West Virginia looks to connect, communicate on defense


West Virginia head coach Josh Eilert compared his team to a shooter in a slump.

“We need to see one go in and build some confidence,” he said.

The Mountaineers have dropped five of their last six games to drop to 5-10 overall.

In the last two, it’s been a major struggle on the defensive end with Houston shooting 53 percent from the floor with 48 points in the paint and Kansas State hitting 54 percent with 44 paint points.

It’s hard enough to win in the Big 12, even harder when teams are shooting over 50 percent and scoring the bulk of those points right around the basket. Especially when you consider the struggles on the offensive end with the Mountaineers having difficulty moving the ball and getting easy looks.

Some of the struggles on defense are directly tied to the fact that the fact that West Virginia is currently playing without the only true five on the roster as Jesse Edwards remains out with a fractured left wrist, but the Mountaineers have struggled to communicate and be in the right spots as well.

Against Kansas State, West Virginia had issues with making the right rotations, guys running into hand offs, getting back cut and struggling with defending the pick and roll.

“That’s easy to point at and say we need to correct that, but a lot of that stuff is built in the summer, and you keep on grinding that thing as you go and build into the practice season,” Eilert said. “So, we’re certainly behind on all of that and we haven’t been the same team all year.”

The head coach isn’t wrong as West Virginia played a lot of different lineups and different players. The Mountaineers also played a different defensive style early in the year to try to keep Edwards out of foul trouble and now with new players on the floor it’s simply not clicking, but time helps with that.

That’s made even more difficult by the fact that the Big 12 is filled with skilled bigs and teams are going to force the ball into the paint to try to get easy baskets if it presents…

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Author : WV Sports

Publish date : 2024-01-10 16:53:54

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