A couple updates
by Jim Buzzerd
Last week it was mentioned here that the West Virginia University Basketball Team would open its season this Wednesday, November 25 at the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It was also noted last week that the likelihood of this event not taking place at all was a possibility due to teams dropping out due to COVID-19. Well, it’s early Monday evening and the tournament is still a go, but not without some modification from how it looked a week ago.
Most notable is West Virginia will not open the tournament against Texas A&M as the Aggies dropped out last week. The tournament committee was able to replace A&M with Northern Iowa and WVU was still set to open the tournament against the Panthers. Sunday a whole new bracket was released, and West Virginia will now face South Dakota State in Wednesday’s first round at 7 p.m. in the bracket opposite of Wichita State and Utah State. The winners will meet Thursday at 2:30 p.m. with the championship game set for 1:30 p.m. on Friday. Wednesday’s game is scheduled for ESPN2. All the games are currently slated for one of the ESPN channels, check listings for subsequent TV times.
SD State had a 22-10 record last season, so the Jack Rabbits may not be just a sacrificial lamb in this game, though the Mountaineers figure to be heavy favorites. Any home court advantage that SDSU may have enjoyed will be negligible now that the tournament has announced there will be no fans in attendance.
The Mountaineer football team will return to action this Saturday when they host Oklahoma in a prime-time Saturday night game. ABC will broadcast the game at 7:30 p.m. The Sooners seem to be hitting their stride following a two-game stretch earlier this season when they lost back to back games to Kansas State in Norman and Iowa State in Ames. The 6-2 Sooners appear to be much improved coming off a 41-13 beatdown of archrival Oklahoma State last Saturday.
This year’s version of Oklahoma football even plays some defense which will make it tougher for WVU to get their first ever conference victory over the Sooners this Saturday. There won’t be a lubed up crazy crowd on hand due to the 25% capacity protocol caused by the pandemic, but the Mountaineers play defense this year too and that gives them a puncher’s chance in this one.
Finally, COVID did what no other West Virginia high school team has been able to in the last four seasons. That is to dethrone Martinsburg High School as four-time defending champion. Because the West Virginia COVID map had Berkeley County in Red last Friday and Saturday the Bulldogs and Spring Mills were not allowed to play their respective quarterfinal games. Yet Musselman was allowed to advance over Spring Valley because the Applemen/Berkeley County weren’t red before Spring Valley/Wayne County was, even though at game time neither school could play.
For the record, I’m happy Musselman advances and represents the eastern panhandle in the semifinals to play South Charleston on Sunday. That only happens if Berkeley County drops to gold or better on the November 28 COVID map. The usage of this map in the instance of high school football makes little sense to this writer at this point.