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Saturday, January 03, 2009


January 3, 2009

West Virginia opens their Big East schedule with a trip to Newark (NJ) and a meeting with the Seton Hall Pirates. SHU opened Big East play on Tuesday and with head coach Bobby Gonzalez serving a one-game suspension, they were left defenseless against Syracuse in a 100-76 loss.

Here are some pregame stories and previews found on the web:

Butler Returns to Garden State (
Mountaineers Start Big East Play (
WVU-SHU Preview (
West Virginia Begins Big East at SHU (Martinsburg Journal)
Butler, Others Excited to Be Home (Charleston Gazette)

Seton Hall was not only missing their head coach against the Orange, but their most productive big man as well as John Garcia was out with an injured left knee. The 6’8, 260 pound Garcia would bring a huge lift back to the Pirates in battling the athletic front line of the Mountaineers that love to gobble up second chance opportunities.

SHU has lost three of their last four, including a loss at James Madison and at home to IUPUI in addition to the SU debacle. Garcia has missed all four of the games. With Garcia out of the line-up, SHU is strictly a perimeter team with Jeremy Hazell, Robert Mitchell and co. teeing it up from distance often. Against SU, that was not working, but they kept trying, going two for 27 in three-point attempts. They will need many more of those shots to fall and Garcia’s presence to bring some balance to their attack.

West Virginia is coming off an impressive road win at Ohio State last weekend, 76-48, as they knocked the Buckeyes from the ranks of the unbeaten. Alex Ruoff and Da’Sean Butler have taken turns being ‘the man’ offensively as WVU looks to replace the scoring of Joe Alexander from last year’s Sweet 16 club. Freshman Darryl Bryant has been a pleasant surprise playing point guard for the injures Joe Mazzulla and Devin Ebanks continues to bring a new element to the club each time out. Add in several 6’7+ forwards like Wellington Smith, Kevin Jones, John Flowers and Dee Proby, and you see why the Mountaineers are a tough match-up, especially for a thin team like SHU.

The current NCAA basketball odds list WVU as an 8 1/2-point road favorite. While SHU will play hard from start to finish, Bob Huggins’ team will have just too many pieces in the end to lose this game.


West Virginia 80
Seton Hall 71



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