Scheduling Success

Head coach John Beilein continues to downplay his team's successful Big East start.

"We are so fortunate that after a 2-3 start, we have been able to have some very good scheduling and have the ball bounce our way several times to get off to 5-0 start in the Big East. It sure beats last year when we were 1-4 at this time," the even-keeled WVU coach said. "We have a terrifically strong schedule from here on out. UCLA presents not only the task of beating a talented team, but with the travel and everything else along with it."

Of course, Beilein tends to gloss over road wins at Villanova and Oklahoma when talking about the good scheduling factor, but he does have a point. Teams that are contending for a first round bye in the Big East tournament have to win at home, especially against good, but not great, foes such as Georgetown and Marquette. Still, even though the slate gets much tougher from here on out, Beilein welcomes the challenge.

"I think we sort of like it that way," he added with a wry tone.

RIFLE REPORTS

There is no news on the anticipated availability of center Kevin Pittsnogle, who will take the first available flight home should his wife, Heather, go into labor. The anticipated due date is Feb. 1., but the only thing more inaccurate than predicted delivery dates is next week's weather forecast.

"They went to the doctor today, but there is no news either way," Beilein said. "We are trying to be ready for anything, but God has a plan that you can't really predict. I am thinking more about the preparations to get him home for the birth than how WVU will prepare if we don't have him. We have paid very little attention to that, because it pales in comparison to what he and his wife will be experiencing. We will look at that a little bit over the next two days.

In answer to a somewhat naïve question about Pittsnogle's state of mind, Beilein retorted, "I would hope he is distracted like crazy. This is a big event. During practice we have a cell phone that a manager carries, and Heather knows all of the numbers. It might be a distraction, but it should be. If he can't make a game, then we just play on through it and get better. We want them to have a healthy baby, and we would prefer that over a healthy game."

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Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, noting his team's schedule, opined that the Big East might be acquiescing to television too much, and that made-for-TV matchups are making it too tough on upper echelon league teams. Beilein was asked for his opinion on the matter.

"I don't have Jim's experience in all that. This is West Virginia's first time on CBS in over 20 years," he noted. "We are in a different situation than Syracuse and UConn, so every chance we have now to get on TV is good. In the long run I will have to see if it will run down our team. Jim has a point, but with the exposure of college basketball everywhere, the Big East has to be a part of that. But Jim Boeheim is so smart about so many things; I don't want to get in an argument with him. He's a very bright man.

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Beilein also offered this opinion on UCLA:

"While I was a great fan of college basketball growing up, they were so dominating that it was like the Yankees. It was tough to love them, even though you have great respect for them. Now that I look back as a coach, I marvel at what Coach Wooden was able to do there. Other coaches have had success, but they are held to the standard of what he was able to do."

We have won a few games in a row, but a win here would enhance our ability to get to the NCAAs. It's a chance to travel and play a storied program, and win or lose we will take something out of this.


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