Column - Fans should embrace games in Pittsburgh
Published: Monday, March 12, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 00:03
The Brackets are filled, the times are set and the locations have been determined.
It's time to see who the Cinderella slipper fits, who is this year's Kemba Walker and who will be cutting down the nets on April 2 in New Orleans.
Head coach Bob Huggins and the West Virginia men's basketball team will begin its play in the NCAA tournament Thursday night against Gonzaga.
The Mountaineers earned a 10-seed in the tournament after some speculated their fate may be in the NIT.
But, Huggins' team is in the field of 68, and anything can happen.
I don't know if you've heard, but the game will be played just 75 miles to the north in Pittsburgh.
Gonzaga, however, will have more than 2,200 miles to travel before reaching the CONSOL Energy Center – the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins that will now serve as a basketball arena.
Despite the fact the Mountaineers have struggled mightily this season, especially as of late, the selection committee has provided them with a great opportunity to use geography to their advantage.
And that's where you come in.
The admittance of West Virginia University into the Big 12 Conference next season means there will be fewer opportunities to attend games close to Morgantown.
Have you enjoyed the nice seven-hour trip to New York City for the Big East Conference tournament?
Well, the Big 12 Conference tournament is held in Kansas City, Mo., a mere 15-hour trip.
This is by no means your "last chance" to enjoy a postseason West Virginia basketball game, but opportunities like this aren't going to present themselves as often in the future.
The Mountaineers will have multiple key players participating in the big dance for the first time.
Why not provide them with a home game-like environment to ease the butterflies?
I guarantee "Buckeye Nation" will be in full force to support its second-seeded Ohio State squad.
This would be a perfect chance to compete with one of the largest fan bases in the country by presenting Pittsburgh with "Mountaineer Nation."
There is no need for me to try to make reasons for why you should attend, because the reason is simple.
Future hall-of-famer Bob Huggins wants you there.
Seniors Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant need you there.
And, I'm sure, deep down, you want to be there.
Purchase a pair of tickets, take the hour-and-a-half trip up Interstate-79, and help provide support for a team that needs it.
Trust me, opportunities like this don't present themselves very often.