The Young Hoyas: Tough Going in Morgantown

It was bound to happen….Over the years, Huggy Bear and the Mountaineers seem to have their number particularly in Morgantown.

Though their streak has been broken, their potential is noted…They have made their mark so early in the year and should not be taken lightly.

Alabama, well maybe it was a fluke? Almost took out Kansas, curious? Knocked off Memphisx 2..what’s up with that? then we watched as they shocked the TV viewing audience with a huge win over 4th ranked Louisville…I guess they are for real…up next Marquette, we thought it was all over but then a come from behind win solidified their ranking in the top ten.  A team that was not even ranked amongst the top 25, for that matter, the top 50 teams in the nation’s pre-season polls has come alive…

We saw a glimmer of their scrappiness when they mixed it up in China, but we never fathomed that they would come out this year and be “the team” everyone is talking about…They got moxie.

With this year’s fumbling Redskins, the coaching change for the Caps and the poor start for the Wizards, at least D.C. has one exciting team to rally around….we surely aren’t rallying around Congress these days yet alone referring to them as a bunch of team players.

I must admit, I do so enjoy when my acquaintances comment on the Hoyas recent play.  It was a frequent topic of conversation at family gatherings during the holiday season: A repeated refrain during Christmas caroling: “Wow, big win for the Hoyas last night”…

During these crazy couple of weeks, I restrained myself from writing about them for fear that I would jinx them…didn’t want to take responsibility for breaking the streak.. I daresent even acknowledge it.

Admittingly, I had somehow lost my blogging enthusiasm for a short while or perhaps it was a lack of time, the hustle and bustle of the holidays, or even more likely my pre-occupation with my Fantasy Football team; I fell into a funk when Ahmad Bradshaw decided to be a bad boy and miss curfew and Demarco Murray came up lame with a nasty tib-fib fracture resulting in a 1 fantasy point performance. In one fell swoop, my backfield imploded, not even Drew could save me and I missed an opportunity to advance in the playoffs….My year was over…I wake up trembling and sweaty…withdrawal perhaps?…Yes, my name is Smash Mouth Diva and I am a Fantasy Football addict..…I found no joy in the juicy opportunity to blog about Tebow’s winning ways; the right time, past me by…. The only thing that kept me going during those dark days was my eye opener: A Hoya victory: waking up to find out if the Hoyas had won the night before seemed to calm, yet excite.. My CIWA scale was 0: No medication necessary.

What’s different about this year’s team? It’s just that.. They are playing like a team.  Last year as Chris Wright and Austin Freeman went, so did the Hoyas.  The rest of the team counted on (understandably so) these senior leaders to win games.  This year they are looking to each other.  At the helm, the likable JTIII is masterfully rebuilding his team.  Well known for not using a whistle during practices, he wants the players to recognize and listen for his voice.  He is molding the talent he has, which speaks to JTIII’s coaching prowess and the amazing job he has already done this season. He is giving everyone the opportunity to develop and mature.  His freshman  including Otto Porter, Jabril Trawick, Greg Whittington are being worked into the rotation and seeing a lot of playing time along side the returning Hollis Thompson and Jason Clark.  Both have their own unique strengthens (Thompson’s 3’s,Clark’s quickness, playmaking abilities and leadership) but are equally important as scorers.   They are a fast and scrappy bunch.

Now the Hoyas are well known for this style of play over the past several years.  They come out like gang busters in the beginning of the season. They elevate their game above the level of expectation and leave it all out on the court throughout the season and in the Big East tourney only to lose steam by March.  With Henry Simms continuing to mature and his stepping up his game, the Hoyas will have the big man they have been lacking since the Roy Hibbert years and it may make the difference down the line. We already see a hint of this as assists and rebounding is much better…

Today, the young Hoyas couldn’t find their groove, fraught with turnovers and the lack of their signature 3 point shooting really hurt them.  Maybe the pressure is now off and they don’t have to subconsciously think about a winning streak every time they step on the court.  They can focus on winning one game at a time.  The second most wonderful time of the year (March Madness) will soon be upon us.

The young Hoyas aren’t done..not by a long shot..they will be back, JTIII will see to it.  Just as likely as Tebow kneeling on the sideline…..I couldn’t resist mentioning him…a little Tebowing never hurt anyone….not even the Hoyas.

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