Pirates Ahoy

A glance at the Big East standings would seem to indicate that West Virginia should get a win over Seton Hall at home on Wednesday. However, the brutal nature of competition in the league, combined with the presence of WVU-killer Jeremy Hazell, makes this game anything but a foregone conclusion.

WVU head coach Bob Huggins has long used the adjective "hard" to describe playing night in and night out in the toughest conference in America, but he upgraded that to "brutal" when describing this year's slate. And while it might not appear that Seton Hall fits that description, well, appearances can be deceiving. The Pirates are easily the best 12th-place team in the nation and with proven performers on the roster, are easily capable of knocking West Virginia down several notches in the league standings.

Tops on that list is Jeremy Hazell, who scored 41, 29 and 30 points in three meetings with the Mountaineers during 2008-09. WVU managed to hold him to nine points in the most recent contest in 2010, but Huggins knows that he's still capable of putting up big numbers.

"He has been very difficult for use to defend, and he's had some career days against us," Huggins noted, while adding that defensive ace John Flowers will likely draw the assignments to guard him when West Virginia is in its preferred man-to-man defense.

Hazell isn't the only concern, however. There's also Herb Pope, who has recovered from a serious health scare and other off-the-court incidents to again be a major contributor.

"Pope was the best rebounder in our league a year ago," Huggins said. "He has great hands, and he anticipates where the ball is going."

Pope had ten rebounds, including six offensive, against WVU a year ago.

In this interview, Huggins offers more opinions on Seton Hall and the league, and confirmed that suspended guard Casey Mitchell will not play on Wednesday.

Bob Huggins Interview

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