Although Truck Bryant has been in a slump recently, you could see how his ball handling would have helped against the Huskie pressure. Then watching Butler go down in obvious pain last night, Mountaineer nation had to be holding their collective breath. Fortunately, it appears to have been nothing serious. Washington played a very good first half, and they appear to be a power to be reckoned with in the PAC 10 next year as well.
Next up... Kentucky at 7:05 pm Saturday in Syracuse. This will be the biggest test yet for West Virginia as I feel the Wildcats are the top team left in this wild 2010 tournament. If the Mountaineers somehow find a way to get past UK, getting to the championship game could be feasible. But a victory over Kentucky would be a monumental feat for a team with one real point guard (Mazzula), even with a healthy Bryant, WVU would still be the definite underdog here.
Keys to the game... Butler has to shoot better than 5-16. Great defensive play. Offensive rebounds. Reduced turnovers. Along with Butler, Mazzula, Wellington Smith, Kevin Jones and Devin Ebanks - West Virginia needs great play from their bench, specifically Mitchell, Flowers, Pepper and Kilicli. They need to take the ball to the basket and hope to get Kentucky into some early foul trouble if possible.
This Mountaineer fan is certainly hoping to see West Virginia reach the final four for the first time since Jerry West helped guide WVU to the 1959 championship game.
Let's Go Mountaineers!