West Virginia and Marshall continue to reap large dollars from the annual game held at the Charleston Civic Center. And despite many fans' cries to the contrary, the game looks to stay in Charleston for a long time to come.
Many point to the midweek game as an opportunity to paste our state legislature for forcing a game to be played at their convenience. While it could certainly be argued that this is the case, don't believe for one minute that both schools aren't using this face time with the state legislature to their advantage.
Many have already heard the comments from Bob Pruett and wondered why he would come back from recruiting to see the WVU-Marshall basketball game. Many have pointed out what a classless boob they think he is many times. What many didn't notice was who Coach Pruett was sitting with in the Civic Center on Wednesday. None other than gubernatorial candidate Joe Manchin. Think about that when you hit the polls, Mountaineer fans.
Speaking of Pruett, I still don't get the attitude of some people towards Marshall and especially Pruett. I think people who have lived in other states with hot rivalries get it a lot better than those of us who have never lived away from home, but I get it.
Pruett has done more to sell tickets for a game that will never happen than any marketing scheme could ever dream about. He has forced many people who had a love for both schools to pick a side and created an animosity among fans of both schools that was largely absent in the early 80s, with the exception of the annual basketball game.
I lived in Charlotte for almost two years. Try talking to a Duke alum about North Carolina, or Wake, or NC State. Go down to Mobile, Alabama and wear either an Auburn or an Alabama shirt. Better yet, go down to Mississippi and roll through Oxford with a Southern Mississippi sweatshirt.
The WVU-Marshall animosity isn't near as strong as any of these in-state rivalries.
Stupid sign of the week from the Marshall student section: "Go Home Hilljacks"
Memo to the Branch Herdidiot, most all of us are West Virginians, even the ones who attend Marshall. Moron.
Stupid sign of the week #2 from the Marshall student section: "Gator Bowl"
I doubt anyone who lost to Troy State should be ripping a BCS conference champion for their bowl performance, especially when they were playing marbles come bowl time themselves.
The Charleston Civic Center continues to outdo themselves in the media hospitality room. For the second straight year they served cold pig-n-a-blankets, cold chicken fingers, and half baked meatballs. Especially puzzling was the fact that the food was not replenished between the women's game and the men's game, when most of the media were arriving.
Despite the food, I love attending games in the Charleston Civic Center. I think it is by far the best basketball venue in the state. I love attending games in the Colluseum. I even enjoy watching games in the Henderson Center, especially since its renovation. But you can't beat the Civic Center for view of the floor from any seat in the place.
Marshall is scheduled to play Oregon in the Civic Center next season. Coach Belein will also schedule a non-conference game in Charleston again next season, with St. Bonaventure being a likely foe. My idea is to package the game as a double header on a December Saturday. Then swap teams and play again the next night.
When I lived in Charlotte, North Carolina and South Carolina would play in the Burger King Classic. UNC would play a team on Saturday, USC would play another right after that game. Then UNC would play the team USC played, and vice versa, the next day.
Were WVU and Marshall to get together on a little two day show like this, the proceeds to the schools could be tremendous. Students are out on break, and quite a number of students of both schools live within an hour of the Civic Center. Sell reserved seats on the sidelines on both decks and in the corners. Sell general admission behind the baselines (and offer students tickets just like a home game).
There is no doubt that people will come to watch one game or the other. And there is no doubt that some people will stay for both games. The opportunity for selling more than capacity for each day exists, just as it does during the high school tournament. Both schools split the proceeds, both schools get two days of exposure in Charleston. And both schools go home happy.
For those of you who think John Beilein can't recruit the type of player to win in the Big East, check the boxscore of Thursday evening's Kansas-Richmond game. Richmond went into Allen Fieldhouse and handed Kansas their first home loss to an unranked team in eight years.
Richmond played 10 different players, with nine of them scoring, and eight of them logging at least ten minutes of game time. Former George Washington standout Patrick O'Malley nailed a three-pointer with less than a minute remaining to cut a Kansas lead to one point and Tony Dobbins drained a jumper in the lane with less than one second remaining to give the Spiders the win. Rebounding statistics: Richmond 24, Kansas 42.
If Tyrone Sally and Jarmon Durisseau-Collins continue to drive the bucket, the Mountaineers will begin to score more points. Sally absolutely took the game into his own hands on Wednesday. Many already knew he had the ability, it was the desire that needed a kick in the saddle. Whether it was his teammates, the raucous WVU student section or Marvin Black showboating after a couple of nice dunks in the first half, Sally played the second half with a tremendous chip on his shoulder, and had his best performance in a Mountaineer uniform.
Collins also proved what have believed for a long time. While his outside shot has certainly improved, he doesn't use his quickness enough and drive the hole on a consistent basis. Drive the rack, draw the foul, dish to D'or or just lay one in. Penetration forces defenses to react, and will open up the perimeter for our three-ballers.