SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
The Citadel has alternated wins and losses in opening 3-2, beating Kenyon College, Eastern Michigan and Maryland-Eastern Shore and losing to Charleston Southern and Missouri State. An experienced team – the Bulldogs start four juniors and a senior – The Citadel plays an outside-in game featuring guards Cameron Wells (6-1, 195 lbs.) and Zach Urbanus (6-2, 170 lbs.) and center Joe Wolfinger (7-0, 255 lbs.). Wells, an All-SoCon pick last year, averages a team-high 16.8 points per game and ripped Charleston Southern for 23 earlier this year. He will take the majority of the shots from the guard slot, but isn't as prolific from long range as Urbanus. Instead, Wells often drives and dishes or takes jumpers inside the arc. His quickness and strength in the lane will provide a solid test for Truck Bryant, who continues to improve defensively. Urbanus, likely matched against Casey Mitchell, is one of the best shooters WVU will play this season. The lanky junior already has 13 threes on the season and has moved into fifth place on the school's all-time list. He has extensive collegiate experience and is listed as the team's vocal leader.
Wolfinger, who will have at least four-inch height advantage on any Mountaineer starter, is hitting for 15.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. A University of Washington transfer, Wolfinger has an above-average shot from beyond the paint. He isn't overly aggressive on the boards, though, and his style is somewhere between the traditional American and European styles. Forwards Bryan Streeter (6-6, 230 lbs.) and Austin Dahn (6-4, 200 lbs.) combine for just more than nine points and four rebounds per game. They are role players for head coach Ed Conroy. Streeter is athletic and has steadily improved defensively. Dahn, the swingman, is streaky. He connected on 32.7 percent of his threes last season, ranking second on the team only to Urbanus, and is quickly approaching the top five in school history in threes. This is an area in which West Virginia should have significant advantages with Da'Sean Butler and Kevin Jones.
Reserves Cosmo Morrabi (6-2, 190 lbs.) and Harrison DuPont (6-5, 205 lbs.) are the first two players off the bench. Morrabi, a sophomore guard, has a solid shot from anywhere on the floor. He has the strength to get past defenders and into the lane. He'll routinely play 20-plus minutes and seems primed to contribute over his final few seasons. DuPont, a freshman, was a McDonald's All-American nominee. He isn't flashy, but has the fundamentals and size to make an impact for a handful of minutes per game. The staff also uses Matt Clark (6-8, 215 lbs.) and Mike Groselle (6-8, 230 lbs.) with the latter seeing more time of late. Clark added 10 pounds in the offseason, but still needs to physically mature. Groselle is a banger and will control the paint with brute power. He can score around the rim and is adept at catching passes on the move in the lane.
The hope for the initial two games was that West Virginia could ease into its schedule prior to more difficult contests in the 76 Classic. But the Mountaineers will likely be without Joe Mazzulla for this game. With John Flowers limited and Devin Ebanks out with a personal issue, WVU has not been able to begin to mesh and play as a unit. West Virginia needs to continue to work on its defense against The Citadel – a lot of man sets allows this area to be a focus sans who is on the floor – and perhaps work fundamentals. Other than trying to play intelligently and with more intensity than in the opener and seeing if guards Truck Bryant and Casey Mitchell can work well off each other, this game is a get-through on the way to Anaheim. Beware the outside shooting of the Citadel and its ability to be a better match for West Virginia on the blocks than was Loyola.
|Tues. Nov. 24
Charleston Civic Center
WVU 1-0, 0-0
The Citadel 3-2, 0-0
West Virginia 7-2
|Sirius Channel: None|
WVU - 29
The Citadel - 142
WVU: Joe Mazzulla (Shoulder) – Unlikely to Play-Precautionary; Devin Ebanks (Personal Issue) – Out; John Flowers (Metatarsal Injury) – Game-time decision.
The Citadel: None.
West Virginia faces a quick turnaround after playing The Citadel. The Mountaineers, who have played just one game thus far, will bus to Cincinnati immediately following tonight's game. They will take a 9 a.m. EST flight to Los Angeles on Wednesday, then tip-off against Long Beach State in the opening game of the 76 Classic Thursday at 2 p.m. EST.
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This is just the second meeting between the schools since 1964. The teams met annually from 1958-64 as members of the Southern Conference. The lone neutral site meeting was in 1959 at Richmond Arena.
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The Citadel is playing its fourth game in five days, the busiest stretch of the schedule for the Bulldogs. Ed Conroy is 0-1 against West Virginia (63-36 in 2006). Bob Huggins has never faced The Citadel.