Northeastern has dropped road decisions to Rhode Island and Bradley, but battled back to get a win against Louisiana-Monroe on Tuesday at home. The Huskies were picked to finish second to Vermont in the America East conference.
Northeastern is led by a pair of excellent guards in Jose Juan Barea (6'-0") and Marcus Barnes (6'-2"). Barea is a preaseason all-conference pick, averaging 16.3 points per game, while Barnes has led the Huskies in scoring every game this year, tallying 17 points per contest. The pair have taken 60 percent of the Huskies' shots this year.
Heading inside, swingman Javorie Wilson (6'-5") is a solid scorer at 16 points per contest, and forward Sylbrin Robinson (6'-7") chips in with 11.7 points per contest. Robinson also heads the board brigade with seven caroms per outing. Center center Cornellius Wright (6'-6"), battling bigger opponents, manages just over six points per contest, while grabbing fewer than three rebounds per game.
Six-nine forward Bennet Davis is grabbing seven rebounds per game off the bench to help the Huskies' frontcourt, while Jesse Dunn (6'-8") and D'wan Youmans (6-4) make up the rest of the Huskies' eight man rotation.
West Virginia center Kevin Pittsnogle vs. Northeastern center Cornellius Wright
Pittsnogle will obvously present perimeter matchup problems for Wright, who is a bulky player that prefers to play in the lane. However, Wright will answer that with his physical presence inside, which will provide KNog with his own set of problems to deal with.
|Sat 11/29 6:00 p.m.|
WVU 1-0, 0-0
Northeastern 1-2, 0-0
WVU - 13
JMU - 104
|Line: WVU -12|
Despite their superior height, the Mountaineers were outrebounded by nine at James Madison last Monday, and although head coach John Beilein notes that rebounding isn't the be-all and end-all of statistics, it's also important to note that you can't score without the ball. Keeping Wright contained on the glass would be a nice boost for WVU in general and Pittsnogle in particular.
WVU: Nick Patella (Concussion) Out, Kevin Pittsnogle (Thumb) Will Play
NU: Aaron Davis (Shoulder) Out, Adrian Martinez (Foot) Out
Like James Madison, Northeastern doesn't get a whole lot of publicity, but the Huskies have a solid squad. Head coach John Beilein fully expects the Huskies to win their conference this year, and likens their team to one of his own, noting that they move and shoot the ball well.
Looking down the rosters and and the numbers, it would appear that WVU is a heavy favorite. However, it's likely that many teams playing West Virginia last year felt the same way about their chances, only to be confronted by a scrappy squad that executed well and played hard for 40 minutes.
This matchup is likely to be a battle of attrition. Which team will run through their plays to the end and not get impatient? Which squad will defend for all 35 seconds of the shot clock, and not get frustrated when a possession breaks down?
Northeastern, with three seniors and a junior in their starting lineup, don't figure to get ratteld on the road, especially with a meager crowd expected in the WVU Coliseum. Those expecting the Mountaineers to roll over the Huskies just because they aren't familar with them could be in for a surprise.
Northeastern coach Ron Everhart is a West Virginia native, and is a cousin of 1984 Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton.
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Northeastern has committed 60 turnovers in three games this season. Of the top eight players, only Barea has more assists (12) than turnovers (eight). On the flip side, West Virginia had fewer turnovers than its opponent in all but 10 games last season.
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Senior Sylbrin Robinson posted 10 double-doubles last season, and nearly averaged a double-double, with 11.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
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WVU is an awesome 85-8 (.914) in home openers. That record includes games at the ROTC Armory (1903-15), The Ark (1916-27), Stansbury Hall (1928-69), the Charleston Civic Center (1999) and the WVU Coliseum (1970-98, 2000-02).
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The Huskies have tapped the Miami area for a number of good players, and have played off assistant coach Frank Martin's stint at Miami Senior High School to bring several players to Northeastern. No fewer than eight players on the Huskies' roster have ties to the Miami area, with four of those playing for Martin.