Nailbiters

West Virginia has seen its last four basketball games go right down to the wire, and head coach John Beilein sees no reason for that trend to end.

"It was another typical game for us," head coach John Beilein said of WVU's 71-70 win over Notre Dame. "Our last four games have all gone down to the last 15 seconds. We'll take the win, though. "We had some bad bounces of the ball that led to earlier losses, and we've gotten some good ones to get these wins.

"There's no secret to surviving," Beilein said of the edge-of-your-seat thrillers. "You can do everything perfectly and lose, or you can screw up a play and have the ball bounce off someone's head and you win."

That very thing happened a couple of times to WVU against the Irish, when two or three Mountaineers batlting for a ball ended up swatting it right to a Notre Dame player that promptly hit a three-pointer. Fortunately for West Virginia, it didn't cost it the game, but it perfectly illustrated Beilein's point.

RIFLE REPORTS

Beilein again downplayed his team's level of weariness.

"We'll find the energy somewhere. Everyone in the conference is tired."

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Beilein's system, which he has developed and refined from concepts taught by his uncle, who was a coach at LeMoyne, cointinues to evolve.

"You're not a good coach if you're not constantly reexamining what you do," he said. "Of course, good players and the experience of seniors helps a lot."

* * *

While noting that good players are required to run his scheme, the veteran coach noted that there are more factors to making a good player than just talent.

"Good players are worth nothing without good chemistry. That's one of the thing that makes a good player," he explained. "You have to be a teammate, and have people willing to play together. If you aren't, you need to play an individual sport like track or golf or tennis.

"You can teach and build it," he continued, "but it's a process. It takes time to become a college player."

* * *

Beilein also noted that senior center Kevin Pittsnogle has an advantage in shooting from the outside over his teammates.

"Not only does he open the floor for us, but he doesn't have to get as open," Beilein detailed. "He can shoot over most people. And a 6-1 guy closing out on him doesn't bother him at all."

* * *

In looking ahead to Cincinnati, Beilein sees at least on characteristic the Bearcats share with his Mountaineers.

"In watching their tape this morning, I am impressed with the way they take care of the ball. The are also very athletic and paly great defense."


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