Injuries A Factor For Hoops As Well

West Virginia opens with UNC-Asheville tonight at 8 p.m. the Coliseum, though the Mountaineers might not be at full strength.

Head coach Gale Catlett said center Chris Garnett, now off suspension after breaking team rules, will dress and be on the bench, but might not play.

"We'll start with the older guys and (freshman point guard Jonathan) Hargett and see where it goes from there," Catlett said. "Whether he plays or not will depend upon the game. We'll see how we matchup and play from there."

Several players have missed practice time this week, including starting center John Oliver, who pulled a groin, and freshmen Drew Schifino (strained achillies) and Tyrone Sally (bruised leg as a result of a fall). All are expected to play.

"That is not as important as in the past because we have depth," Catlett said of the injuries. "If a player gets hurt now someone will take his spot."

West Virginia is concerned with Asheville's shooting ability. The Bulldogs, led by guard Andre Smith, have a solid touch from the outside, though they'll lack athletic ability and size inside against the Mountaineers.

"We're just anxious to get started," shooting guard Lionel Armstead. "I think we are all excited. This has the ability to be a good team. I think we have the ability to beat them at their own game if we can get the ball to the shooters."

WVU won both preseason contests and will play 10 of its first 17 games on the road, including in the Hispanic College Fund Classic a week after the opener against Asheville.

"They have a great coach with good players," Catlett said. "I am interested to find out how we will react. I just hope we play as well as we have in the exhibitions."

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