Meltdown Puzzles Beilein

Head coach John Beilein was more despondent after the Rutgers loss than just about any other game in his West Virginia career.

"I'm just kind of scratching my head to figure out what was going on," Beilein admitted after watching his team commit a boatload of uncharacteristic mistakes in the 74-53 loss. "We may have to just write this one off as one of those days, but we made a lot of 'IQ mistakes'. From Joe's turnover at halfcourt all the way down to the freshmen late in the game, we just made a lot of errors.

"It's February now, and those kinds of things shouldn't happen," Beilein continued. "But they are still kids, and sometimes they have games like this. Sometimes they make mistakes and carry them arround like luggage until the next game. So, we have to try to work through that in practice and get ready for the next one. We'll practice today and tomorrow and get ready for Tech."

Beilein, who uses video heavily as a teaching tool, counted numerous errors from the Rutgers video that he was reviewing with his squad.

"We have 76 [video] cuts for the team, and 41 of those were points of emphasis that we go over every day," an obviously frustrated Beilein noted. "We didn't do any of those things. Whether it was a close out on a shooter or seeing the open man, we just didn't do a lot of those things. We have to learn as much as we can from this game, and then forget about it.

"I don't know if I'm prejudiced or not, but this was our worst performance of year. We lacked a lot in the IQ areas. We have to play efficiently, and we didn't last night."

In addition to the difficulty of playing on the road, Beilein thinks that perhaps the relative youth of his team also had an effect on the WVU's performance. While still admitting that he was searching for answers, the second year coach wonders if his team has comprehended what they are playing for.

"We're a young team, and we may not realize what's at stake right now," Beilein mused. "I can't tell you why - maybe it was a residual effect from the Pitt game. Whatever the reason, we certainly didn't have the sharpness that we have had in other games."


Despite the need to get another regular season win or two, Beilein refused to play up the Virginia Tech clash on Saturday.

"I think that when we get to the Big East tourney, that will be important, and a big game. But I can't say Virginia Tech is the biggest game, becuase then if you lose it, what can you do? How many big games can you have?"

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While not predicting a different outcome, Beilein believes that the Hokies will see a different sort of squad than the one they faced six weeks ago in Morgantown.

"The last time we played Tech, we were in big-time transition," Beilein observed of the lineup changes and roster shuffling that had just occurred. "We didn't play very well in that game. We had a lot of people playing new positions for just the second time, and people were just learning their roles."

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With the midseason departure of two players to Europe, Florida's Christian Drejer and Providence's Maris Laksa, Beilein was asked if Joe Herber's stated desire to play professionally overseas caused any concern.

"I think the situations are different," Beilein noted. "[Laska] wasn't playing much, and he probably had a chance to play now in Europe. The one at Florida is a tough one to understand. You're a key player on your team, you've been through practice and everything, and then to leave, that's tough.

"Joe Herber is different, in that he's here, and he wanted to play Division I and get an education. I think he's here for both reasons. The only thing that would worry me is that the whole agent business is different in Europe than it is in the U.S. They could come get kids that aren't foreign-born, and offer them money to play now. That would bother me, but I don't know how many people would do that. There is a strong bond between players that have gone through the season together that would be tough to overcome."

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