Sleeping With The Enemy: The Mountaineers of West Virginia

I don't know how you feel about it, but these 11am starts are kind of nice.  Wake up, hose down, throw down a bagel, head to the game, and two hours later it's 1pm, time for lunch, and you have the entire rest of the day in front of you to get bombed and make bad decisions.  As usual we here at the LEGENDARY BLOG CASUAL HOYA are bringing you everything you need to know about Georgetown's next opponent.  Special thanks to Mike Casazza of The Daily Mail, the single greatest source of West Virginia hoops knowledge in the universe, for providing answers to our always intriguing questions.  Mr. Casazza, this St. Pauli Girl is for you. 

Last year was very successful for West Virginia. A Big East Tournament Championship and a Final Four birth. When you guys look back at 2009-2010, what will be the lasting highlight?

Initially I'd pick Jimmy Johns, Midvale, Ohio, and trucks with no rear-view mirrors -- all staples from any Bob Huggins press conference during March. I'll instead pick the most memorable. When WVU won the Big East Tournament, the players and coaches and anyone else on the WVU bench that night stormed the Madison Square Garden floor and had absolutely no clue what to do except go bonkers. This is a school that hasn't had many occasions like that and I kind of enjoyed watching people lose their minds in elation.


More fun with fun people after The Jump:

Did you know that "Take Me Home, Country Roads" was written by a Georgetown graduate? How does that make you feel?

I'll answer your question with one of my own: Who the hell is Bill Danoff? You think about that. But seriously, my answer is simple. It makes me feel litigious. That's our song.

When you look at Michigan's sports program, do you laugh? Did you expect RichRod and John Beilein to struggle as much as they have?

I don't laugh at them because I legitimately feel bad for them -- the school and the coaches. I expected Rodriguez to struggle acquiescing into the role of Michigan Man, but I thought he'd be a football success. I never knew he'd go to illegal extremes to reach that success while never, ever cozying up to the tradition. I like John a lot and I'll be forever grateful for the years we worked together, but I had doubts from the start he could recruit to that system in that area and then coach his system to success in a league like that.

Who is West Virginia's biggest rival in basketball?

This year it's themselves. Then Pitt.

Bob Huggins has been phenomenal for West Virginia. How many more years do you see him at the helm? Do you think this will be his last job before retiring?

This is definitely his last stop. He's never said it, but I can say that with complete confidence. How long he lasts is up to him. He's working on a lifetime contract, the president and AD love him and he banked a lot of longevity last year. I don't want to put a date on it because people in West Virginia might freak out and hold me to it, but I don't see him stepping aside before 2015.

West Virginia will be 1-2 in Big East play by the time they face Georgetown. Where do you think they finish in the conference? Who do you think will win the Big East regular season this year?

They look everything like a middle-of-the-pack team, which isn't terrible in this conference, but it is probably their ceiling unless some season-long traits go away in a hurry. They do some bizarre stuff and the repeated instances drive Huggins crazy. They don't have the undeniable talent or valuable depth the top tier teams have, but they're better than a bunch of others. And call me crazy, but I've liked everything I've seen from Syracuse this season. (Casual note: Crazy)

We still haven't recovered from our loss to Ohio State in the 2007 Final Four. Countless nights have been spent thinking about what would have happened if Jeff Green took more than five shots. Do you have similar nightmares about what could have been against Duke in last year's Final Four?

We're clear that I'm a newspaper guy, right? I haven't lost any sleep about that game...even if it'd be cool to cover a national championship game. Come to think of it, I've been on the cusp a few times in two sports and never made it. ... Thanks a lot. As for that night, I thought Duke was better before, during and definitely after the game. The matchups were in their favor and it was the best defensive team WVU had faced during their rally at the end of the year. The only scenario I sometimes think about is how Da'Sean Butler's ACL injury with 10 minutes left meant he never got hot late and WVU never had a shot to start a run with him. All month long when he got hot, the other team got nervous.

Do you read The Smoking Musket blog? Do you agree it is the worst site on the internet?

The what? Someone named their site that? Yes, that's the worst.

If you had to choose between a national championship in basketball or in football, which would you want more? Is your answer consistent with the rest of the fanbase?

Personally, I'd want the basketball one. I think it means more to win those six games in a row. It's the hardest championship to win. As for the fans, they want a football one. They've been so close before that I think it'd be therapeutic. They'd probably grow to complain about not winning by more though.

It's Friday night in Morgantown, where am I going to meet hot babes drink some beers and get my groove on?

Well, we've just met so I'm not inviting you to my house yet, but, in order, I'd suggest Vintage Room, Jay's Getaway and De Lazy Lizard.

Who are your best scorers and rebounders this year? Who is trying to fill the holes left by Da'Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks?

Best scorer is Casey Mitchell. Watch out if he gets hot. He'll make six 3s in a hurry. He might also miss six. Best rebounder is John Flowers. Jevin Jones is second in both. Everyone's trying to fill those holes, but mostly it's falling to Jones, who has to do Da'Sean's scoring and Devin's rebounding all while the other team knows that's the plan.

When I drove through West Virginia on a roadtrip I was blown away by the natural beauty of the state. Why do people give it such a bad rap?

Probably because they've never been and instead limit their minds to stereotypes. And, truth be told, there are some spots I would not suggest visiting.

I would argue that West Virginia has the hottest girls in the Big East until TCU joins. Do you agree? What do you think of TCU joining the conference?

Yes to both, but don't be mad that USF is late to the party. TCU's good for the Big East for football only. It's not a player in basketball and, quite frankly, the small sports are things people talk about but don't really care about all that much. I'm curious about TCU's staying power, though. Can they keep this going? Can they survive 12 games while playing in a bigger and more physical conference. Put it this way: What I saw in four quarters against Wisconsin gave me doubts the Horned Frogs would be as dominant through a season in a different conference. I know they won, but Wisconsin was so much bigger it made me think about the toll that would take on TCU game after game for a full season.

Jerry West is obviously the starting shooting guard on the All West Virginia starting five. Who rounds out that lineup?

Yikes, that's a good question. I'll take Greg Jones, Wil Robinson, West, Da'Sean and Rod Hundley. We'd get slaughtered on the glass, but we'd score 150 points. And the postgame would be ridiculous.

How do you see this game playing out? What will the final score be?

No predictions from me, but I think the Mountaineers feel pretty good about this. They got a win they needed and the loss to St. John's doesn't bug them as much now knowing they might be good this year. I'm certain you'd agree with that. They've been pretty good on the road and, no offense, Verizon Center at 11 a.m. probably won't be that intimidating. That said, WVU has a hard, hard time keeping guards out of the paint and that should excite the Hoyas. WVU has also had its issues with rebounding and with keeping both hands on the wheel and those are things Georgetown tests and can probably exploit.

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