Posted on: November 3, 2011 8:38 pm

The Big East... What Could Have Been

I know, you probably wonder why a West Virginia fan is posting anything in a positive tone regarding the Big East, but I truly feel that this conference missed a golden opportunity over a year ago.  Remember when the Big East "Basketball" Conference made an offer to TCU and they accepted?  Well, they should have taken the proactive steps then and invited at least five if not seven more schools to bring the football league up to either 14 or 16 teams... a preemptive strike ahead of all others.  By doing this, the conference probably would be a very formidable power within the mix of BCS conferences.  This would have also enabled many of the current rivalries to continue.  Most of the teams wouldn't have incurred that much more travel given the Eastern and Western divisions.

Western Division:
Boise State
Air Force

Eastern Division:
West Virginia
South Florida
East Carolina

I know, this is all looking in the rear view mirror now... but I would have been very excited at all of the positive possibilities had this happened.  All I can do now is hope the best for all teams and all conferences in this true mess called realignment.

Posted on: March 28, 2010 7:56 pm

MEAC, Big 12, PAC 10, SEC and now on to the ACC

Morgan State, Missuori, Washington, Kentucky and now the Mountaineers have found themselves in their first final four since Jerry West donned a WVU uniform in 1959 against another one of the most renowned programs in the country... Duke.  Can the gritty and determined Mountaineer squad led by home bred Coach Huggins find it in them to move one step closer to a first ever National Championship?

This team has been playing their best basketball of the season going all the way back to the Big East Championship run, another first for the "good guys".  They have played the last two games without Truck Bryant, the starting point guard for most of the season.  Rumor has it that he will be attempting to play in the final four although I have seen conflicting stories.  In either case, Joe Mazzula has been the true leader of this team in the Big Dance so far and I do not see that changing.

If any of you West Virginia fans haven't read the article yet, Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports posted a great story today on what this team and Coach Huggins means to the state of West Virginia.  The link is below.

Huggins is making it perfectly clear that his goal is not the final four, it is the National Championship.  Now whether that happens in this his third year, or not, I believe it will be achieved while he is at the helm.  This team is not glamorous but they find ways to win ball games and much of it stems from the tenacious defense they play to go along with the offensive rebounding.  As witnessed yesterday, if they can't hit two pointers, they do have the ability to shoot long range as well... bringing the defense outside and opening up the middle for quick cuts.

No matter what happens this coming Saturday, I am so proud of what this Mountaineer team has accomplished this year and will be looking forward to more in the years to come!

On a side note, I converted my wife (born and raised all of her life in Ohio) to a WVU football fan three years ago and have been season ticket holders since then.  She has now become a basketfall fanatic for these Mountaineers but states this is where she "draws the line".

Congrats to Duke, Michigan State and Butler for making it to the 2010 Final Four!  Let's Go Mountaineers!

Posted on: March 26, 2010 7:30 am

WVU Survives Washington... on to Elite Eight

Although Truck Bryant has been in a slump recently, you could see how his ball handling would have helped against the Huskie pressure. Then watching Butler go down in obvious pain last night, Mountaineer nation had to be holding their collective breath.  Fortunately, it appears to have been nothing serious.  Washington played a very good first half, and they appear to be a power to be reckoned with in the PAC 10 next year as well.

Next up... Kentucky at 7:05 pm Saturday in Syracuse.  This will be the biggest test yet for West Virginia as I feel the Wildcats are the top team left in this wild 2010 tournament.  If the Mountaineers somehow find a way to get past UK, getting to the championship game could be feasible.  But a victory over Kentucky would be a monumental feat for a team with one real point guard (Mazzula), even with a healthy Bryant, WVU would still be the definite underdog here.

Keys to the game... Butler has to shoot better than 5-16.  Great defensive play.  Offensive rebounds.  Reduced turnovers.  Along with Butler, Mazzula, Wellington Smith, Kevin Jones and Devin Ebanks - West Virginia needs great play from their bench, specifically Mitchell, Flowers, Pepper and Kilicli.  They need to take the ball to the basket and hope to get Kentucky into some early foul trouble if possible.

This Mountaineer fan is certainly hoping to see West Virginia reach the final four for the first time since Jerry West helped guide WVU to the 1959 championship game. 

Let's Go Mountaineers!

Posted on: March 19, 2010 8:11 am


Will yesterday's losses by Notre Dame, Georgetown and Marquette in day 1 send a loud message to Syracuse, West Virginia, Pitt and Louisville?  Let us not forget the disputed ending to the Villanova game in overtime as well.  Unlike a majority of the media and some of the fan bases, I have not viewed the Big East conference as the "super power" this season that many would have you believe it is.  Yes, I think it is one of the better conferences in the country but I certainly don't view the Big East in basketball as I view the SEC in football.

Did yesterday's results wreak havoc on my brackets?  Sure they did, and I am sure it probably did the same to many of your brackets out there in "Big Dance" land as well.  My view is that the media is the center of the problem here in building up this perception (or misperception if you will), just as they have done in the past with Big Ten football (until the conference redeemed itself last year during the bowl season).  That was not meant to be a cheap shot at your conference Big Ten fans, just my opinion that sometimes conferences are overrated just based upon past history and it does take a while before perceptions change.

Maybe this should serve as a signal to the Big East that the conference doesn't need 16 basketball schools, and that the conference as a whole would benefit more by having 10 or 12 schools with both football and basketball programs.  Anyway, I'm hoping that day 2 results are a lot more satisfying for Big East fans than yesterday's choke-fest.

Regardless of the outcomes, the Big Dance is still exciting to witness.  Best of luck to all of those teams and fans which are still dancing and may the best team win!

Let's Go Mountaineers!

Posted on: March 17, 2010 10:44 am

Change Can Be Good

Although I have been back here at CBS Sports technically for two years, I have spent most of my on-line fantasy sports and blogging time over the last three years on the Sporting News site where I had a chance to make many friends and enjoy some high quality bloggers. 

Their site is undergoing many drastic changes which has prompted me to return full time to CBS Sports so that I can blog (if wanted), comment on articles and other blogs, support my West Virginia Mountaineers and participate in some of the best fantasy sports games on line.

I look forward to interacting with all of you sports fans both in your blogs and comments but also in fantasy sports competition as well.

Thanks!  Change indeed can be good.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or