By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The new Barclays Center in Brooklyn is wanting to give Madison Square Garden a run for its money as the top flight basketball arena in the Big Apple.
The new home of the Brooklyn Nets has lined up quite a wide array of college basketball games in an attempt to lure attention, fans and teams from lower Manhattan to the borough across the famed Brooklyn Bridge.
Tonight at Barclays the West Virginia Mountaineers take on the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines in a game that features former WVU coach John Beilein pitting his 10-0 Wolverines against the 4-4 Mountaineers.
Beilein came to Morgantown in 2002 after Dan Dakich took the job, then quit a week later. Dakich, for a week, replaced Gale Catlett who became WVU coach in 1978.
Beilein guided the Mountaineers to two NCAA tournament appearances, trips to the Elite Eight and the Sweet 16 in back-to-back years, and in his last season with WVU, guided the Mountaineers to the NIT championship. He posted a 104-60 mark in his five seasons guiding the old gold and blue, before moving on to coach the maize and blue of Michigan.
As Beilein departed for Ann Arbor, Bob Huggins returned home to guide his alma mater. Huggins led West Virginia to the Final Four three seasons ago, but this year the Mountaineers are mired in mediocrity so far with a 4-4 record.
WVU blew a 13-point lead Tuesday night and lost to Duquense to snap a two-game winning streak. West Virginia had beaten Marshall and Virginia Tech in their previous two games.
Michigan has beaten four power conference teams this season, North Carolina State, Kansas State, Pitt and Arkansas.
West Virginia can expect to see the Beilein benchmark, the 1-3-1 zone defense, and with WVU struggling to sink the outside shot, the Mountaineers will have to find a way to score the ball, whether getting it down low to bigs Deniz Kilicli, Kevin Noreen and Aaric Murray, or guards Jabarie Hinds, Aaron Brown, Juwan Staten, Gary Browne and Terry Henderson knocking down jumpers from the perimeter.
The Mountaineers have only one player averaging in double-digit scoring, that being Staten who scores at a 10.6 point clip per game. Kilicli and Murray both average just over nine points a game.
The Wolverines, meanwhile, have four playes averaging double-digits per game, led by Trey Burke (17.1), Tim Hardaway Jr. (14.8), Nik Stauskas (13.5) and Glenn Robinson III (11.6). Michigan averages 79 points and WVU 69.
Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.