Real Tests on the Horizon for WVU

For the second game in a row, West Virginia was able to cruise to a victory in impressive fashion at the Coliseum.

Presbyterian was able to keep the game fairly close at times throughout the second half, but after cutting the lead to 20-16 about midway through the first 20 minutes of play the Mountaineers pulled away by ending the first half on a 28-6 run.

It's been a lot of the same up to this point early in the season – especially in the last three games for this West Virginia team. WVU has been able to look good and come away with wins, gaining plenty of much-needed confidence along the way.

Through the first five games of the year, it looks like there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about this team's chances compared to what they did a year ago while limping its way to a 13-19 season and staying at home during the postseason.

But there's not enough that you've been able to see yet to determine how much more improved this team is than a year ago. That will come in the next week when the Mountaineers travel to Cancun, and will likely continue throughout the remainder of WVU's non-conference slate.

Up to this point in the season, WVU has played a lot of teams that play in a similar fashion to it. A lot of teams that like to pressure the ball, get up and down the floor quickly and try to put points on the board. West Virginia has been able to stay comfortable and do the things it likes to do because its opponents have been trying to do a lot of the same things.

That's going to change in the next few games.

Old Dominion, Wisconsin and St. Louis are all teams that have been able to be successful by slowing the games down and set up what they want to do in their halfcourt sets. Those teams have been at their best when they can take teams out of their comfort zones and force them to do things they usually don't like to do.

And it's pretty likely that that's what those teams will try to make West Virginia do over the course of the next week in the Cancun Challenge. These are the first times this season in which we will really get a look at how WVU handles itself when facing a team that tries to make it do the things it doesn't like doing.

Sure, the Mountaineers have looked good so far. They've run the floor well, have hit shots from beyond the arc and have gotten through pressure defenses with some ease.

But every team – with the exception of Virginia Tech, which tried to slow things down more than the other teams WVU has faced up to this point – has gone into the game with the plan of trying to do a lot of those same teams. West Virginia has just been able to get through these games with ease because of its talent level. The Mountaineers have been a better team, and it's shown.

Now they'll be going up against teams that are as good as – if not better than – them on paper, and will do a lot of things they haven't gotten to see a lot of yet.

If West Virginia wants to be a better team and wants to get back to the NCAA tournament, it will have to be better in those situations and play well against teams like that.

Cancun will just be the start of a daunting stretch of non-conference play for the Mountaineers, but it will surely be able to give a better look than these last few games.

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