West Virginia University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams are getting ready for post-season play this week. The teams are performing better than they were a year ago.
WVU’s women’s team finished the season with a 29-4 record, the best they have done in four years. They will be playing in the NCAA tournament, for the fifth consecutive year.
WVU’s men’s team won 17 games this season, an improvement over last year, when the team only won 13. WVU is going to the National Invitation Tournament, where they will be playing Georgetown Tuesday. Georgetown is an old rival of the Mountaineers. The two played in the Big East conference, up until two years ago, when WVU moved to the Big 12.
WVU head coach Bob Huggins says most of his players aren’t familiar with that team anymore.
"We don’t have anybody who was here really when we played Georgetown. All those guys are gone, so it’s going to be a lot new for those other guys," said Huggins.
The NIT tournament is comprised of 32 teams across the nation, that didn’t make it to the NCAA. WVU is the only representative from the Big 12.
Unlike the NCAA, where all of the games are played on neutral courts, the top seeds in the NIT play the early games on their home floors. WVU is a 5 seed, which means it won’t likely be playing any home games. Huggins says that’s not an issue.
"I have learned over the years that you try to control the things you can control, and do a good job controlling those, and don’t worry about the things you can’t control," said Huggins.
But that means WVU is traveling to Washington D.C. to play Georgetown. However there is a unique twist. The game must be played at McDonough Arena, since the regular home for the Georgetown University Hoyas is hosting the circus. The arena is small and only fits 2,500 people. Huggins says the team is foreign to this venue.
"I imagine that it will be wild. We want to win and end the season on a positive note, and use it as a springboard for next year," said Huggins.
The Mountaineers play Georgetown Tuesday night. If they win, they advance to the next round, and if they lose, the season will end. If they make it all the way to the semi-finals of the tournament, they will play in New York City. WVU won the tournament in 2007 and 1942.