Doubling Up

With the memories and controversies of West Virginia's recent home game against Pittsburgh still fresh in the minds of both players and fans, it is time for the two teams' second match-up of the season.

As has been highly publicized, the West Virginia fans displayed inappropriate behavior when playing host to the Panthers. After seeing West Virginia's fans throw items onto the court due to questionable calls and high emotions, senior forward Wellington Smith is anticipating the treatment that the Mountaineers will receive when they travel to Pittsburgh.

"Everyone saw how our fans treated them, we may get the same treatment or maybe worse," said Smith. "It's an intense game. They are probably really revved up for it. We are revved up for it. It's going to be a brawl until the end."

Despite the potential for a rather harsh environment, Smith is excited to see what the Pittsburgh fans will do to try and throw the Mountaineers off their game.

"The first time I saw a Snuggie being worn was at a Pitt game," Smith said with a laugh. "They do a lot of things. It's kind of funny. You want to be the first guy out of the locker room onto the floor to see what they have to say."

Although the chants and cheers can get offensive at times, Smith knows how important it is to take what the opponents say in stride and not let it affect his play.

"It's all in fun," said Smith. "It's a college sport in a college arena. You really can't get mad at people for acting the way that they do. It's supposed to be a game. Games can be fun and games can be hard to handle so we will see what happens. "

The Mountaineers are hoping to bounce back from their disappointing loss to Villanova on Monday. Pitt will, no doubt, be looking to get revenge after losing to the Mountaineers 70-51 on Feb. 3rd. Smith recognizes that WVU's game plan against the Panthers was successful the first time around, and they'll likely stick with it in the rematch. However, it was execution of that plan, especially defensively, that was the key in the first win.

"[Against Pitt] we played really good defense," said Smith. "We held their leading scorers to no points or below 20 points. I thought we did a really good job."

Smith had five points and five rebounds in that contest. He was 2-5 from the field and 1-4 from the three-point line in his 17 minutes of play.

A win on Friday would give the Mountaineers the regular season sweep and keep them in solid position for a top four finish in the league, which results in byes for the frst two rounds of the Big East tournament. It would be the first time that West Virginia swept the Panthers in the regular season since 2007, when Smith was a freshman.

"It would mean a lot [to get the regular season sweep]," said Smith. "Obviously Pittsburgh is a really good team coached by a really good coach and it just means a lot to West Virginia as a state and to us as a team to sweep them and get the win."


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