WVU faces Marquette in Big East Tournament
Published: Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 00:03
In the Big East Conference Tournament, nothing comes easy.
During the 2010 Big East Tournament in New York City, six lower-seeded opponents upset their higher-seeded foes, with then No. 8-seed Georgetown falling just one win short of winning the conference tournament.
This year, Marquette hopes to be this year's version of the Hoyas by attempting to ride upsets to a deep run.
The West Virginia men's basketball, on the other hand, is looking to avoid becoming an upset victim against the Golden Eagles.
"You never know what is going to happen," said guard Casey Mitchell. "On any given night, anything can happen in the Big East Tournament."
The unpredictability of the Big East Tournament is something Mitchell said gives the players a little extra emotion come this week in March.
"With the players, we know if we don't win, we are going home," Mitchell said. "We know we can't afford anymore losses if we want to have a good seed in the tournament. We have to buckle down and get some wins."
Thriving in pressured conditions is something that helped spurred the Mountaineers to their 2010 Big East Tournament Championship and their subsequent run to the Final Four.
However, it is not just skill that teams rely on to win. Huggins said it will also take a bit of good fortune to return to the title game this year.
"You have to be lucky, and you can't be unlucky," Huggins said. "When you look at the Big East champions throughout the years, they have had some fortunate things happen to them."
The Mountaineers will look to fend off an upset bid against Marquette with WVU's stellar defense, which is led by senior forward John Flowers.
The 6-foot-9 forward was the driving force behind a WVU defense that held opposing offenses to 66.7 points per game and a 28.8 shooting percentage from three, which was No. 6 in the nation.
"John can guard perimeter guys and John can guard post guys," said head coach Bob Huggins. "He is an extremely versatile defender."
Flowers' teammates have talked all season long about how important he has been to the team defensively, but also, offensively.
"Without him this year, I don't know where we would be," said Cam Thoroughman. "Some nights on the offensive end and some nights on the defensive end he carried us."