Men's Basketball, WVU Sports

Mountaineers head early to Boston for Villanova

MORGANTOWN — The layover in Morgantown for the WVU men’s basketball team lasted just 32 hours.

Because of a winter-weather advisory in the Northeast — a major storm could hit the Boston area as early as today — the Mountaineers left Morgantown, at 3 p.m. March 20 to reach their Sweet 16 destination. They were originally scheduled to leave today.

The fifth-seeded Mountaineers (26-10) will play No. 1 seed Villanova (32-4), at 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Boston’s TD Garden.

WVU didn’t arrive home from San Diego until 7 a.m. Monday, following a 94-71 victory against Marshall, late Sunday, in the NCAA’s second round.

“It’s been tough,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said. “It would have been nice to stay in town for another day. Early morning practices are tough, too, after what they went through travel-wise.

“You can look at it one of two ways: Either we’re prepared, because we do travel more than virtually any team in the country. or we’re going to be worn out. Hopefully, it’s not going to be that we’re worn out.”

The Wildcats (32-4) have the travel advantage.

Villanova played Saturday, in Pittsburgh, defeating Alabama in a game that tipped off at noon. The Wildcats were then able to bus 305 miles back to their campus, near Philadelphia.


Villanova head coach Jay Wright

While Huggins is known for his black pullover and slacks, Villanova head coach Jay Wright is known as one of the best-dressed coaches in college basketball.

The web site named Wright the best-dressed college basketball coach this season.

This season, Huggins gave Kansas coach Bill Self and Kentucky coach John Calipari their own pullovers that they wore for their games against the Mountaineers.

Don’t expect the same gesture for Wright.

“No, I haven’t” given him one, Huggins said. “Actually, I don’t have any smalls.

“I don’t think he would wear it. He’d wear it, but he wouldn’t wear it when I was around.”


The Wildcats’ 419 3-pointers lead the country, and junior point guard Jalen Brunson (19.1 ppg) is a national Player of the Year candidate.

He is joined by teammate Mikal Bridges (18.0 ppg) as one of the top guard combinations in the country.

That is not unusual for the Wildcats under Wright.

The list of guards to play at Villanova under Wright is impressive, including the likes of Maalik Wayns, Corey Fisher, Scottie Reynolds, Kyle Lowry, Ryan Arcidiacono and Randy Foye.

In past seasons, Huggins often discussed WVU guards Daxter Miles Jr. and Jevon Carter with the hopes of them encompassing the style of play that Villanova uses under Wright.

“He recruits great guards,” Huggins said of Wright. “I think they’ve bene tagged as Guard U, which helps. Obviously, Jay does a great job in recruiting, but he also does a great job in coaching, and he puts them in situations where they can be successful. Their spacing is terrific. He’s got guys who can make shots, but he’s also got guys who can bounce it.”