BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Trapped in the corner by West Virginia's Daxter Miles Jr. and Nate Adrian, the usually sure-handed Matt Farrell lost his handle, the ball dribbling away from him. Adrian, who was falling onto his back, wrapped his right hand around the ball and flipped it out to Miles, who tossed up a little lob to a streaking Esa Ahmad for an emphatic tomahawk dunk.
That, boys and girls, is vintage West Virginia basketball.
And if that is the way these Mountaineers are going to play next weekend in the Sweet 16, teams in the West Region ought to be on high alert.
The Irish came into this game ranked second in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio. They left a discombobulated mess, doing things players learn in bitty ball to avoid against a press, like Farrell's fiasco in the corner. Notre Dame did not merely cough up the ball 14 times, it also committed frustration fouls and took tentative shots.
In this tournament, being different is a huge advantage, and West Virginia is about as unique a team you’ll find in what’s left of the field. Teams can study film and prepare for the press on the practice court, but there’s no way to properly mimic the active hands, quick traps and general mayhem the Mountaineers create.