and fins good shots. Harris got a first-touch 3 blocked and it led to a dunk and Harris is on the bench.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20138:01 pm

…might not see Harris for a while now.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:59 pm

Noreen. Just giving away a foul for no logical reason.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:57 pm

Not a lot of mystery here. WVU is only outrebounded by five, but has as many offensive rebounds (eight) and second-chance points (11) as Missouri. WVU also has five turnovers, two fewer than Missouri.

The shooting is pretty bad — 8-29/1-11/5-11. That’ll do it.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:41 pm

And after WVU goes to work to make it a seven-point game after trailing by 14, it’s again a 14-point lead at the half.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:40 pm

Clarkson has one thing and WVU has no thing to address it.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:39 pm

I feel for Henderson. No clock, no way to tell how much time was left there. That shouldn’t happen in an arena that’s not the Civic Center.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:33 pm

Harris back with two fouls and he misses a look on a play set up for him.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:32 pm

It’s still 27-20 and as I think over my “it shouldn’t be 27-20,” I wonder if I’m right, but the other way. Between a layup and some open jumpers they normally make, the Mountaineers probably ought to be much closer.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:27 pm

Hello, Mr. Henderson. I believe that’s confidence. Haith looks a little rattled and calls a timeout. This shouldn’t be a seven-point game, but it is.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:25 pm

I feel like Gary Browne shouldn’t be the best positioned player for an offensive rebound. Often, though, he is. And WVU is 5-for-11 from the foul line.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:23 pm

Missouri’s defense is actually fun to watch. They rotate and communicate beautifully and WVU is struggling to do anything against it.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:17 pm

Remember last year where Eron Harris in the First Half was a thing? We might be seeing that again. He’s had problems in the first halves of late and against good teams.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:15 pm

Let’s revise WVU’s plan: Attack. Just dare Missouri to guard and the officials to observe. It’s getting whistles and points.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:13 pm

And to counter, WVU’s plan is to dump it inside to Williams and hope for the best. He scores once and draws a foul later, but misses two free throws. Browne rebounded the miss and was fouled, which puts WVU in the bonus at 10:41. He goes 2-for-2 to make it 18-8.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:11 pm

And they’re gonna need Henderson to at least attempt some defense. Missouri has found him and seems to be picking on him.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:07 pm

Well, it’s 16-4.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:06 pm

And they’re on the board. Staten digs out a defensive rebound, runs and hits an open Henderson for a 3 at 12:57. And after an 0-for-8 start, it’s ONLY 11-4.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:04 pm

Perhaps WVU’s biggest problem is not being able to get open, whether in live play or on inbound plays.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:03 pm

Adrian is throwing himself around out there. WVU needs a spark in the worst way right now. So it’s Watkins, Henderson, Staten, Browne and Dibo. Henderson badly missesa jumper, but Browne is fouled putting up he rebound. At 14:51, WVU finally scores on Browne’s 1-for-2 at the line. It’s 9-1!

Mike Casazza December 5, 20137:00 pm

Gonna need Henderson now.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20136:58 pm

Mizzou is now 4-9 with two and-ones and two second-chance baskets for a 9-0 lead at the 15:59 timeout. WVU has turned the ball over twice, including out of a timeout for a runout and a foul on Harris, and is shooting 0-for-5.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20136:53 pm

We’re at 17:14 and the teams are a combined 2-for-11 and Mizzou leads 5-0. Neither team has scored on a first shot.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20136:45 pm

Sign: “Lou Holtz is from West Virginia.”

Mike Casazza December 5, 20136:45 pm

I know, I know, SEC title game … Saturday.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20136:45 pm

Seriously, Mizzou players were nudging and talking to one another during the anthem and looking around the arena.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20136:40 pm

I include the Mizzou team in that. Tigers didn’t take the floor until 2:40 before the tip.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20136:38 pm

BREAKING: There’s nobody here. It’s pretty barren. Wonderful arena, though.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20136:21 pm

Some tips on the Tigers:

They get good shots and shoot 50.4 percent, but they don’t really like the 3-point line. They’re 43-for-120 (35.8 percent) as a team and only Jabari Brown (21-for-45) has made more than eight 3s.

They get to the free-throw line a lot (141 free throws, 20 more than wVU, which gets to the free-throw line a lot). They’re also plus 11.7 in rebounding margin and average 40.1.

Let’s pay attention to this: Missouri turns the ball over (79:88 assist:turnover ratio) and doesn’t really turn over the opponent. Seven games have produced 72 opponent turnovers. Missouri will press from time to time, though I wonder how much if Juwan Staten handles things. WVU has only 77 turnovers so far.

