Capital Classic Looms

WVU head coach John Beilein is wary of Marshall despite the Herd's abysmal 2-10 record.

"Their record is certainly not indicative of the type of team it is," Beilein said of Marshall. "No, they have not won, but I don't know if they haven't played a team that doesn't have a winning record. They have played a difficult schedule. They know they need a big win somewhere to get them believing they can win. So, it is dangerous playing them. We certainly won't be looking past them."

Beilein believes that several Herd players are still finding their way after the departure of a couple of their big guns from last year's squad, but believes they may be poised to break out.

"Everybody there might be sort of feeling their way," WVU's head coach noted. "A.W. Hamilton is a point guard like my teams love to have. He protects the ball really well. Miles can score in bunches – he reminds me of Allan Ray of Villanova -- sometimes guys like that are indefensible. And Patton has developed his entire package; he's gotten stronger and stronger."

It may be cliché, but Beilein knows that the intensity and emotion of this game have a way of canceling out the records.

"You just have to walk in the arena and watch the tip-off to realize why the game is so meaningful. There are lots of alumni on both sides that talk about the game all year long."

RIFLE REPORTS

Despite the short turnaround time between the St. John's game and the Capital Classic, Beilein thinks his team has gained a good bit of knowledge in the interim.

"Practice has been o.k. We learned a lot from the St. Johns game. There are a lot of little things we have to do better. Sometimes it's just a matter of one step here and there."

The two-day breaks between the last three games make preparations tight, but Beilein and his staff have a well-honed routine for short breaks such as this.

"We are trying to keep our guys fresh," Beilein noted. "We have been going on all two-day preps since the George Washington game, other than one extra day. The day after each game we use as a mental prep day. The guys who played a lot of minutes don't get much work, but the guys who aren't playing as much in the games get some more work. We try to get them some good cardio, so that they will be in shape if they have to go 30 minutes for some reason.

"We are used to this [routine], but once this game is played, we have an off day which I think everyone needs, including the coaches."

* * *

Beilein is still undefeated in the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum, but doesn't think he is due any particular credit.

"I just think we have been lucky," the unassuming coach said. "We've had success, but it's been surviving a last second shot and hitting a heroic three against Florida, Drew Schifino hitting a double pump against Marshall, and Tyrone Sally getting a big offensive rebound and score last year, so it's not like we own the place. And then St. Bonaventure this year was not the best game we have played. It's mostly been good fortune. We won't change our routine for going down there, more out of superstition that anything else."

* * *

Although guard J. D. Collins participated fully in yesterday's practice, Beilein will likely stick to starting Darris Nichols against the Herd. While Collins is "almost back to normal" according to the coach, he dislikes changing his starting lineup after a win, so the freshman Nichols will likely be at the point on Tuesday evening.


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