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West Virginia Travels To Georgetown In NIT Opener
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Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 25 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference.

West Virginia will play Georgetown in Tuesday night’s NIT opener in the Hoyas’ 2,500-seat McDonough Arena. The on-campus facility is used by the men’s team only for practice. The Hoyas typically play at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. That facility is unavailable because the circus is in town.

And you thought Congress met on Capitol Hill.

Lame political jokes aside, the Mountaineers will face an old Big East Conference rival in Georgetown. The schools shared the same conference for 16 seasons and have played each other 51 times with the Hoyas having a 26-25 edge. West Virginia, in its second season in the Big 12, is 17-15 on the season while the Hoyas are 17-14.

Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins has never coached a team that played in McDonough. "I have absolutely no idea,'' Huggins said about the atmosphere for the NIT game. "I would imagine it will be wild.''

Huggins also is not sure of the status of junior guard Juwan Staten. The leading scorer in the Big 12 and a first-team all-conference selection suffered an ankle sprain in the team’s loss to Texas last Thursday in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship.

"He didn't go (Sunday in practice), so I don't know,'' Huggins said. "There's no swelling, but other than that I don't know.''

West Virginia had just one day of practice to prepare for Georgetown, which runs the “Princeton” offense which features a lot of movement and back-door cuts to the basket. It can be difficult to defend even for teams that have several days to prepare.

“It’s less than ideal,” Huggins said of the short prep time. "We're going to try to worry about doing the things we need to do. There's not enough time. When you used to play them in the league every year you got two or three days to prepare.''

The winner of the West Virignia-Georgetown game advances to the NIT second round against either No. 1 seed Florida State or No. 8 seed Florida Gulf Coast. Those teams also play Tuesday night.

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