Beilein Looking for "Frosting on the Cake"

West Virginia head coach John Beilein knows what Mountaineer fans are feeling right now. After watching his team get off to a hot start, the Mountaineers have won just three games since the calendar turned into 2005. A win Saturday night over nationally ranked, and arch-rival Pitt would certainly put an end to the recent dissapointment.

"Beating Pitt is big. We've had several huge crowds for games, and with the exception of the GW game it's been good efforts that didn't end in a win. I'd like to win one of those. If it's Pitt, that's just frosting on the cake," said the fourth year head coach.

That's easier said and done though for the underdog Mountaineers. Pitt is coming in playing its best basketball of the season, and find's itself yet again in the race for the Big East Championship.

"They shoot so well. They're the best shooting team in the Big East, and one of the best rebounding teams in the Big East," said Beilein of the Panthers.

Another area in which the Panthers excel is their passing. Seldom will you see Jamie Dixon's troops rush a shot, unless it's a wide open look. The Panther ball movement against the Mountaineer defense could end up being a telling factor in the game Saturday night.

"It's very important. They're a great passing team. They've got great guards that can penetrate. When you can penetrate, and pass well, it makes it difficult to play the 1-3-1. We have to be as active as possible," said Mountaineer point guard J.D. Collins.

When the Mountaineers go man, it will likely be Collins who gets the first crack at talented Pitt guard Carl Krauser.

"He makes big shots. He may make mistakes, but at the end he always comes through for them. He's clutch," says Collins of his counterpart up I-79.

Making matters that much more difficult is the health of center D'or Fischer. The senior big man did not practice on Friday due to illness, but is still listed in the starting lineup for tomorrow night's affair.

While the Panthers will certainly present a stiff challenge, the Mountaineers are capable of winning this game, and frankly are due for a big win.

"If they can make another shot from the corner that hits the rim three or four times before bouncing in, then that's what we want them to beat us with. We've just got to give ourselves a chance," says Collins, referring to last year's back breaking three by the Panthers that basically thwarted any chances of a Mountaineer victory.

"I feel the anguish of all the West Virginia fans whose hopes were so high when we got off to the 10-0 start, and now the Big East has been unkind to us," says Beilein. "I want to send people home happy."

If the Mountaineers play their hearts off and leave it all on the floor for tomorrow night, the sold out Coliseum could see the biggest home win of the Beilein era.


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