Chip Shots

by Jim Buzzerd

Cutting to the chase

Despite numerous teams dropping out of the Bad Boy Mowers Basketball Tournament the event was played. West Virginia University Mountaineers won the tournament with wins over South Dakota State, Virginia Commonwealth and Western Kentucky. The highly anticipated football matchup between the Mountaineers and Oklahoma scheduled for last Saturday was postponed on Wednesday and rescheduled for December 12. While sports message boards on the web can’t be considered reliable, at least one WVU fan site is agog with rumors that West Virginia head coach Neal Brown either is, or wants to be, a candidate for the vacant South Carolina head coaching job.
About Brown, as of Monday evening there was little evidence there is much to the rumors. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing there, just that those who report actual news on the site don’t have any information confirming the rumors. Brown doesn’t come off as the kind of guy that would bail after two seasons, but then the administration did send his defensive coordinator, Vic Koening, packing over claims of mistreatment by a player. Many have wondered just how that sat with Brown.
Also, not to say South Carolina isn’t a decent job because they have plenty of resources, but it seems Brown could parlay success at WVU into a better job. Of course, we haven’t seen Brown have success at West Virginia yet, so it might be premature for South Carolina to go all in on Brown at this point. Stay tuned.
Oklahoma was having COVID issues within the team last week and asked WVU for the postponement, and WVU obliged. The game will be played at either noon or 3:30 p.m. on the 12th and no network has been selected. A six-day window has been put in place and an official time and network will be announced after this week’s games. This Saturday’s game at Iowa State has been set for 3:30 p.m. on ESPN. The Cyclones and Sooners appear to be the top teams in the Big 12, so these final two games will give WVU a chance to see where they stand and possibly build Brown’s resume.
The Mountaineer basketball team did not blow away the competition in the Bad Boy Mower event, but they played well enough to win. All three games were pretty close, 79-71 vs. SDSU, 78-66 vs. VCU and 70-64 against Western Kentucky. It will not be surprising if all three of those mid-major teams make it to the NCAA Tournament in March. West Virginia actually trailed WKU by 10 points in the second half before coming back. It was Western Kentucky that beat WVU in the Myrtle Beach Classic two years ago.
Perhaps the biggest news is that when Tennessee had to drop out of Wednesday’s Jimmy V Classic, coach Bob Huggins and athletic director Shane Lyons got together and lobbied to replace Tennessee. As a result, the Mountaineers will play top ranked Gonzaga tonight, Wednesday, December 2. Game time is 7 p.m. on ESPN. This West Virginia schedule is shaping up as one of the strongest ever for WVU. The Big 12 is loaded with Baylor at number two and Kansas, Texas Tech and Texas all in the Top 20. Richmond, WVU’s December 13 opponent just knocked off Kentucky in Lexington over the weekend.