Mike Casazza December 5, 20136:16 pm

Bob Huggins, but the way, is 3-0 against Mizzou. Kansas Statebeat the Tigers twice in the 2006-07 season and then again in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

Frank Haith is 1-0 against WVU. His Miami team beat WVU Dec. 4, 2010.


Mike Casazza December 5, 20136:10 pm

One of the things I’ll remember most about my time covering WVU was the Final Four run in 2010. That was a blast. The games were exciting and tense and as much fun to write about as they were to watch, but that group of players was so easy to be around and they rather liked dealing with us.

And what stands out most is that the day before the Missouri game, after WVU was done with its media obligations, a peeved Da’Sean Butler, who’d just spent an hour talking about his buzzer beaters and WVU’s streak and also Missouri’s press, pulled me aside.

He said WVU would win. He told me the press would be no problem. He told me how the Mountaineers were going to beat it. He said they wouldn’t need 3-pointers because they’d get good shots after breaking the pressure.

A day later after, the press conference after the win began with Butler staring at me until I looked at him. “I told you,” he said.

Those were good times.


Mike Casazza December 5, 20135:54 pm

This is the third times these two teams have played, but the first time in the regular season. They split NCAA Tournament games played many years apart.


58 Responses to “WVU v. Missouri: “How’s the Big 12?””

  1. Dann White says:

    Sorry for chiming in late, but I’m glad to hear you’ve finished up that gig and are back home where the greatest immediate threat is what might happen to our Mountaineers.

    Due to the miracle of the internet though, its as if you’ve been here all along, blog-brother. Part of me is happier knowing you aren’t under the treat of Un’s guns. (no pun was intended, there’s nothing funny about those wierdos)


  2. Terri says:

    I don’t know if any of you heard or read this today. Another quarterback committed last night. His name is Skyler Howard. A JUCO from California. From what I have read he is a dual threat quarterback. A lot of people are comparing him to Russel Wilson. Hopefully he is the answer to our quarterback problem. I am sure that Holgorsen is pleased with this one.

    I love you, Doug, welcome home! Thank you for your service.

  3. Mack says:

    Regarding the quarterbacks, I guess you want to accumulate quarterbacks that you could theoretically win a bunch of games with. Let’s say that Millard and Trickett have played themselves out of anything greater than an emergency role… and let’s say Crest redshirts in 2014… then you have a spring where you now look at Childress or Skyler as possible starting quarterbacks for the fall. It gives you two chances (with two guys that are supposed to be pretty decent) to have a good quarterback in 2014. Both have little to no D-1 experience though.

    Then, in 2015, you have (FR) Crest, (JR) Childress, and (SR) Skyler as potential QBs with another freshman probably redshirting. That’s probably not a bad idea. Surely one of those guys will be good.

  4. Bobby Heenan says:

    Regarding Skyler Howard….

    It’s very hard to evaluate him based off if Internet videos available. He’s got fast, wide open WRs running go routes and posts with about 10 yards of separation it seems on each highlight.

    As Mack said, more competition can’t hurt, but I don’t know that Howard is the savior. He had one offer coming out of high school and though some BCS schools “showed interest” after his JC year, we were his oy BCS offer. This is not Nick Marshall or Cam Newton we’re dealing with.

  5. Rugger says:

    Millard lacks arm strength, is as nervous as a whore in church and has very poor ball security.
    Trickett isn’t durable and seems as sharp as whale blubber relative to picking up the offense and audibles.
    Ford is a mystery, we want to believe he can step in when healthy and be the guy but he’s never shown he can be the guy. Wishful thinking?
    Crest is a freshman who gets here this summer, he won’t help in ’14.
    I’d say Sunshine/Skyler has as good a chance as anyone if he gets his butt in here now.

  6. SheikYbuti says:

    Rugger: King of the Metaphor.

  7. glibglub says:

    ILYD, thanks for your contribution to global capitalism. So what’s the story behind that Pitt / Hyundai loyalty commercial? I always liked to think of it as a sly dig at the economic status of Pitt grads, or a commentary on their obsessive rubbing of talismans, knowing that Hyundai likely didn’t see it that way.

  8. I love you, Doug! says:

    Glib: Those ads come from Hyundai Motor America, our wholly owned U.S. subsidiary. Try as I might to lobby the inclusion of WVU into the pantheon of teams, I could not.

    Skyler Howard was always my least favorite character on “Breaking Bad.” Total harpy.