Effort(less)

How can a team which starts off a game playing with energy and emotion suddenly lose it all? Mountaineer center Deniz Kilicli has one theory.

The West Virginia basketball team has now shown an alarming lack of effort and intensity in two of its past three games. Against St. John's, it was lacking from the outset. Versus Pitt, it was there for the first 11 minutes of the game (again, according to Kilicli) but then mysteriously disappeared.

The junior center had a simple, and colorful, explanation.

"Someone shows his ass," the frustrated, downtrodden Mountaineer big man said after the ugly loss to Pitt.

By that, Kilicli meant that someone on the team will try to do something he shouldn't, and that gets the team out of rhythm. It also, for some reason, affects effort at times. Whether teammates get frustrated and lose their competitive edge, or perhaps even worse, isn't readily apparent, but there's no doubt that the Mountaineers didn't play nearly as hard in the last 30 minutes as they did in the first ten. As a result, the Mountaineers are now riding the first three-game losing streak of Bob Huggins' Mountaineer tenure, and are plunging from contention for a double bye in the Big East tournament to a first round game on Tuesday.

That knowledge, along with his personal shooting struggles, had Kilicli in as doleful a mood as he may have ever been in after a West Virginia game.



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