Priorities In Line

After back-to-back games outside of Big East Conference play, West Virginia's men's basketball team will return to league action Sunday afternoon with a game against South Florida. But even in the wake of Wednesday night's loss to in-state rival Marshall, the Mountaineers were more worried about themselves than the Bulls, according to the team's senior point guard.

That's not because of any lack of respect for USF, Joe Mazzulla emphasized. Instead, on Friday, in its first practice after the Marshall loss, WVU got back to basics.

"[Practice was] not so much South Florida," Mazzulla said. "We really kind of focused on ourselves, on what we have to do to win. When it comes down to it, when we do what we have to do, we'll be in any game, no matter who we play. So I think really just focused on ourselves."

Mountaineer head coach Bob Huggins said Saturday that he had seen some of his players "attempt to take more ownership" in that practice. Senior forward John Flowers later pointed to Mazzulla and forward Cam Thoroughman as the vocal leaders in trying to right the proverbial ship.

Flowers said Mazzulla and Thoroughman called a team meeting at the back of the West Virginia bus on the way back to Morgantown. While Flowers wouldn't divulge any of what was said in that conversation, Mazzulla seemed to indicate Friday's practice showed the message -- whatever it was -- was received.

Mazzulla shared his thoughts on those matters, as well as some of the key parts of Sunday afternoon's tilt with USF in this interview.

"We used yesterday's practice to get it out of sight, get it out of our mind ... so I think yesterday, the fact that Huggs was kind of in more of a learning mode and really not in a ticked off mode kind of helped us get over it," the senior said. "We had a good practice.

"We practiced the entire time -- three hours. It went well. I think we really paid attention to the scouting report and I thought the energy was good. So we've just got to keep the same thing up."


Joe Mazzulla Interview


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