WVU’s non-conference foes look familiar
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Before West Virginia's men's basketball team gets to know the Big 12 Conference, it'll see a lot of familiar faces in non-conference competition.
The Mountaineers announced their non-conference schedule Thursday, highlighted by familiar foe Marshall, though in an unfamiliar position. The two will play the Capital Classic on Dec. 5 at the Charleston Civic Center, before its usual position during the state's legislative session. The two schools have played no earlier than Jan. 9 every year since 1998.
The game needed to be moved to an earlier date so the Mountaineers could play at the Big Ten Conference's Purdue on Jan. 19.
Big 12 teams can only play one non-conference game after league play begins.
Much of the rest of the non-conference schedule will be a reunion, beginning with an exhibition game Nov. 5 against Glenville State. Former WVU point guard Joe Mazzulla, former director of basketball operations Bill Lilly and former center Rob Summers are assistant coaches there.
The regular season begins a week later with a midnight game at Gonzaga, the team that beat WVU in the last game the Mountaineers played, the first round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The Nov. 12 game is also the opening game of the ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, as well as a preliminary game for the Old Spice Classic. They could meet again during the event in Orlando Nov 22-23, 25.
The Mountaineers then play host to VMI on Nov. 29, where WVU first-year assistant Ron Everhart was an assistant from 1986-88, before playing the Thundering Herd. On Dec. 8, WVU plays host to Virginia Tech, where Everhart played in college. Three days later, WVU plays Duquesne at the Consol Energy Center, site of the NCAA Tournament loss to Gonzaga. Everhart coached the Dukes the previous six seasons.
WVU then plays Michigan and former coach John Beilein on Dec. 15 in Brooklyn, N.Y., at the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival in the new Barclays Center. Beilein went 104-60 with the Mountaineers from 2002-07. He led the Mountaineers to the Elite Eight and Sweet 16 in successive years and two NIT appearances, including the 2007 championship.
Oakland travels to the Coliseum Dec. 19, though WVU transfer Tommie McCune must sit out this season because of NCAA rules. McCune played just 58 minutes in 13 games and totaled five points as a freshman last season. He moved to Oakland in the offseason.
Three days later, WVU plays host to Radford and its sophomore forward, Kyle Noreen. His older brother is WVU forward Kevin Noreen. The 6-foot, 10-inch Kevin was Minnesota's Mr. Basketball as a high school senior in 2010 and set the state's career scoring record with 4,086 points. The 6-foot-5 Kyle was the runner-up for Mr. Basketball in 2011 and a four-time all-state selection. He set state records for 3-point baskets and steals.
Kyle started 20 of his 31 games for the Highlanders last season and averaged 3.6 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.
The final non-conference game before Big 12 play begins is Dec. 30 at home against Eastern Kentucky and Coach Jeff Neubauer. He was an assistant for Beilein from 2002-05 and has led the Colonels to two 20-win seasons and one NCAA Tournament and one CBI appearance.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.