Welcome to the first annual (we hope - if the Hoos aren’t bowling, we’re probably punting) HoosPlace Bowl Game Guide. You can read a stale summary of all the bowl games anywhere, so Kendall and I are aiming to make this a little fun and tie it into the holiday season.

First, we’re going to give you our picks on the College Football Playoff. Then we’ll rank and pick the New Year’s Six bowl games. Finally, we’ll cover the ACC bowl games. We’ll rank them, pick them, and rate the matchup based on our scientific scoring system that compares the quality of the matchup to a Christmas present. The better the matchup, the better the present.  


Previous: Hoos Team Is It?

Last season, Coach Bennett used the same starting lineup for the whole non-conference season, then changed it several times during the ACC season. Those changes were not incontrovertibly positive. So far this season, the starting lineup that was easily predictable in March has started every game. If the lineup is going to change, now is - as discussed in the previous installment - an ideal time to do it.

The lineup should change.  It's time.

It's Mamadi Diakite's time. 

Sharon Cox-Ponder for HOOS Place

The West Virginia game really crystallized the enduring limitations of Jack Salt and the burgeoning game of Diakite. Salt was woefully overmatched by th...

It's a good time to make changes. Almost a third of the season has been played, including some ACC-level matchups. There is time to review what has taken place, think about it, analyze it, make decisions, communicate those decisions, and start practicing the new system.  There are three home games against teams you should beat for getting reps. One of those games is a solid enough opponent that they should reveal some of the weaknesses and gaps in the new system that need to be addressed. Then you get a break before entering your conference schedule - with one of the weakest teams in the conference.

Hoos Team Is It?

In an early season interview, Tony Bennett recounted how he had told...

Post-Video Study Assessments

Posted on December 8, 2017, in Blog by Seattle Hoo.

Not to be expected as a regular feature, but it's interesting nonetheless to see how my assessment of players' performances changes after video study. Memory of a game after just watching it live is fuzzy and distorted. We leave with impressions and feelings and those often don't hold up under rational study of the historical record. With that in mind, here is a quick rundown of what happened to my post-game assessments:

Up, or Up-Up-And-Away

Ty Jerome - I wrote after the game that he had been "awful" at the end and thought he had been mostly awful. Listening to Bennett on Coach's Corner, however, he didn't agree. He saw Ty do some good things and some bad things. First, I was surprised t...

StLou's Status Report - Exam Break

Posted on December 7, 2017, in Team by StLouHoo.

The exam break gives us writers an opportunity to step back and evaluate the team's performance so far without the crunch of game responsibilities. I'm going through each player and each phase of the game to see how I feel about the performance to-date and the outlook for the remainder of the year.

By Player

Exceeding Expectations

Devon Hall - Can't begin to express how pleased with his play I am so far. 12.6 ppg, 4.0 reb, 2.6 asts vs 0.9 TOs, 57% from 2 and 43% from 3, 92% on FTs. Just wow. Grade: A. Outlook: Steady

Kyle Guy - 16.8 ppg, which is what we needed, a scorer. The rest of his numbers are secondary because he's scoring in volume and also efficientl...

The Next Kyle Guy?

Posted on December 6, 2017, in Recruiting by Seattle Hoo.

Kyle Guy is quite a character who seems to inspire opposing fan bases to give him special treatment (although his 29 against VCU and 18-point second-half eruption in Morgantown might make future opponents question the wisdom). He's also a hellUVA basketball player who makes plays coming off screens as well as with the ball in his hands and is working on making himself a complete player on both sides of the line of scrimmage. He also could very well be the inspiration and role model for a future Wahoo, 6-8 Huntington Prep junior Quinn Slazinski. Quinn is a high IQ shooter who sees himself in Guy.  He even appears to have inspired his own hash tag, judging from Huntington Prep assistan...

With around 8:00 left in the game, I wrote down on my notes, "Jevon Carter is the story of this game."  But at the end, Lamont West was the story of the game.  West came into the game shooting under 38% from the floor and under 28% from the 3-point line, and he was the one who hit the big shots in the last few minutes on his way to a career high 22 points.

If Lamont West is going to shoot way above his average and drop 22 on you, you're going to have a hard time beating West Virginia.

For the Hoos, it was a disappointing outing, because you saw things that had to bother you. First Kyle Guy was awful, then Ty Jerome was awful.  Devon Hall kept Virginia alive in the first hal...

West Virginia - What They Don't Want

Posted on December 4, 2017, in Team by Seattle Hoo.

Yesterday: What West Virginia Wants To Do

Yesterday we saw what West Virginia is trying to do to you, and we saw the Mountaineers capitalize. But things don't always go the way they want - sometimes even when the press is successful.

The 1-3-1 Zone Steal - Turnover

It's not always the other team that gets sped up and out of control. The young Mountaineers can get caught up in their own excitement and throw the ball away like their victims do so often.

Halfcourt Traps Lead to Bad Passes

Missouri fell into the trap Nigel Johnson warned about, but got fortunate WVU sometimes gets too aggressive.

This clip shows a great example of what dangers lurk near the sideline against West Virginia - a...

De'Andre Hunter - Baby Steps III

Posted on December 3, 2017, in Team by Seattle Hoo.

Yesterday: Stage Two: His Potential Role

Stage Three: His Prognosis for Reaching Those Objectives 

Above I have outlined an expansive concept of Hunter's potential role and impact, for this year and beyond. This season, I see him as having the potential to be a sixth man and trouble stopper. It's a big role for a freshman, and his box score statistics in games against higher calibre opposition would seem to suggest that expecting him to be capable of delivering would be overly optimistic; however, I contend that an analysis beyond the box scores gives ample support for such an expectation. The prognosis, in fact, is quite strong.

We've already seen that despite not hitting his shots,...

West Virginia - What They Want To Do

Posted on December 3, 2017, in Team by Seattle Hoo.

West Virginia presses. They want to speed you up and make you cough up the ball. We all know that. StLouHoo will have the full preview on the game, but I want to supplement his information with a look at some video from their recent win over Missouri in the Advocare Invitational championship. In that game, Missouri took a big lead in the second half largely on the strength of hot three-point shooting, then West Virginia ground them down and won the game late.

In this installment, we will look at what West Virginia wants to do and how it can look when they make it work. In the next installment, we will look at how it can go wrong for West Virginia, and how Mizzou successfully defeated...