LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Perhaps this change of scenery will help West Virginia University's basketball team.
After visiting the snowy northwest and getting hammered by Gonzaga, the Mountaineers (0-1) hit the Sunshine State for a three-game Old Spice Classic stint at the HP Field House at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.
WVU will play today, Friday and Sunday in the bracket event. The Mountaineers start against 1-2 Marist at noon today on ESPN2. If they win, they'll face the winner of the Vanderbilt-Davidson contest at 12:30 p.m. Friday on ESPN.
"Obviously the tournament is one of the premier tournaments in the country," said WVU coach Bob Huggins. "You look at the teams and the coaches and they're outstanding.
"On one side of the bracket you have Gonzaga, Clemson, UTEP and Oklahoma. Not many tournaments have that."
If you're wondering, both WVU and No. 17 Gonzaga would have to reach the finals for a rematch of the Zags' 84-50 rout.
Straight ahead for West Virginia is a Marist team fulfilling low season expectations. The Red Foxes were a preseason pick to finish eighth in the 10-team Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Marist opened the season with a 60-57 home loss to Stony Brook, followed by a 74-60 road loss to Colgate before winning 67-62 against Columbia in New York City.
"They're fiesty," Huggins said of the Red Foxes. "They'll create mismatches with their [smaller] size, try to spread us and make 3's. They'll force our bigs to go out and defend."
In the victory over Columbia, Marist was led by Chavaughn Lewis, a 6-foot-5, 185-pound sophomore, who had 19 points.