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 some of the Mountaineers' tactics.
Where It All Starts: Jevon Carter
Carter is the straw stirring the drink this year. He has an almost 2:1 S:TO ratio this year. Yes, that's Steals:Turnovers. He's also a 40% three-point shooter averaging 19 ppg. He's fast, he's strong, he's wily, and he will beat the shit out of you. West Virginia wants him initiating and directing the offense, and if you don't pick him up, he will do this.
The Mountaineers are not known for their halfcourt offense - they are relatively young and inexperienced this year and have struggled in the halfcourt - but they have improved since the season starts. When they do successfully convert a halfcourt set - as they do here and did often in Charlottesville last year - they will set up their fullcourt press.
They Use Screens - Then Press
The press can work even when you think you've broken it. Here, after a nice offensive possession, West Virginia sets up the press. Missouri breaks it, but their ballhandler is sped up, over-excited and out of control. Sound familiar? It is probably the main risk that faces the Hoos Tuesday night.
Just When You Think It's Over
Now you've broken the press and you are in the frontcourt - and if you carelessly get near the sideline without a plan, they trap you. Best case scenario, you have to inbound the ball....
These guys are the best at it. After the adventures against Wisconsin, you can expect Bennett to devote some extra practice time to it before Morgantown.
Against Missouri, the Mountaineers ran a 1-3-1 trapping zone for a good part of the second half. At times, it looked like a 2-1-2. Carter was running the baseline and long 6-8 Lamont West was at the point. Here they goad Missouri into a bad shot and turn it into a runout.