Waiting Game

West Virginia's extra day of prep also means an extra 48 hours in New York. That translates to a lot of down time for a squad looking for the three Rs – rest, relaxation and yet another run.

The third-seeded Mountaineers (20-9, 11-5 Big East) earned a first round bye for the first time in school history. They won't play until Thursday – against the winner of the Louisville-Pitt game – and even then tip time isn't until 9 p.m. That's a full four-day layoff since the regular season finale' against Cincinnati, and few hours change.

"I have only had this happen one time in my coaching career (waiting the first day for teams to play). We can handle it," WVU head coach John Beilein said. "One thing we have learned is that just because a team played the night before, that does not make a difference."

Indeed, West Virginia will need to be fully prepped for either foe, both of whom it has played, and won against, in the last 10 days. That stemmed largely from WVU's ability to rest and regain the spring in its step for shooting. It hit 77 of 173 shots (44.5 percent), right on its season average, but well above what it had been shooting in the Big East and during its four losses in five games.

WVU surprised No. 1 seed Boston College last season, and could use at least a split in the Big East Tournament to maintain what most experts have penciled in as a top five NCAA seeding.

"We should be pretty fresh," Frank Young said. "Coach is taking advantage of this, not pushing us too hard. We went hard (Monday), and will go easier (Tuesday). It's a relaxing day so we can keep getting our legs back."

West Virginia plans to pass time in New York with film sessions and a heavy dose of the opponent once that has been decided. The players will have a chance to watch most of the first round games on television, but will not attend any. They will also have a shoot around in Madison Square Garden, provided they get there on time. The Mountaineers were delayed by weather last season, turning a routine trip into a 12-hour bus ride odyssey.

"It's very unique, kind of a funny feeling," Beilein said. "We still want to be the hunter. You will never see me say we are the favorites. We'll see a very good defense either way, with Louisville's 2-3 and Pitt's man. For the kids, we will try to fill time, but we want them to rest, too."

That might not seem to be much of a problem, but players like Jo Herber will use every moment to study, read, or try and engage teammates in conversation. Others, however…

"I like (the 9 p.m. tip times) because we don't have to get up as early," Young said.

That doesn't apply to coaches, who will piece together the game plan early on Thursday. The team will have films and scouting reports available of both teams, as well as a taped version of the Big East first round game. The strategy will be discussed with the players, then gone over again right before the game.

"We have a target, but we want to be hungry," Young said. "Some people don't respect West Virginia because of the name, even though we are ranked and all that. We still have to prove things."

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