It was 5 years ago that the Mountaineers knocked off Kentucky in the regional final game of the NCAA tournament. Thursday night, a rematch in the Sweet 16. WVU coach Bob Huggins and UK coach John Calipari are actually friends off the court, who share mutual respect.
“Over the years, we’ve gotten very close, we grew up the same way in the same area,” said WVU coach Bob Huggins.
“We’ve been friends for a long time but he’s doing stuff this year I have not seen him do. That tells you the kid of coach he is, he looked at his team and said ‘hey, we’re going to have to play a little different,'” said Calipari.
The Mountaineers type of play is physical, but is that enough to stop an undefeated Wildcat squad that has 36 wins?
“Why wouldn’t it?” Responded Juwan Staten when asked in a press conference. “You know, we’ve been playing this way all year and we’ve had success against everybody no matter what style or what type of players they have. That’s the only way we play and it’s up to us to make it work.”
The Mountaineers are nicknamed “Press Virginia,” for their aggressive full court press that forces turnovers and wears out offenses.
“They’re creating havoc, they’re playing very physical, they’re coming in and letting you know. It’s going to be body to body, you better be ready,” Calipari explained.
The Wildcats have feel they are ready.
“We know that they are going to play hard and it’s going to be a physical game, but we’ve been preparing for that all week,” said Kentucky freshman Devin Booker.
Tip-off is at 9:45 p.m. Thursday night on CBS.