The Mountaineers Held Their 50-Minute Open Practice Session At The SAP Center On Wednesday

SAN JOSE, Calif. - West Virginia's open practice revealed much the same approach as the Mountaineers took in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

And why not? It's a tried and true method for head coach Bob Huggins, who wants his teams to get up maximum quality shots while revealing little of the game plan. That lends itself to a series of shooting regimens, combined with some two- and three-man offensive drills. While WVU's guards worked drives to the bucket and step-in shots via jumpers and three-pointers, as well as working crisp passing and individual creation of shots. There's truly nothing new here for the Mountaineers; indeed, West Virginia's open sessions are very similar regardless of tournament format.

The real work is done during the lead-in practices, both in Morgantown (the team flew out at midday on Tuesday) and, for the Sweet 16 match-up against top-seed Gonzaga, at Bellarmine College. The Jesuit school, located mere miles from the SAP Center, served as the closed practice facility for the Mountaineers, which are staying just northwest of the arena toward Santa Clara. On a per-player basis, as well as the assistant coaches, West Virginia seems to have continued to carry the energy level and enthusiasm shown in the second round victory over Notre Dame, and that showed during thew drill sessions shown here, when the tone took on a lighthearted but focused feel. 

The WVU guards, above, initially went through a catch-and-shoot/drive drill that allowed them to focus on their individual games and what they wanted to get out of the session in terms of drilling shooting or finishes. They followed that with a spot-up session, below, to continue to dial in at the arena, which holds 18,543 for basketball.

In our last look, West Virginia's centers and forwards, below, work a pass-and-cut drill before finishing toward the bucket. The Mountaineers went the full 50 minutes allotted in front of a sparse but spirited crowd that included busloads of local school children who cheered every dunk and crowded the entry areas for player autographs afterward.


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