WVU Gets Tough Foe

Despite owning two victories over Providence, head coach John Beilein is wary of facing the Friars in the opening round of the Big East basketball tournament.

"Nobody wanted to play Providence in the first round, Beilein said. "They are very good; they just lost a lot of close games. When you play against guys like Donnie McGrath and Ryan Gomes and Tuukka Kotti, you have a tough game."

While the Mountaineers edged out two wins over the Friars, neither was in dominating fashion. WVU won by 82-78 in Providence on Jan. 29th, and then recorded a 67-65 win in Morgantown two weeks later.

"Both games were absolute battles," Beilein recalled. "Both teams were hungry. We were both coming off losing streaks in that first game, and it wasn't always pretty, but both teams were trying to find a way to win. The game here Gomes was unstoppable, but the ball bounced our way a little bit. I don't expect any difference this time."


D'or Fischer should be fine for the game after getting banged up against Seton Hall. Beilein noted that the senior center hasn't been truly comfortable since he lost his starting job due to illness.

"He hasn't been comfortable since he's been sick, but I think he got some of his best rebounds since then the other day. We need him to block some shots and finish inside. He has that beautiful 15-foot jump shot, and we need to get those things from him."

* * *

Beilein commented on senior Tyrone Sally, who earned honorable mention all-Big East honors

"It's a great accomplishment for Tyrone. He is the lone scholarship member of the team that we inherited. He has seen a lot go on here, and it is really accredit to him. He will graduate this year, and he has been a great, leader on this team."

* * *

Beilein laughed when asked if he thought one tournament win would lock up an NCAA bid.

"You know what, I've been through this before trying to figure out whether we are a lock or not. Certainly our home win with Pitt after we lost some games, then beating them again on the road gives our resume some credibility. But people beat each other up in the conference and then it changes things dramatically. Another win would certainly be helpful but I have no idea whether it would be a lock."

* * *

While many fans worry about WVU's history in the Big East tournament, Beilein points out that it has no effect on this year's game.

"I don‘t think anyone is thinking anything about history," said Beilein of WVU's one-win tournament resume. "We'd like to go to New York and stay for a little while. I stayed last year for the quarterfinal games and saw the atmosphere and enthusiasm continue to grow. But, we are just trying to win one game at a time. We can't worry about future or the past – just today.

* * *

One part of recent history that Beilein has thought about, however, is the old saying that ‘it's tough to beat a team three times in one season. While the veteran coach usually doesn't use past results as an indicator for future performances, he did admit that thought was on his mind.

"It is tough to do that," Beilein said of pulling off the trifecta. "We realize that. It was tough enough to beat them one time this season. Providence has a good team. I don't know that I've ever had or seen the bad luck that they have had this year. That's the difference of them being 8-8 or 9-7. Things have just sort of happened to them this year."

BlueGoldNews Top Stories