MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – It’s almost officially holiday college basketball season.
Here are the biggest takeaways from interim head coach Josh Eilert’s media availability before the Fort Myers Tip-Off:
Change of scenery
The Mountaineers will hit the road for Florida this weekend after three home games and a home exhibition grounded the WVU team in Morgantown for the start of the season.
“[We are] looking forward to getting out of Morgantown, and I think our guys have been putting a lot of dedication and a lot of work into our program,” Eilert said. “The fact that we’re going to go to the Sunshine State and compete in a different court is going to be fun for everyone involved in the program.
The Mountaineers were scheduled to take a preseason trip to Italy over the summer for exhibition games, but it was canceled amid WVU’s roster carousel that came after former WVU coach Bob Huggins’ resignation.
Not looking ahead
WVU will play two games in Fort Myers: the first will be against SMU, and the second will be against either Wisconsin or Virginia, depending on which teams win each game.
“Personally, I don’t get involved [with scouting] the second opponent,” Eilert said. “We divvy up the scouts in terms of our assistants, and so we have guys working on those scouts in the meantime, but I don’t want to look ahead past SMU at this point, me personally, and I don’t want our team looking past them in any way.”
The Mustangs are currently 3-1 after a 79-66 loss to Texas A&M. They were picked to finish seventh out of 14 teams in the American Athletic Conference’s preseason pool.
Usage of analytics
Eilert has alluded to an increased usage of advanced analytics within the WVU program multiple times over the span of this short season, and he dove a little deeper into the specifics Friday morning.
“More so than not, my analytics have everything to do with lineup combinations, and I’m going to hopefully add a few pieces in the coming weeks…I’ll have a few more variables within the rotation to kind of dive into,” he said. “Right now, that’s pretty limited, but you can see which guys play really well together, and which guys don’t. There was a very telling stat between two guys that did not play well together in the five games even going back to the Vanderbilt scrimmage for whatever reason, and that combination of two guys we’ve tried to avoid at all costs to try to make ourselves more efficient.”
He also mentioned postgame Tuesday that his decision to start freshman Ofri Naveh over Seth Wilson against Jacksonville State was driven by analytics.