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Beginning Monday, June 21st, 2004 CHN began unveiling 144 Team previews in 144 Days. CHN ranked the nations top 144 teams, and is unveiling one per day leading up until the opening day of the 2004-05 Season.


Bookmark the 144 Teams in 144 Days home page, and check back each day to see which team is previewed next.


#83 West Virginia Mountaineers
Big East
2003-04: 17-14, 7-9, 9th
2003-04 postseason: NIT

By Joel Welser

The Mountaineers made a deep run into the NIT, beating Kent State and Rhode Island before falling to eventual NIT runner-up Rutgers.  John Beilein’s squad returns all five starters but will lose some important role players.

Who’s Out: The biggest loss is Drew Schifino, who is transferring to Middle Tennessee State.  The 6-3 forward only played in 11 games last season but averaged 17.6 points and 5.3 rebounds.  Tyler Relph played in all 31 games for the Mountaineers.  The sophomore guard will spend his junior season at St. Bonaventure.  Jerrah Young didn’t see many minutes as a freshman, but his impact would have been greater this year for West Virginia.  Instead, the 6-6 forward is transferring to Toledo.  Sparingly used Jonathan Curran has run out of eligibility.

Who’s In: Point guard Darris Nichols averaged 24.8 points as a senior in high school.  The lefty point guard is an explosive scorer who should see some early minutes off the bench.  Center Luke Bonner will add some more muscle under the basket.  At 6-10 and 235 pounds, he can battle with anybody underneath.  Luke is the brother of former Florida Gator Matt Bonner.  Brad Byerson redshirted last season and will see his first action on the floor during the 2004-2005 season.  He is a solid rebounder and should see some playing time off the bench.  Mike Gansey, a transfer from St. Bonaventure will add some depth on the wing.  Walk-on Ted Talkington shouldn’t see too much playing time as a freshman.

Who to Watch: D’or Fischer is one of the most exciting players in the Big East that has flown under the radar for the most part.  In his first season for West Virginia, after transferring from Northwestern State, Fischer put up some big numbers.  He scored 10.8 points and grabbed 6.2 rebounds and blocked an amazing four shots per game.  The 6-11 center shattered West Virginia’s block record for a single season.  The record was set at 70 by Marcus Goree in 2000, and Fischer ended the 2003-2004 season with 124 blocks.  Fishcer scored his season high in the last two regular season games, netting 19 against both Syracuse and Miami.  If he can continue that for the 2004-2005 season, the Mountaineers could cause some trouble.

Projected Conference Rank: Despite all the returning starters, the Mountaineers could end up finishing 10th in the Big East.  It will be tough to catch up with teams like Rutgers and Seton Hall, but 10th in the conference is still good enough for a second straight trip to the NIT.

Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT


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Email Joel Welser: jwelser_chn@ameritech.net

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