Princeton Times

Sports

December 1, 2012

Jeff's Sports Corner: WVU gears up for a bowl

PRINCETON — Well, WVU has now become bowl-eligible, beating Iowa State and ending their five-game losing streak. Those who exercised caution about WVU in the Big XII have had their caution vindicated.

I’m not sure of the strategy of using Tavon Austin as a running back. He’s better-suited for wide receiver since he’s small-framed (5-feet-8, 175 pounds) and has played his college career as a receiver. I suppose it’s worked well enough to alleviate skepticism, so let’s go with it.

Mitch Vingle of the Charleston Gazette has an interesting theory as to why WVU has struggled. He wrote recently that the recruiting classes of the past four to five years, going back to the Geno Smith-Stedman Bailey-Austin class, have only a few players among the three-, four-, and five-star recruits that have developed or even remained on the roster. I’d say that isn’t the case with the real Big XII powers.

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I saw the replay of the Morehead State head basketball coach pushing his player last week which earned the coach a one-game suspension. The worst thing about it was that the coach is more concerned with chewing out his players than what’s happening on the floor and that isn’t a one-time behavior pattern. Even Bob Knight at his worst wasn’t that bad.

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 A lot of SEC head football coaches fell victim to fan expectations. Auburn’s Gene Chizlik, Tennessee’s Derek Dooley and Arkansas’ John L. Smith were either fired or did not have their contracts renewed, as was the case with Smith. . In Smith’s case, given the way the team faltered under him and his bizarre press-conference behavior, I wonder why they hired him in the first place, instead of promoting an assistant coach to coach to team.

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As for the NBA Pacific Division, the best teams are located in Los Angeles, the younger Clippers and the veteran Lakers. We’ve spent a bit of time on the latter team, so we’ll focus on the former.

The Clippers have turned into the better team in town with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and, pending the return of a couple of players from injury a 10-deep roster with players such as ex-Laker Lamar Odom, Grant Hill and Chauncey Billips playing roles.

The Lakers have to mesh Kobe Bryant and Paul Gasol with Steve Nash (since injured) and Dwight Howard. Nash played his best ball under Mike D’Antoni, but he’s 39 now, Kobe’s 34 with 17 years behind him and Howard has a bad back. The team isn’t as deep as the Clippers, either.

The Golden State Warriors are the best of the rest of the division, which isn’t saying much. They have good pieces if healthy in Andrew Bogut and Stef Curry, plus rookie Harrison Barnes.

The Phoenix Suns let Nash and Hill go in favor of younger players with more potential, Goran Dragic and Michael Beasley. They have enough to finish fourth.

The Sacramento Kings almost left town before a last-minute deal came through. They have rookie Thomas Robinson, but no NBA stars or superstars on the roster, just a few good players like Tyreke Evans.

I can be reached c/o Jeff’s Sports Corner, P.O. Box 1199, Princeton, WV, 24740. I can also be reached at delimartman@ yahoo.com or jharvey1@frontiernet.net or on Facebook.

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