MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Maybe the numerous freshmen in West Virginia's basketball program this season shouldn't think about how rough the road rigors in the Big East Conference might be.
After all, they've previously endured Coach Bob Huggins' treadmill treatment, right?
Yet, it's here and now for WVU (10-3, 1-0). After opening Big East play on Wednesday night with a late home runaway from Villanova, the Mountaineers face Seton Hall (11-2, 0-1) at 9 p.m. today at the Prudential Center - aka "The Rock" - in Newark, N.J., in an ESPN2 telecast game.
Talk about being between the Rock and a hard place ...
"It's going to be rough," WVU senior guard Darryl "Truck" Bryant said generically of venturing away from the WVU Coliseum in the Big East. "Road games in the Big East, you know it's going to be rough.
"KJ (Kevin Jones), Turk (Deniz Kilicli) and me, we've got to keep telling them it's a game of runs. They're going to go on a run and the crowd's going to get into it. Then we have to go on a run."
That's what the Mountaineers did - fueled by a good portion of Bryant's career-high 34-point night - from a 63-63 tie to put away from the Wildcats, 83-69. A holiday week crowd of 11,262 got into it almost as much as the WVU guards.
One of those, freshman Gary Browne, finished with 11 points, three assists and three rebounds in 22 minutes.
He said he learned more in the first few minutes of the game how the Big East would be than he did in WVU's only previous road test, a loss at nationally ranked Mississippi State back on Dec. 3.
"It was obvious they were going to let us play hard from the beginning," Browne said. "In non-conference games, they kind of called everything, a small reach they'd call a foul. (Against Villanova) an elbow (in a rebounding scrum that floored Jones in the first minute of the second half), KJ goes down.
"Every game we play now, it's going to be hard. We can't take a game off; we can't take a play off."
How testy is the Big East road?
Last season, the conference sent a record 11 teams into the NCAA Tournament's bracket of 68. Of those 11, only two were better than 5-4 in conference road games (Pitt 7-2, Syracuse 6-3). Four others were 5-4. WVU and two others were 4-5. Louisville and Marquette were 3-6.
In Huggins' four previous seasons, the Mountaineers have finished 4-5 in Big East road play three times.
The 2009-10 NCAA Final Four team went 6-3 on the Big East road, then won the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden.
Seton Hall is probably ready to rock at home. The Pirates had an eight-game winning streak ended decisively by the top-ranked Orange at the Carrier Dome, 75-49, on Wednesday night. Tonight's game features the league's top two rebounders, in WVU's Jones (11.5 per game) and Seton Hall's Herb Pope (11.2). They also rank first and third in scoring (20.4 and 19.0), respectively.