When watching West Virginia take on No. 15 Iowa State Wednesday night, I felt a sense of a hate between the two schools for the first time since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 Conference.
From things being written in newspapers to signs being displayed making light of a common stereotype, I truly felt both schools going back and forth in trying to defend what they believe is right.
In this potential rivalry between WVU and ISU, I’ve noticed both schools playing a bit more aggressive than usual, both crowds getting riled up about every foul call and even the coaches getting involved.
It’s becoming evident both schools have brought a new level of disdain in these head-to-head games. Whether it’s because WVU’s closest Big 12 foe proximity-wise is Iowa State, or because the Mountaineers put up 102 points against then-No. 11 Iowa State earlier this season, both schools have drawn a bit of attention in the college basketball world.
I felt the hate for West Virginia for the first time Wednesday night since the conference change. With ISU fans attacking WVU fans on social media, I saw the same thing from Mountaineer fans getting back at the Cyclones’ supporters. Whether it’s just the heat of the moment, with how important the games have been in terms of postseason play, or if a real rivalry is brewing here, a new level of excitement is brought to WVU and Iowa State games.
It may just be a similar scenario to what transpired between Kansas State and its “K-State Mask” video prior to the Wildcats taking on the Mountaineers in football in the 2012 season. Something between West Virginia and Iowa State felt a bit different in these last few weeks, however. West Virginia may have not found its new Pittsburgh replacement, but the recent events with Iowa State have drawn some attention on and off the court.
From the starting tip to the last few moments, I noticed WVU and Iowa State put it all out there on the court. I’m not saying both teams don’t want to win every game when they step out on the court, but there was extra incentive.
The Cyclones obviously had revenge on their minds after getting flat-out embarrassed in Morgantown a few weeks ago. Pittsburgh native and former Marshall player DeAndre Kane wanted to improve his all-time record against West Virginia.
There were multiple storylines going into the game Wednesday night, but in terms of what transpired in the 40 minutes, there is a lot we can talk about moving forward with these two teams.
I saw multiple reporters talking about the potential of an incident or two happening during the game because of the aggressive action from the opening minutes. WVU had to battle a hostile and intimidating Iowa State crowd, while the Cyclones wanted to keep their momentum going as the Big 12 tournament and NCAA Tournament rapidly approach.
Has West Virginia found its new rival in the Big 12 in Iowa State, or have a few incidents just been blown out of proportion? Time will ultimately answer those questions.