The Kinder Garden - 2/1/02

While rattling around the nearly empty WVU Coliseum during Wednesday night's win over Providence, several thoughts and observations came to mind.

The basketball team obviously benefitted from the "change" in head coaches, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the change should be permanent. How many times have you seen a team go off on a winning streak when they change managers or coaches, only to fall back to their former level?

I call that the "bounce" of having someone different in charge, and it's not limited to the sports world. It happens all the time, in all walks of life.

That's not a shot at Drew Catlett, either. I thought he did an excellent job in not "overcoaching" which is a temptation for many coaches when they take over the first chair.

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WVU also benefitted from the fact that Providence did not match up well with the Mountaineers. The Friars' in your face man to man defense can shut down perimeter games, but it opens up some pathways inside. With West Virginia's most consistent threat being frontliner Chris Moss, WVU's strength was matched against a Providence weakness.

The Friars are probably the least physical team in the Big East, and WVU took advantage of that fact. Chaz Briggs and Tyrone Sally were allowed to slash to the hoop without much in the way of body checks or opposition.

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Speaking of Briggs, he has played very well of late, but an eye must also be cast to his opposition. Briggs feasted on less than stellar inside opponents against Marshall and Providence. Can he do it against the more physical teams in the conference? We should find out more on Saturday against Georgetown.

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Against Providence's shorter and less bulky lineup, Drew and his staff returned Chris Moss to the five spot for several long stretches.

I realize that Chris is not a five, but that is probably the spot he will have to play if WVU is to have any chance of climbing back to the .500 mark. Putting Moss at the five allows more time for Briggs, Sally and even Drew Schifino on the floor.

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Despite not being on the bench, Gale Catlett gets credit for the win over Providence. The NCAA allows schools to decide which coach gets credit for victories in situations such as the one WVU is going through right now, and WVU has decided that Gale Catlett will get the credit for the games played in his absence.

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Finally, a note from courtside. In addition to being an excellent defender, Providence guard John Linehan looks quite a bit older than the average college player. I couldn't quite decide how to describe him until one fan sitting courtside put it into perspective.

"Linehan," said the fan, "is older than Granville Waiters."

(For those unfamiliar, Waiters was a lanky center that played for Ohio State from 1980-1983. Unfortunately, he suffered from premature hair loss and looked like he was about 40 years old.)

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