Big East Opener = Big East Upset!

The NCAA basketball conference games are just starting to be played with most teams having accumulated a number of non-conference wins and loses. If you check out the 16- team Big East standings, you see a strange site—West Virginia on top of the conference at 1- 0 in the Big East and 11- 1 overall and Connecticut at the bottom at 0- 1 in the BE and 11- 1 overall. Sure it’s just the beginning, but it’s also an indication of things to come.

The Huskies have lost a whole lot of experienced talent from last season and now carry a whole lot of inexperienced talent—8 freshmen and 5 sophomores. Sure they have one of the best first-year classes in the NCAA, but it is green. West Virginia is in a major rebuilding phase with the departure of Kevin Pittsnogle and four other prime senior players. Although the Mountaineers are revitalizing their ranks, much like Connecticut, and they have less talent than the Huskies, they do possess more experience.

West Virginia junior forward Frank Young proved that having a few years of games under your belt does count, leading the Mountaineers with 22 points and hitting a 3-pointer with 9:23 remaining to put his team on top 67- 50. West Virginia used the fast break, layups and three-pointers to upset the nationally 12th ranked Huskies 81- 71.

A few things to note—

*The Mountaineers use a 1-3-1 zone defense that has allowed the fewest point per game (49 PPG) in the nation.

*West Virginia is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the nation—averaging 11 per game.

*With coach John Beilein the Mountaineers are 21- 0 in December.

*This is the first time that West Virginia has defeated Connecticut since February 11, 1998.

*In this game, UConn’s inexperience showed as they became impatient with the 1-3-1 zone and started forcing shots. They hit only 39% from the floor.

The season is still young. Still, although the Huskies are not a bad team but they are not the club of yore, while the Mountaineers may be better than anyone had thought.

The Big East is in flux.

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