Men's Basketball Notebook

What do video, defenses, shooting in the driveway and transition have in common? They were all part of John Beilein's afternoon press conference prior to the St. John's game on Wednesday.

In a wide ranging interview session, WVU head basketball coach John Beilein touched on a number of subjects Monday afternoon. Included were some comments aobut the perceived drop in free throw shooting percentages.

"Our free throw shooting is up 10% over where it was at this time last year," Beilein noted. "Some of it may be that we shot more growing up. I never came in for dinner unless I had made five free throws in a row. And sometimes I had gloves on, in Buffalo, New York. And really, what else was I going to do? Go in and watch soaps with my mom? There weren't 66 different things to do then like there is now.

"Another factor, I think is that the better foul shooters shoot more threes more, and so they don't get to the foul line as often."

Beilein noted that his son might be an exception to that rule, but he also had an explanation for his shon's free throw shooting proficiency.

"My camps have always centered on shooting, and Patrick Beilein came to all of them."


WVU unveiled a 2-3 defense against Boston College, but didn't play it much. Beilein noted that the Mountaineers were only in it for about 7-8 possessions. And while many thought the 2-3 made it's appearance as a way of getting Kevin Pittsnogle and D'or Fischer onto the floor more, Beilein noted that it was really geared toward the smaller end of the lineup.

"It had more to do with Tyler Relph and Jarmon Durisseau-Collins in the game at the same time or to give them a different look for a short time. Howver, in all of our defenses, we are trying to do what we can to keep Kevin Pittsnogle from being exposed.

"We played four defenses. We had a couple of different looks in the 1-3-1 depending on how they attacked it, man to man, and the 2-3. We want to give the other guards a different look sometimes to try to keep them off balance."

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Beilein teams have practiced, but never played, at Alumni Hall, the site of Wednesday's game against St. John's.

"We practiced there when I was at Canisius, but we never played there. It can be a very difficult place to play. I didn't see it at game time, though."

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Jerrah Young, who was still in Chicago today for the funeral of his cousin, will meet the team at the Pittsburgh airport for the flight to New York.

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Beilein has been looking at tape of St. John's but since the Mountaineers didn't play the Red Storm last year he isn't able to provide an opinion on their fall from NIT champions to 0-6 in the league this year.

"They are very athletic and have quick guards, actually they are quick all over the floor, Beilein noted. "Teams seem to play us differently, so we have to be ready to adjust to how they play. They have some size up front, so they should be able to match up with us inside and still guard us on the perimeter."

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Beilein also noted that video is the biggest factor in contributing to the spate of low scores, expecially in the first half, of games.

"Right now, our assistants are breaking down every St. John's pick and roll. There's no way you could do that several years ago, but now we can look at every one they've run this year and see if there are any differences.

"Breaking down every possession means defenses are tougher to fool - you can't trick them. You just have to make your shots. Defense is just like a good pitcher against a great hiiter - if he's spotting the corners the hitter isn't going to get many good hits.

"One other thing is that being able to score, as opposed to shooting is a little bit lost because of the three pointer. People look for the three first now - they might slow down at halfcourt in transition rather than go to the rim. And with that trickling down to high school now, the art of scoring is getting somewhat lost."

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Beilein also noted that he wants to keep building the transition game, which showed some signs of life against Boston College.

"We want to fast break. But every board is so important to us, that when we get one we tend to say 'OK, I got that one', rather than look for the outlet pass. We are working on that.

"Every turnover and rebound we want to run, but when you've just guarded for 27 seconds, that can be tough. And we need all five to run.

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Beilein on the range from which some of his players shoot: "We'd rather have an unguarded NBA shot than a guarded NCAA shot."

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Beilein is also still searching for good combinations of players, but a shorter bench and rotation may be in the offing.

"After watching film, we've seen that it's been a young player involved in almost every major mistake, We don't want to cut them out altogether, but if we shorten the bench we cut down on the mistakes."

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