Did a Q&A with TheSmokingMusket, SBNation's West Virginia site.
1. How will WVU adjust to the sudden loss of Truck Bryant?
It seems that I am the only one that thinks this is a big loss for the Mountaineers. While he has struggled recently, he is still a better scoring guard than Mazzulla. If Da'Sean and Kevin Jones are facing double teams, I would rather see them kick it out to Bryant for 3, than Mazzulla. Can we win without Truck? Yes, but it will make it harder, especially if Mazzulla or Da'Sean get into foul trouble.
2. What's the key to WVU's success, the thing that makes you say: "If they don't ____ , they don't have a prayer"?
If we don't rebound the ball, we don't have a prayer. We are not a team that is going to shoot above 50% from the field or score 80+ points in a game. We are team that is going to play defense and out tough you on the glass. We need to rebound 40% of our missed shots in order to win the game. If UW can keep us off the glass, UW wins the game.
3. Just looking at the numbers, the Mountaineers play at a more methodical pace than do the Huskies. Can they get up and down with UW, or will they try to make it a half court game?
I think they can get up and down with the Huskies. A run and gun game may actually help what is ailing our offense. Playing faster will spread the court and allow Da'Sean, Mazzulla and Ebanks to penetrate and make plays. Mazz and Ebanks absolutely need "space" create their own shots. Da'Sean can drive, spin and score in a half court or fast paced game. Having said all that, I would rather play a half court game because I think UW will struggle with our man-to-man defense.
4. If you were drawing up the ideal gameplan to beat WVU, what would it look like?
Fast paced offense based on dribble penetration.
5. What's your biggest concern about facing Washington?
Fast paced offense based on dribble penetration. Oh no!
6. What is WVU's defense like, and why styles have been most effective at attacking it?
WVU's defense is man-to-man half court pressure. We switch every screen and bump cutters to slow them down. We are long and fairly athletic which allows us to swtich screens and not constantly face a mismatch. WVU will switch it up every once in a while and slide into a 1-3-1 or point drop zone. We are not as good playing this style of D but it makes an offense think and react quickly to a new style of play.
7. How do you see this game unfolding?
I see WVU getting out to a slow start. We will likely be down 7-8 points after the first TV timeout. Then we will slowly creep back into the game and likely lead by 1 or 2 going into the half. At start of the second half it will be a back and forth game with multiple lead changes and swings in momentum. WVU will succeed in slowing down UW's offense at times but they will still find opportunities to score transition buckets. In the last few minutes WVU will sink some key free throws and get a couple key defensive stops. WVU will win by 5 points 72 - 67.