MORGANTOWN — In case you knew nothing of the again story that goes together with the WVU males’s basketball workforce and easily regarded on the Mountaineers’ stat sheet at this time, you’ll be as befuddled as anybody.
It’s virtually as if 2+2 have been to equal cat, that’s kind of the world these Mountaineers reside in.
RaeQuan Battle is averaging 29 factors a recreation, which — technically — is sweet sufficient to guide the nation.
WVU has 5 gamers averaging double figures in scoring.
Kerr Krissa — once more, technically — is tied for the nation’s lead in assists per recreation.
Jesse Edwards is sort of averaging a double-double at 14.8 factors and eight.7 rebounds per recreation.
No manner this workforce is 5-7 on the season following Saturday’s 91-81 victory towards Toledo on the Coliseum.
“Our outcomes don’t say how good of a workforce we’re,” Kriisa mentioned after scoring 12 factors and including 10 assists towards the Rockets. “We will play anyone at any time. Like I mentioned, we’ve received hoopers. We’ve simply received to play collectively.”
And that’s the again story, as a result of earlier than WVU can play collectively, it’s received to be collectively.
It hasn’t been that in any respect. As a substitute, the season may be damaged up in items, every with their very own chapter.
It began as a gradual crawl with a shortened roster that spent the primary 9 video games of the season actually hanging on and often fading out on the finish of the sport.
Not any longer.
WVU is a monitor workforce now, one with Kriisa behind the wheel and Battle drawing the headlines.
“It’s like I instructed them late within the first half, we’re within the bonus guys. What are we doing?” WVU head coach Josh Eilert mentioned. “Let’s go downhill on them. We received RaeQuan. We received Noah (Farrakhan). Let’s put Kerr in these ball screens and get downhill.”
The following chapter would be the most attention-grabbing one with two main questions.
First, can WVU truly win huge video games enjoying at this quicker tempo?
Certain, it could look higher to the attention. It’s at all times extra attention-grabbing when one man is scoring 20-some factors a recreation, one other has 10 assists, whereas one other grabs 12 rebounds.
That’s what occurred towards Toledo, with Battle going for 29, Akok Akok had the 12 boards and Kriisa had the assists.
Can they duplicate that effort subsequent week towards Ohio State after which towards No. 3 Houston and No. 2 Kansas and the remainder of the Huge 12?
The second, and possibly extra necessary query, is what is going to all of it truly appear to be when Edwards returns from his wrist harm in a month?
“I believe it’s going to be a extra balanced id,” Eilert mentioned. “You may kind of combine and match from what you noticed the primary 9 video games. They haven’t all performed collectively.
“We’re a unique workforce with out Rae. We’re a unique workforce with out Kerr. We’re a unique workforce with out Jesse.”
The one time all of these guys have performed collectively is in preseason follow, when solely Eilert and a handful of others truly noticed it.
“Once they’re all enjoying collectively, it’s going to be a particular unit,” Eilert mentioned.
Till then, simply questions blended with some hope.
As within the hope the Mountaineers discover a strategy to do extra than simply tread water till Edwards returns.
They must, as a result of the Mountaineers have already got two unhealthy losses towards Monmouth and Radford.
That is now not a win-some, lose-some state of affairs after which financial institution on the general power of the convention to get WVU into the NCAA match.
WVU has 9 video games in January, 10 should you depend Ohio State.
Go 3-7 in these video games and it’s not going to matter that Edwards is coming again, not less than not within the eyes of the NCAA choice committee.
Do the other, although, after which WVU turns into greater than only a workforce with attention-grabbing stats.
“The extra time we spend collectively on the courtroom as a whole workforce, I really feel like our offense will come collectively,” Akok mentioned. “We simply must put two and two collectively. We’re simply ready on guys to get again, that’s all it truly is in the mean time.”