MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- In a lot of ways, the West Virginia and Virginia Tech basketball teams that meet today in Blacksburg are mirror images of each other.
Both are coming off 13-19 seasons and have drastically rebuilt their rosters. The Mountaineers have just five holdovers (all with starting experience) - three freshmen and two transfers. Virginia Tech has a few more returnees (eight), but also has four freshmen and a transfer.
Shoot, the teams even have similar eligibility issues. Both lost prized freshmen to academics - WVU's Elijah Macon and Tech's Malik Mueller. And others being counted on are shelved, like WVU's Jonathan Holton (ineligible) and Tech's C.J. Barksdale (suspended the first three games).
Of course, all of that will be merely window dressing when the teams play at 1 p.m. today at Cassell Coliseum as part of ESPN's 24-hour tip-off marathon. It's still a chance for these two old foes to get together for only the second time since Virginia Tech left the Big East in 2004.
It's WVU's first trip to Blacksburg since then. The teams played in Morgantown a year ago with West Virginia winning 68-67.
And given all the changes the two teams have made during the offseason, it's hard to tell how this one will play out.
"I think they have more [experience] back than what we have back,'' West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said Monday. "But to be honest, I haven't paid much attention to that. I'm just trying to figure out how to win games.''
Well, if you're looking for differences in the two teams, there's a good place to start. At least in the opener, West Virginia found a way to win, beating Mount St. Marys rather routinely. Virginia Tech wasn't so lucky, falling 64-63 to South Carolina Upstate Saturday at home.
"I don't think there's any question,'' Huggins said of the Hokies' mindset after that loss. "They'll come back with a lot more resolve.''