As the third round of the NIT looms, Mazzulla believes he has finally progressed through most, if not all, of the items on that checklist. An honest and up-front interview, Mazzulla has admitted to setbacks in the process, most notably five missed games in the middle of the season after suffering a deep thigh bruise in the waning moments of the win over Marshall. Now, however, with a trip to New York City on the line, WVU's only real substitute at the guard spot is fully recovered and believes he has made up for that lost time.
Mazzulla has also acclimated himself to not only substituting for starter Darris Nichols, but also to playing alongside him. With Beilein opting for a three-guard rotation (starter Alex Ruoff is the third), it's become even more incumbent upon Mazzulla to make good decisions, since he is handling the ball more than ever before.
His improvement in that area was on display in West Virginia's 90-77 win over UMass, as he repeatedly broke the Minutemen's desperate attempts at traps in the backcourt, then took advantage by pushing the ball hard to the basket and either dishing off or drawing fouls. He ended up with eight points, six of which came on a perfect night at the free throw line, and didn't make a bad decision in the process. He also put up an all important "zero" in the turnover column, which was instrumental as WVU opened a double-digit lead in the games final minutes. Those are numbers he didn't get in similar situations earlier in the season, and clearly show how far he has developed in a very short time.
Listen as Mazzulla discusses the differences in his game and looks forward to the chance to play again in Madison Square Garden.