The View From 217 - Capital City Style

Once again Coach Beilein has put smiles on the faces of the Mountaineer fans, this time by returning WVU to the top of the heap in the Mountaine State.

One of the first things that was asked of him, in his first fundraising dinner in Charleston last spring was "Please, whatever you do, beat Marshall."

Beilein commented on this again after the game, joking that some Mountaineer fans would be satisfied with a 1-27 record, so long as the one was over the Herd.

Well, the Mountaineers pulled another one out of the fire against the Herd on Wednesday. The series, which has been dominated by WVU (10-2 over the last twelve seasons) has actually provided entertaing basketball for much of the run in Charleston. The Capital City Classic was decided by less than ten points for the fifth year in a row.

This was a great game, punctuated by good defense, timely shooting and good execution. Oh, and a tremendous crowd for the Mountaineers. Of the reported 11,981 in attendance, at least two-thirds of that had to be wearing gold and blue. They were loud, they were proud, and make no mistake, they helped this team get over the hump.

* JD Collins is very underrated as a defender, if you ask me. Sitting courtside all evening watching him stick to A. W. Hamilton like glue really impressed me. I have no doubt that if Jarmon's outside shot improves as much as his defense has over the course of the season that he can be a tremendous point-guard for WVU in the years to come.

Let's not forget that he is just a freshman, the third straight true freshman to start at the point for WVU. I am hoping that this one is around a little longer than the other two.

*Josh Yeager and Chaz Briggs are starting to work their way back into some prime playing time for Coach Beilein. This is a difficult offense to master, and this has limited Beilein from being able to play some of his players in multiple positions. It is hard to keep Kevin Pittsnogle on the bench, or Tyrone Sally, but Briggs and Yeager are slowly forcing Beilein to keep them on the floor more as the game unfolds. And this team will need some senior leadership as the season winds down.

* Kevin Pittsnogle continues to amaze me. I will admit it, I was one of the people who saw him in the State Tournament in Charleston last year and shook my head at the prospect of him helping us out much this season, if ever. I can't tell you how glad I am to be wrong.

Kevin is developing a nice inside game, and he had some nice positioning inside against a much stronger Ardo Armpalu in the Marshall game. I would have liked to see him get the ball more in the post, to see what he could do. Development of his inside game will do nothing but help his perimeter shooting, as if it needed much.

*Drew Schifino is quickly becoming a force in the Big East. I doubt he makes any of the All-league teams, because we are West Virginia, but he knows how to get the ball in the hoop. And that, my friends, is the whole idea of the game.

*The Charleston Civic Center seemed bound and determined to cram every reporter they could into press row on Wednesday evening. I have gone to football stadiums where people were having to squeeze pretty good just to get everyone on the row. And this made Beaver Stadium (Penn State's notoriously crowded football venue)look like elbow room paradise.

* The Civic Center also wins the award for the worst food served to the media in my short history of attending games as a quasi-media guy. Tonight's perks were that I didn't have to sit in Section 232, Row O with the rest of the crew from Suttle & Stalnaker, and a free buffet in the media room.

I have never known a place that couldn't muster up a half decent set of chicken fingers. Until now. I could have eaten the basketball floor and done more justice to my teeth. And the meatballs were cold, and the pig-n-blankets were cold. But, free food is free food. Not like the free Miller products we got at the Continental Tire Bowl, though.

* The new gold uniforms looked sweet. I love the West over the number, and Virginia under the number, like we went back to last season. And these new gold uniforms are sharp. The white trim on the numbers really made them stand out as well.

*I am sick of kowtowing to the legislature for the Marshall game. (Sorry about that, Senator Hunter.) While he never misses a game, there were dozens of empty seats in the section reserved for the politicos. And I am sure it looked crappy on TV. People are packed into the baseline seats, in the back row against the wall, but there are twenty seats at the foul line, five rows up, empty. Pathetic.

If you want the game played on a weeknight during the session so you can be there, at least have the decency to show up.

Or let us move the game back on campus, on a weekend, where it belongs.

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