Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

WVU v. N.C. State: Say, who will run this town?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

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You are looking live at The Mecca where tonight West Virginia and North Carolina State do battle in the storied Gotham Classic. We’ve gotten this far and haven’t mentioned a certain somebody who now resides in Raleigh, N.C. We’ll keep eyes peeled for him and for his dad. Junior isn’t allowed to travel with the team because of NCAA rules, but perhaps he’s here on his own dime to cheer on his new teammates and rendezvous with his old friends.

Or not.

(If you’re wondering about the other transfer, Michigan State leads the nation in 3-point shooting without him. And N.C. State’s bringing back two very good guards [Barber and Lacey] next season. Good luck, gentlemen!)

This is the first leg of a tricky Saturday-Monday for West Virginia. The afflicted shooters take aim in the fifth different gym in 10 games, and the Wolfpack have big guards and big bigs (BeeJay Anya’s roster note is “ACC leader in blocked shots; lost 60 pounds during this offseason” and of course lists him at 6-9, 295). The Mountaineers travel home tonight and will begin watching film on the plane for Monday’s opponent: Wofford.

The Terriers no longer have Darris Nichols, but the Mountaineers have the Terriers, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Wofford won the Big South last season and danced, and just about every player is back this season. The Terriers are No. 37 in the RPI (N.C. State is 46), so they’ll help WVU’s SOS and possibly the RPI, but only if the Mountaineers win.

And don’t take that for granted. Wofford won at N.C. State. Like so:

I’m open.

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WVU back in Madison Square _arden

Friday, December 19, 2014

I’m out the door here soon to trek to Manhattan for tomorrow night’s Gotham Classic doubleheader. WVU v. North Carolina State follows Richmond v. Pepperdine, so figure we’ll tip a bit after 9:30 p.m. on ESPN2. This is WVU’s first game at Madison Square Garden since a bad loss to UConn in the 2012 Big East Tournament, but this is the first of a few maneuvers for the Mountaineers to firm up their footing in the metropolitan New York City area.

The team traveled yesterday and will have all of today and tomorrow to see the sights, but they won’t have one prominent member of their traveling party.

“I’ll drop them off and say, ‘Be back by this time,’ ” he said. “I’m not going to walk around with them. You try and tell them, ‘Don’t buy any watches,’ and the first thing they do is run and buy watches. That’s part of the experience and guys talk about it when they’re 50 years old. They say, ‘I thought I was buying Gucci, but when I looked at it, it said “ucci” and there was no “G,” but it was only $30.’

“Yeah, but if you walked around the corner, it was only $15.”

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Dana Holgorsen: Bowl prep

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The opening statement is terrific, and I don’t think he was being wry.

WVU confirms Dawson exit

Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Feet back on the ground

Thursday, December 18, 2014

So yesterday happened, and the E! True Hollywood Story about why and how I got pulled out of vacation to report the Oliver Luck exit and the Shannon Dawson departure — oh, that also went down last night, right about the time I finally sat down to eat … breakfast — is an all-timer that I’m certain you won’t believe. That said, I’m happy it happened — not that way, of course, but overall. I was really worried I’d have to come back and write about this verbal sparring between Bob Huggins and  Dan D’Antoni.

(Huggins nuked the Capital Classic on his radio show Monday night in response to some odd words from Marshall’s first-year coach, namely that he believes the series format should change to something very obtuse and that if WVU backs out of the series now, the school is scared. He then said Marshall was on the way back, which Huggins took to mean was back, which he found to be amusing.)

I wrote this last season and it wasn’t popular: WVU would be happy if the series went away. Getting the Classic out of the middle of conference play was Part I. With the Marshall game now coming in December, WVU can schedule its one non-conference opponent during conference play and use that game to get on TV (which didn’t happen this season because this schedule … never mind). Marshall just isn’t getting WVU televised. At minimum, WVU would prefer another RPI-boosting home game it’s made an art of scheduling in the past.

The Classic outside the legislative session draws thinner crowds, and that’s one more bullet for WVU to fire at the game’s legitimacy, especially when so much of the revenue is based on the gate. This back-and-forth now is just another reason for WVU to do away with it, and Huggins explained his reasoning quite succinctly.

But turn down the volume and understand this: WVU doesn’t have to play this game. Literally doesn’t have to. I’m not talking about some righteous stance. I’m talking about a contractual obligation.

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And vacation ends abruptly

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I’ve always loved that picture. It’s quintessential Oliver Luck. It has a little bit of everything that comprises West Virginia’s athletic director. Philanthropy, soccer, availability, competition, determination and probably even success. I’ve no doubt he was doing step-overs and Rabonas in this event.

Alas, Luck is dribbling out that door soon. Sources tell the Daily Mail he’ll be leaving his alma mater to become an executive vice president with the NCAA.

We’re at the ground level with this story. Caught me completely off guard. I’m scrambling, so let me get my breath a bit and I’ll get back here later when I return some calls and some people return mine. I haven’t heard a timetable for his exit, but most seem to believe it’ll coincide with the New Year and WVU will hope to have someone in place by July 1. An interim will fall into place in the meantime. Right now, that means nothing, but it’s an answer to a question I’m certain you have. Names? Again, it means what it means right now, but the list begins and ends with Rob Mullens. There are others, as there were in the past, but I’ve got to vet some of those before I put them in print.

Almost forgot: Good to be back.

Let this be your reminder

Thursday, December 11, 2014

hands

Kevin White is up for the Biletnikoff Award and Josh Lambert for the Groza Award at tonight’s college football awards show. It’s in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., which is to say Disney World, and that explains White’s gloves for this otherwise poignant conversation with Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. (h/t @duckfootball)

Everybody in the pool

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Seasons greetings. I’m out for the next several days for the first of my two remaining breaks before the end of the year. It’ll go by quickly, I promise. You can insert that Thing here about what happens when I go away, but understand this is a time when news is bound to happen.

I’ll keep an eye on things here, and the bat signal is at the ready. For now, though, how about a good old bowl pick ‘em contest? My gift to you. Password: stuff(anything)

We’re going to need more swag

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dana and Jake have a long, long way to go to match John L. Smith’s submission to the 2001 event. Look at that damn coat! Do I want one? L yes.

Thank @smartfootball for reminding me of this and subsequently making/ruining our day.

Spavital (-2.5) v. HOLGORSEN

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Aaaaaand they’re off. Not to be outdone by the Liberty Bowl’s grand reveal Sunday, West Virginia’s head coach and Texas A&M’s offensive coordinator by way of Holgorsen’s tutelage decided to have some fun in advance of the Dec. 29 game.

If you’re new to the game, there’s some pretty interesting history to Spavital and his relationship with Holgorsen.