* Former WVU assistant Jerrod Calhoun is in his first season at Fairmont State, the team that received the only first-place vote West Liberty didn't get in the WVC preseason coaches' poll. After learning under Bob Huggins, he's on the fast track to a Division I coaching career.
* Patrick Beilein, who is in his first season at W.Va. Wesleyan, will receive plenty of interest at the Division I ranks. He has the engaging personality of his father - Michigan coach and former WVU head coach John Beilein - and it's only a matter of when, not if, he gets a Division I job.
* Glenville State's Stephen Dye has assembled an all-star coaching staff featuring longtime conference head coach Bill Lilly and former WVU players Joe Mazzulla and Rob Summers.
* Concord's Kent McBride graduated from the school in 2006 - he's not 30 years old - and is in his "dream job."
* Wheeling Jesuit's Danny Sancomb is a former all-conference player for the Cardinals and guided his team to an NCAA Division II tournament victory last year over Charleston.
At the writing of this column, West Liberty maintained its lead at the top of the league standings, but it is becoming a tenuous lead.
Despite the Hilltoppers doing something last year that was surprising, according to Crutchfield, they should be better equipped to handle the rigors of a demanding WVC season.
However, this team isn't as good as last year's West Liberty squad. You read that correctly - not as good - despite being ranked at the top of the NCAA Division II ranks all season until this week.
They lead the nation in points per game at 109.6 and hold opponents to 80.2, but their last five games have resulted in one loss and four victories by an average of seven points.
Their post defense is vulnerable, and teams have deciphered their press, which must work for the Hilltoppers to get runouts, easy baskets and rapid double-digit leads - a staple of their success no matter how many 3-pointers they launch and make at a 45-percent rate.
Putting teams away is not a characteristic of the 2012-13 Hilltoppers, who some view as close to invincible in the WVC.
It's a fact that a team's character is often revealed in how it handles close games, which West Liberty has done in a more than admirable way.
During the Hilltoppers' walk-through prior to their game at Charleston, Crutchfield - whom I knew from my two-year stint as a junior high basketball player at Cameron (1979-81) when he was the school's varsity boys coach - told me the reason for the closer games is that the conference is better.
I'll go a step further and declare that it's the coaching that has improved even more than the players, many of whom are Division I transfers.
Whether or not West Liberty stands alone at the top of the WVC when the league's last season-ending tournament concludes in March is anybody's guess.
Quite frankly, it doesn't really matter.
Last year, four teams earned a spot in the Atlantic Region Tournament at West Liberty. Right now, four of the top five teams have at least 10 victories each and a combined winning percentage of .700.
We will likely see four again after a wild and crazy week at the Charleston Civic Center beginning late next month.
It'll be a pretty good way for small college fans to say good-bye to the WVC.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstev...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.