The Richardson File

Wednesday night's tilt with the University of Maryland-Baltimore County will be the first meeting between the two schools.

First of all, can you guess UMBC's mascot? If you guessed the Retrievers, give yourself a pat on the back. Also, you need to get out more. There's no reason for the casual fan to be aware of the UMBC nickname.

Apparently having a unique nickname is a requirement to be in the America East Conference. Besides the Retrievers, the AEC is home to the Catamounts (Vermont), the Seawolves (Stony Brook), and the Great Danes (Albany) among others.

I'll go out on a limb and guarantee that this is the first time in school history that WVU has hosted the Presidents and the Retrievers in back-to-back games.

On with more important matters.

Both John Beilein and his leading scorer Mike Gansey had the same immediate impression after watching the Retrievers on film.

"They're kind of like St. Bonaventure. They're a really athletic team that likes to drive. They've got some great shooters, but they haven't shot it as well this year as they did last year," said Gansey.

"I see them a lot like St. Bonaventure. There's a lot of dribble-drive. They're a very athletic team. They get to the rim. They are a better shooting team than they've shown so far," echoed Beilein.

Another thing that stands out to Beilein is a similarity between his team and his opponent on Wednesday night.

"They're smaller than some of the teams we play, and that may cause problems some times. That's why we were able to play Texas so well, because we were smaller than them."

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Upon further review, Saturday's 50-point blowout over Washington and Jefferson served its purpose. Beilein said prior to the game that he wanted to get some of his younger players into the game. For most of the second half, Beilein got to do just that.

"You want to get that 27th game, but after that I think it's about trying to get better, and doing whatever it takes to get better," explained Beilein. "I had almost 20 cuts just for Joe Alexander that I can't give him in practice like I can in a game."

Down the road, those 20 cuts could pay big dividends for both Alexander and the team.

"I sense there are a lot of people that want to see Joe and Alex (Ruoff) more," said the coach. "They'll be ready when they're ready, and we're pushing it to make them as ready as we can. We also have to wait and make sure it is the right time."

Part of being ready is learning from mistakes, and film from Saturday's game will be a perfect teaching tool.

"For example with Joe (Alexander), we noticed offensively he was trying to dunk rebounds instead of getting rebounds. So just try to be less sensational and just be good. That's how good player's become great: they make a lot of good plays," summed up the fourth-year head coach.

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Beilein was asked about who the team would go when they needed a bucket, as has been the case in recent scoring droughts against Kentucky and St. Bonaventure. After pondering the question for a minute, the coach settled on a "by committee" approach.

"I think Mike Gansey and Kevin, as our two leading scorers, are the two guys we need to go to," he said. "As a coach, you'd think that after all these years I'd have it figured out. I don't have it figured out yet, but we want to get the ball at the right time at the right place depending on the matchups."

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Finally, it's plays like the two Pat White touchdown runs that make me thankful for the information superhighway.

Like many Mountaineer fans, I was left unable to watch Saturday night's game by virtue of being in the wrong state. Thanks to video clips on several websites though, I've been able to waste valuable study time during dead week by watching White's runs over and over.

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