Are you geared up for West Virginia’s appearance in the NCAA tournament? Maybe you’re more a fan of West Virginia than basketball. We’ve put together this cheat sheet so you’ll understand what’s going on when you watch the Mountaineers play their first game against Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks on Friday night.
1. “Press Virginia”. Here’s what it means.
Have you seen the t-shirts but you’re not really sure what it means? West Virginia plays a more a chaotic style of defense with a full court press/trap defense that disrupts even the best of teams’ offenses. It’s like that old cheer, be aggressive! The big advantage is that opposing teams have little time to prepare such staunch play. Some teams have even practiced playing West Virginia by put six or seven guys on defense (as compared to the normal five) so they can get acclimated to the tough, in your face style of Press Virginia.
2. Statistically, the Mountaineers are #1 or #2 in some important categories
Impress your friends with one of these factoids (but casually pepper throughout a conversation as appropriate).
- WVU is ranked #1 in steals, averaging 9.94 per game
- We’re #1 in nation in Offensive Rebounds: 541 so far this year
- #2 in turnovers nationwide at 476
- #2 in Offesive Rebounds at a clip of 15.9 per game
- And we’re #1 in personal fouls – 792 on the year – which is not so great.
3. Devin Williams is “The Goggle Guy.”
Devin Williams, West Virginia’s starting power forward, was tabbed the “goggle guy” by 5-year-old Nicholas Wince. Wince dubbed Williams, his favorite player on the team, as the “goggle guy” during a meeting last year set up by the “MakeAWish’ foundation. Ever since Williams’teammates and fans have refered to him as “The Goggle Guy.” Here’s the video:
4. WVU Basketball has had a rocky start in the Big 12
When West Virginia made it to the Final Four in 2010, it was the first time the team had gotten that far since 1959. That was a full TEN YEARS before humanity landed on the moon. The school switched conferences in 2012 and had a pretty rocky start. That season, the Mountaineers finished 8th in the conference (out of 10). The next two seasons saw some improvement, but it wasn’t until this year that the team really started to make its mark. Some analysts tie that entirely to the “Press Virginia” strategy (see #1)
This year the boys had a 13-5 record (that’s 13 wins and 5 losses) playing other teams in the conference and finished 2nd in the league. They were only behind Kansas, who beat the Mountaineers to win the tournament championship last week.
5. A short history of WVU in March Madness
Here are some other things you should know about West Virginia in the NCAA tournament:
- Including this year, the Mountaineers have made 27 appearances in the NCAA tournament
- Throughout the years, WVU has won 27 games and lost 26 games.
- WVU has made two appearances in the Final Four (in 1959 and 2010), but has never won a championship.
- The team was runner-up in 1959. That team was lead by eventual NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West.