Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Backyard Brawl: Basketball Style

Attended last night's version of the "Backyard Brawl" at the WVU Coliseum and, well, it wasn't nearly as competitive as I had envisioned it being. Apparently some tickets had been returned by someone or something and I was able to snag a couple from the ticket office, which were waiting at will call. Arrived about 30 minutes before tip and was actually able to find a parking space at one of the nearby churches. After a quick journey and a tour for Stanley and I around the perimeter of the Coliseum to find the Red Gate, we finally had tickets and headed into a pretty rowdy atmosphere.

The tickets were obviously not great. Sitting in the Jerry West section sounds good...until you actually get in the Jerry West section and realize you are actually on top of the Coliseum. But, I could see the court without my glasses and I could definitely see the horrendous officiating of the dynamic duo: Tim Higgins and Jim Burr. A classic, hideous combination.

Other than the classic chant for Pittsburgh to dine on....ummmm, not such good stuff, the only good cheer the student section had going was for #2 Levance Fields. Every time Fields touched the ball, shouts of "Taser" filled the Coliseum. Apparently Fields had been involved in an incident in Pittsburgh that involved him being, you know, tasered. Some bright individual even made a cardboard cutout of a giant taser to attempt to rattle Fields. It didn't seem to work as Fields as Pitt's leading scorer. But it was funny nonetheless.

But Levance Fields and the rest of his Pitt brethren had no answer for Joe Alexander, Darris Nichols and the rest of the Mountaineers on Senior Night in Morgantown. WVU took control of the game early and just pounded on the Panthers all night long. WVU won the game by 14-points but it really wasn't even that close. WVU dominated every aspect of the game, including out-rebounding Pitt 35-30.

Following the performance, Stanley and I headed over to Damon's to get, you know, food and watch a little basketball there. Then, without warning, the room burst into applause as senior guard and all-time starts leader for the Mountainners, Darris Nichols, came in to also, you know, eat. Stanley congratulated him and that was about it I guess. Nichols has definitely had a solid and stellar career as a Mountaineer and is probably very under-appreciated for all his efforts.

At the end of the day, it was a good day for the Mountaineers. This win, coupled with a win at St. John's on March 8th, should assure WVU a spot in the NCAA Tournament. If, for some reason, the Mountaineers collapse against St. John's, they'll probably need at least one win the Big East Tournament. But an 11-7 record in the Big East is pretty solid and should get them in...big, big win on Monday night. And on national television at that. Great day...

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