Well at least 70 percent of college basketball nation will be watching the West Va-UCLA game this afternoon in Westwood. IMO this is a bigger game for West Va. a team that usually doesn't get to be on national tv all that much. Diane Pucin sets the stage:
"This is West Virginia's first time on CBS in over 20 years," Mountaineer Coach John Beilein said. "Every opportunity for us to be on TV is good."
But this is a big-deal game for the Bruins (15-3) as well. It is a chance to prove to a national audience that UCLA basketball is a factor. It is an opportunity for sophomores Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo to showcase themselves as one of the premier guard combos in the NCAA. It is a chance for Coach Ben Howland to display a team low on healthy bodies but high on everything else.
Defensively, West Virginia plays primarily zone, using either a 1-3-1 or2-3 to suck in dribblers and then suffocate them with double teams.
Yes, it's a different style than No. 18 UCLA sees in the Pacific-10, andwhen No. 12 West Virginia visits Pauley Pavilion today, it will be a contrast in styles between the leaders of the Big East and Pac-10.
"I'm still astounded sitting here that half the shots they take are threes, and their best two leading scorers are shooting 50 percent from three," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "Those guys (Pittsnogle and Mike Gansey) are both NBA prospects, and NBA players."
The Mountaineers are holding opponents to 63.8 points, and forcing nearly 19 turnovers per game with their varied defenses, which includes a splash of man-to-man.
"(Zone) is something you don't see every day," Howland said. "You'vegot to prepare for it, and attack it aggressively and take care of the ball because it's different angles in a 1-3-1 zone. They're basically forcing you to penetrate, and you have to be able to handle double teams and not turn the ball over, and make good decisions. Also, you have to make shots."