Tuesday, March 25, 2008

West Virginia Scouting Report

Here is a look at the West Virginia roster. We all know who the coach is. I will leave the pleasantries to Sean and his staff. The team had a nice sendoff from Cintas today and I am really looking forward to this matchup. I am very confident we will pull out the victory on Thursday for our second elite 8 trip in five years.

Starting 5:

#14 Darris Nichols 6-3 200 Sr. 10.8 PPG: I would term Darris as a 'scoring point guard'. He shoots the three at a 39% clip and if you crowd him he will take you to the hole. On top of that he has a great mid range pull up jump shot. His playmaking is adequate but not especially creative, and he possesses the quickness and strength to be an effective defender.

#22 Alex Ruoff 6-6 215 Jr. 13.8 PPG: Alex is a splendid three point shooter at 41%. He's a tad slow, not real strong, nor especially athletic. He also doesn't drive to the hole that often. On the other hand he plays smart (moves very well without the ball) and of course has a good three point stroke. He passes cleverly and does a good job of taking advantage of your mistakes. I think Stan will draw this assignment and not giving him any open looks will be crucial to victory.

#43 Jamie Smalligan 7-0 265 Sr. 2.2 PPG: He may or may not start. He will not play over 15 minutes unless he get's really hot from three land. I think Brad Lohaus when I see Jamie and I have been following him since his Butler Bulldog days. His reputation is that of a three point shooter and he is only hitting 18%. Let him shoot and take your chances. If he is on the floor for long stretches that will be advantage X.

#11 Joe Alexander 6-8 230 Jr. 16.8 PPG: He is the star of the team and had some tremendous scoring games late in the Big East season. Brown, Duncan, and Anderson could all match up with Joe. I heard former UCLA player Marques Johnson gushing about a dunk Alexander had over wunderkid Greg Oden in a summer contest out in LA. Joe has hops to say the least and can score in a variety of ways. I am sure the staff will treat him much like Mike Beasley in our K State game. That means the defensive strategy will be built on keeping him limited and on the offensive end our bigs will take the game to him looking for fouls. I like our advantage in the frontcourt. Also if Alexander wants to continue to shoot 3's at a 27% clip we'll let him. The key to us winning is maintaining this guy. Nichols, Ruoff and Mazzulla can hurt you but this guy can beat you if you let him.

#1 Da'Sean Butler 6-7 225 So. 12.9 PPG: He is a transition player who runs well to finish the break, has an above average three point stroke, moves well without the ball, and catches tough passes. On the other hand his passing could be better, he relies heavily on inside moves that can be predictable, and he is not great on the defensive end.


#3 Joe Mazzulla 6-2 210 So. 5.7 PPG: He is their 6th man and the reason they won the game against Duke. He shoots three at a phenomenal 47%. He is a lefty with a smooth stroke which he will show over and over if you let him. When open (even mid range) he will knock it down. He is also a good passer and their backup point guard but just as easily can play the 2. He plays best in an organized team setting where he finds the open man, uses screens to shake free for shots, and defends reasonably well.

#35 Wellington Smith 6-7 215 So. 5.1 PPG: He may be in the starting lineup depending on Huggs over Smalligan. He has a nice build and plenty of athletic ability. I like his scrappy rebounding, strong baseline drives, but his jump shot lacks consistency. He's also prone to miss free throws.

#41 John Flowers 6-7 195 Fr. 4.6 PPG: His minutes have not been great lately. The freshman is from Waldorf, MD where he was a first team all -MET performer according to the Washington Post. He shoots threes at 28% and I don't see him playing major minutes in this matchup.

#2 Cam Thoroughman 6-7 215 Fr. 0.5 PPG: This redshirt made plenty of 'hustle' plays in the Duke game and saw extended minutes. He typically likes to play on the wing and can pass, shoot and handle the ball.

#4 Jonnie West 6-3 175 Fr. 1.0 PPG: Plays very limited minutes and is the son of Jerry West which is why he is on the team.

Again I feel very confident about this matchup. We have better size, guards, and athleticism. Great defense can frustrate the Mountaineers (see UC game) and I think we take control of this one early and cruise into the elite 8.

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