Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
Here are the opinions du jour.
n Now that the collegiate basketball exhibition season has concluded in West Virginia, how did the West Virginia University and Marshall University men’s programs fare?
It depends on who is asked.
As usual, MU’s Danny D’Antoni is smiling.
But WVU’s Bob Huggins?
Uh, not so much.
The Thundering Herd’s D’Antoni is happily intrigued with his younger, taller, deeper, revamped roster.
“There’s a lot more opportunity for me as a coach to screw up,” said Marshall’s veteran head coach with a grin.
D’Antoni was smiling, but he wasn’t joking.
“Last year,” he said, “we didn’t have the size and athleticism we have this year.”
Marshall’s roster is punctuated by players standing 7-foot, 6-10 and a trio of 6-9 guys. And it showed during exhibition game wins over Glenville State, 100-66, and Rio Grande, 92-59.
“Our size matters,” said D’Antoni, after watching his Herd block 13 shots against Rio Grande. “That’s the way it should be. The last thing I said to them when I left the locker room to come to this press conference was, ‘We’ve got to get better.’
“So, we’ll keep working on it and see if we get better.”
Meanwhile, the Mountaineers’ Huggins was less than thrilled with a 78-70 win over Duquesne.
“I didn’t like much,” said Huggins, after the closer than expected win. “… We just didn’t run anything. We weren’t very good defensively and for what I think we need to be a really good team, I thought we were horrible.”
To add insult to injury, former Huntington High School star Tavian Dunn-Martin, 5-foot-8, 155-pound junior, scored a game-high 22 points on 7-for-16 shooting including 5-for-11 from 3-point range.
Huggins wasn’t happy with 6-10 sophomore Derek Culver’s seven point/eight rebound performance. He also didn’t like WVU’s 10-for-20 shooting from the foul line or the 6-for-23 (.261) performance from the 3-point line.
“Why wouldn’t I expect Derek to do what he did a year ago?,” asked Huggins rhetorically. “I think that’s fair.”
The veteran Mountaineer coach is also correct about the wayward foul-line and 3-point shooting.
“I thought we had made some strides this past week and, then, some of our older guys let us down,” said Huggins. “I say ‘let us down,’ meaning that they didn’t do what we practiced.”
The state of West Virginia’s only two Division I basketball programs both begin regular-season competition this week. Marshall hosts Robert Morris at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Cam Henderson Center, while WVU is home to Akron at 7 p.m. Friday in the WVU Coliseum.
Yes, it’s basketball season again.
n Ever wonder who the 130 FBS head coaches’ favorite musicians are?
Yet, it was a fun, irreverent idea for a story midway through the college football season. So, Stadium’s Brett McMurphy worked on it for two years.
Yes, two years.
So, now we know Clemson’s Dabo Swinney likes Garth Brooks, Alabama’s Nick Saban is an Eagles fan, LSU’s Ed Orgerson likes Creedence Clearwater Revival, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley prefers the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher is a George Strait fan.
WVU’s Neal Brown? Ah, he never misses a chance to play the home state card. He picked Wheeling’s Brad Paisley.
Of the 130 FBS coaches, 129 returned votes with Kenny Chesney winning (eight votes).
Who was the only coach not to vote?
Marshall’s Doc Holliday.