College Basketball Preview:West Virginia vs. Rutgers
Published 12:00 am Friday, December 4, 2009
PISCATAWAY, N.J. ó While No. 5 Cincinnati and No. 14 Pittsburgh are playing for the Big East title today, No. 24 West Virginia and Rutgers are battling for an upgrade.
Whoever wins gets a better bowl game.
And the Mountaineers, as it turns out, will tie for second place in the conference if they win and the undefeated Bearcats roll over the Panthers.
West Virginia climbed back into the rankings by upsetting Pitt in the Backyard Brawl last week, a victory that put the Mountaineers back on the radar screen of the Gator Bowl, which gets the Big East’s second-place team. The bowl also has expressed interest in inviting Florida State out of the ACC, meaning retiring coach Bobby Bowden potentially could coach his final game for the Seminoles against a school he coached in the 1970s.
West Virginia coach Bill Stewart wants nothing to do with such talk ó yet.
“It’s round seven of the Big East,” Stewart said. “I can’t stop what people put out there. As soon as we got off the field on Friday night, I started hearing things about the Gator Bowl and the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
“Let us get through game 12 before we worry about game 13. We are playing Rutgers before we play in any bowl.”
It isn’t likely to be easy, even though West Virginia (8-3, 4-2 Big East) is seeking its 15th straight victory over the Scarlet Knights. But Rutgers will be at home.
The Scarlet Knights also have something to shoot for. At 8-3 (3-3 Big East), a win might mean a bid to the Meineke bowl in Charlotte, which gets the No. 3 Big East selection. A loss likely puts Rutgers in the St. Petersburg Bowl or the International Bowl.