Lineup Changes Don't Affect WVU's Preparation

Head coach John Beilein says that he's never had so many starting lineup changes in his career, but he believes that the different faces on the floor at the start of the game don't affect his team's preparation.

"Never," was John Beilein's one-word answer when asked if he had ever fielded so many different starting lineups or changed them so much this late in the season. "Last year, we were consistent with out lineups. But this year, we are taking a different approach. We are trying to find what will help us get off to a good start, and we're trying to counter other people. Also, we have people who know more positions, so that's a factor too. Joe Herber knows four positions, which gives us more flexibility."

As a result, Beilein isn't concerned over the different starters the Mountaineers have put on the floor recently, and more importantly, he doesn't believe his players are bothered by it either.

"The different lineups haven't affected our preparation much," the veteran coach noted. "We have the same guys playing the same minutes, regardless of who starts. It keeps changing, but we have smart kids that are team-oriented. They'd all love to start, but they understand that not starting doesn't mean they are not good players.

"One thing about it that concerns me is who we bring off the bench," Beilein continued. "I think Patrick Beilein plays well off the bench, so that's something we'd like to keep in our back pocket."


The road begins to get tougher this week, with a home date against Seton Hall and a road trip to Connecticut.

"We really have it in front of us this week with these two games," Beilein said. "We're in that part of February where you can't look into March. You have to focus on the next game. But anytime you are at home, you are more hopeful you can get it done."

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Beilein has been watching tape of Seton Hall diligently, and noted one big difference between the Pirates and his Mountaineers.

"Seton Hall is like us in that they are not really big, but they are all really strong. They're all 6-5 or 6-6 and 215 pounds. It seems to me that there were a lot of 50-50 balls last year, and that they got them about 75% of the time. They are a blue-collar team. We can't play pretty and hope to beat them. I think they are better than they were last year. Beating them here will be a tough task.

"They had two wins over Top 25 teams, and had a good chance at Louisville. I think they are getting closer to the Top 25. They have a great versatile lineup, and one that can beat you a lot of different ways. They have a lot of weapons. Their kids have grown together from the first year to the second year to the third year."

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As usual, Beilein found some positives from a loss - this time in the form of teaching tools to be gleaned from the Villanova game.

"There were a number of correctible errors but those happen when you play better teams like Villanova. Coming out there were just things like a little missed hook shot or a bad pass where we missed a backdoor layup. We'll have two film sessions, and we'll learn a lot about basketball today in those."

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"I don't think Kevin Pittsnogle is playing that poorly," Beilein said of Kevin Pittsnogle, whose play has been singled out by many fans. "It's more a fact of who we play. Mentally, I don't think he's affected at all. He's shooting 40% from three point range in Big East play. It's tough playing two positions, but we are going to keep playing him to try to create shots for him. His minutes aren't the same, but I think he is getting about the same number of shots as he did last year, even with less minutes."

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After Villanova's tough man to man defense disrupted the WVU offense, Beilein planned to work hard against that defense. He didn't rule out further lineup shuffling as WVU faces different styles of teams in the coming weeks.

"We're going to guard them hard today and tomorrow and see how they respond in practice. I think you will see both [big and small] lineups."

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