Post-Christmas List

We don't know what Santa brought to the members of the Mountaineer basketball team, but we hope some of these items were on the list.

1) A front line decision

Time is running short on the "tryouts" for the five position, and a decision is going to have to be made. Quickly. Unless some giant steps are made soon, it looks as if WVU will have to go with a rotating scheme of John Oliver, Chris Moss, and perhaps even Chaz Briggs at times at the five spot.

The Mountaineers were forced to do just that against Tennessee in the final three minutes of the game, and countered the obvious size mismatches by running Briggs and Josh Yeager at the high post.

2) Rebounding consistency

How does a team get pounded on the offensive glass by shorter teams, then dominate a big front line like Tennessee's?

Part of the answer is in the fact that the Vols bombed away from the outside too much, but WVU was still able to gather in those caroms, where they were not against shorter opponents.

Sometimes, matchups like this work in the smaller team's favor - slashing players like Chaz Briggs and Tyrone Sally are able to knife through gaps and get by bigger, but slower players for the rebound. Hopefully, those performances can be repeated in the Big East battles to come.

3) Patience for the freshmen

The pattern happens again and again, but is rarely noticed or commented upon. New player comes in. Player puts up good numbers in first few games, hype increases. Player hits a slump, and suddenly everyone from fans to fishhacks are taking their shots at him.

This year's target is Jonathan Hargett, but let's suppose for a moment that Hargett was not here. The target then would be one of the other newcomers, who would be subjected to the same levels of analysis and criticism that Hargett has been.

Our wish is for fans to enjoy what the newcomers are bringing to the table, and not get too upset over their shortcomings. (In response to many emails and comments we've received, yes, Hargett can shoot. Eight for eight from the foul line in a hostile environment at Tennessee attests to that.)

4) A big road win

Not that the New Mexico and UT games weren't important, but WVU needs a road win over a top 20 team to help boost the RPI-damaging losses they suffered to James Madison and Duquesne.

Fortunately, the Mountaineers should have several opportunites for such a win, including contests at Syracuse, Note Dame and Georgetown, as well as a possible matchup this Sunday against Arizona.

That's not too much to ask, is it? If so, we'll gladly trade that ugly tie we received. Now, which way to Santa's exchange department?

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