Hokies host WVU

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Virginia Tech will try to rebound against West Virginia on Tuesday afternoon in Cassell Coliseum.  The Hokies are 0-1 on the season, and an 0-2 start would be very difficult to overcome.  WVU is 1-0 after defeating Mount St. Mary’s 77-62.

West Virginia struggled last season, but still managed to knock off Virginia Tech 68-67 in Morgantown in a tightly contested game.  The Hokies will look to return the favor in Blacksburg this season.

Tech struggled to rebound against USC Upstate, and their challenge will be even greater against WVU.  The Mountaineers have one of the biggest frontcourts the Hokies will face this year.

G Juwan Staten (6-1, 190, Jr.): Staten led the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.9 last season.  He led the team with 22 points against Mount St. Mary’s.

G Eron Harris (6-3, 195, So.): Harris is a dangerous player who averaged 9.2 points per game as a freshman last year.  He had 19 points in WVU’s season opener.

F Nathan Adrian (6-9, 230, Fr.): Adrian is a Morgantown native.  Though he’s a big guy, he’s also known as a player who can shoot from the outside.  He nailed all three of his outside jumpers against Mount St. Mary’s.

F Devin Williams (6-9, 255, Fr.): Williams was a national top 100 player coming out of Florida.

F Kevin Noreen (6-10, 250, Jr.): Noreen isn’t much of a scorer, but he had 14 points and 12 rebounds against the Hokies last year.  Tech didn’t bother to guard Noreen on the perimeter, but he showed that he could knock down outside shots.

The Mountaineers don’t have great backcourt depth.  Juwan Staten played all 40 minutes against Mount St. Mary’s, while Eron Harris was on the court for 39 minutes.  WVU’s depth looks like this, including minutes played against in their season opener…

G Gary Browne (6-1, 195, Jr.): Browne played 21 minutes against Mount St. Mary’s, which shows that WVU can go to a three-guard lineup for the majority of the game if they so choose.

F Brandon Watkins (6-9, 235, Fr.): Watkins spent 18 minutes on the court in the opener.  He was a national top 150 prospect coming out of high school in Atlanta.

F Remi Dibo (6-7, 225, Jr.): Dibo played 12 minutes against Mount St. Mary’s.  He was a big time scorer in the JUCO ranks, and his career at WVU is just beginning.

G Chase Connor (6-1, 190, Fr.): Connor is a walk-on who led the state of West Virginia by averaging 27 points per game last season.  He only played one minute against Mount St. Mary’s, but he appears to be the ninth (and final) member of the rotation.  He is known as a guy who is a very effective outside shooter.

Bob Huggins wasn’t happy with his basketball team last year, so he brought in a number of new players.  Of the nine players who saw the court against Mount St. Mary’s, five of them were not in the program last season.  He’s hoping for much better play, and knowing his career and history, he’ll probably get exactly that.  This probably isn’t an NCAA Tournament team, but it can be an NIT team, I think.

I expect a physical game out of West Virginia on Tuesday afternoon.  The Hokies will have to play tougher on the inside than they did against USC Upstate, but that’s tough without C.J. Barksdale, their best rebounder.  Tech will need better play on the glass from their starting bigs…

Cadarian Raines: 4 rebounds in 26 minutes
Marshall Wood: 3 rebounds in 21 minutes

Meanwhile, backups Joey van Zegeren (7 rebounds in 22 minutes) and Christian Beyer (4 rebounds in 11 minutes) were much more efficient on the glass.  James Johnson will need his starters to be a lot more active on the inside against the Mountaineers.

Tip-off for Tuesdays game is scheduled for 1pm.  ESPN will provide the coverage.

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