This is a rematch of last year's 7/10 game, were West Virginia broke the tournament record for made three-pointers.
The Mountaineers won the two regular season meetings between the two by a combined 39 points, but Weyinmi Efejuku is playing his best basketball of the season, and so is Providence.
I'll take WVU, but by less than the eight-point spread.
Let's hit it.
2:28- Jamie Smalligan for three to start the game? Is this one over?
2:29- Providence immediately turns it over via backcourt violation. Hard to envision a worse possible start.
2:30- A midlife crisis is the only possible explanation for Huggins' bizarre attire this season. He's wearing the Pitt outfit again this afternoon.
2:34- Huggins calls timeout to rip his team. It's 5-3 WVU after three minutes.
2:36- Efejuku sticks a contested three, and we might have a random Weyinmi game on our hands. It's the 'Eers up 9-6 at the first TV timeout.
2:40- I love, love, love Joe Alexander. Kid is a ridiculous talent, and I would not be surprised if he ends up being the BE player of the year in '09. I said it.
2:41- Fantastic pace to this one as both teams have begun to stop settling for threes. 13-12 Dub Vee.
2:43- I'm still confused why Geoff McDermott didn't have a better junior season. He's one of the better jack-of-all-trades guys in the league, and he should have made a huge leap after a promising first half of last season. He came to play today, however, it's the Friahs by three at the under 12.
2:47- Whoa. Unexpected first Denny sighting of the tournament, and the obligatory shot at Jay Bilas is fired by McDonough.
2:50- Ted Talkington is a hilarious name. There's no way you can be a big-time basketball player if your name is Ted Talkington. This guy will be your accountant in three years.
20-14 Providence as Efejuku's six points leads all scorers.
2:53- The officials have ruined what was an entertaining pace with a string of three consecutive whistles. McDermott hits a pair of free-throws and it's 22-15.
2:54- There is no more terrifying mascot in college basketball than the Providence Friar. I'm not sure if it's because he looks somewhat like the killer from Scream or if Friars are just naturally creepy. Oh God, they just gave it a close-up and I'm extremely close to crying.
2:57- Odds that Bob Knight swears live on the air before the end of the week: 3-to-1.
2:58- West Virginia hasn't hit a shot in six minutes, and they haven't even really been all that close. Randall Hanke dunk makes it 24-15.
3:02- First jump-ball induced almost fight of the tournament!
3:03- McDermott is doing everything for PC, now even running the point. But an Alexander jumper and a pair of Da'Sean Butler free-throws get the lead down to five. Friars up 26-21 at the under four.
3:09- West Virginia is really struggling with Providence's zone. They're getting the ball into the middle pretty effectively, but when it's anyone other than Alexander they aren't able to accomplish anything positive. They've either got to flash Alexander at the free-throw line, or get someone (Alex Ruoff) to start hitting some outside shots.
3:11- YES! The first dry McDonough "that's not a good call" of the tournament. Turns out it was a good call, and these guys - unlike some others (Packer) - aren't afraid to admit they were wrong.
3:14- Providence beginning to remember that they're Providence. Eight straight points by the Mountaineers, and the lead is trimmed to one.
3:16- Efejuku misses consecutive front ends of one-and-ones, and WVU has a shot to take the lead before the break.
3:17- Blown lay-up by Flowers and Efejuku is headed back to the stripe with 4.5 to play.
3:18- Alexander does his best Dwayne Anderson impression, and buries a three just before the buzzer. We're knotted at 28 after 20 minutes.
3:32- I don't understand the Alex Rodriguez commercial. And notice that we don't ever seeing him make a throw to first...or hitting in October.
3:35- All right, here's to a better second half than we saw in the first game. Although Providence is certainly capable of playing Syracuse in this adaptation.
3:37- Wow. Providence's leading scorer - Jeff Xavier - didn't attempt a shot in the first half. Efejuku and Alexander open the second half with buckets and we're tied at 30.
3:39- Xavier finally gets an open look and drills a trey. Friahs back on top 33-32.
3:42- Nichols misses an open look from the top of the key as WVU is as cold as they were hot from the outside a year ago. Xavier buries another one from the same spot, and it's PC by four at the under 16.
3:46- Mighty Joe is simply carrying the Mountaineers right now. He's got 16.
3:48- Alex Ruoff finally hits from the outside, and uh-oh, it's 39-36 WVU. Here's where Providence has collapsed all season. Let's see if we get anything different in the postseason.
3:52- Alexander's stats through 27 minutes: 7-of-10 shooting, 16 points, six rebounds, four assists.
3:54- Solid answer from PC. Another McDermott dunk puts the Friars back on top 40-39.
4:01- Providence impressively stepping up its defense, and WVU has uncharacteristically turned it over 15 times. Friars 42. Mountaineers 41 as Geoff McDermott picks up his third foul.
4:04- McDermott does so much for this team. He gets a big rebound and then gets his team out on the break where Jamine Peterson scores and is fouled. It's 44-41 and Peterson will shoot one after the under eight timeout.
4:07- Good God Alexander is good. 46-43.
4:08- Peterson misses his second dunk of the game - impressive in its own right - and the 'Eers get a lay-up on the other end. Pretty big swing.
4:10- Fast break dunk for Wellington Smith puts West Virginia on top 47-46 with 4:33 left. We got a good one.
4:13- Jamine makes up for the missed dunk (kind of) by stroking a pair of free-throws to give PC the lead. Butler puts WVU back on top, however, with a put-back on the other end.
4:15- A questionable charge call on Peteron - who apparently is everywhere - sends us to the final media timeout. West Virginia by a point.
4:18- Butler with yet another tip-in (that should have been waved off for goaltending), and PC is really struggling to accomplish anything with the ball. 52-48 West Virginia after a Talkington free-throw.
4:19- Efejuku with an enormous bucket to make it a two-point game.
4:20- 52-50 West Virginia with 1:47 left. Providence ball with ten seconds to shoot. Get it to McDermott on the block.
4:21- Poor decision by Weyinmi, who launches a three that misses the mark. WVU with the ball and the lead with 1:24 to play.
4:23- Wow, ESPN just showed a Providence missed dunk/lay-up montage, and it may have been the most embarrassing thing I've ever seen.
4:24- Again, horrible offensive execution by Providence. Xavier drives with his head down and Darris Nichols blocks his shot. Joe Alexander to the line for a pair.
4:25- Alexander hits two and a wild Efejuku shot isn't close. This one's over.
4:25- This is why Providence loses and why Friar fans are upset with Welsh. Nothing set up on either crucial trip in the last minute.
Alexander misses, but a lane violation gives him a second chance, and he makes two. Oh Providence.
4:27- McKenzie hits a three that likely ensures that the Friars will beat the spread. 58-53 Mountaineers with 1.8 seconds remaining.
4:28- Did we just witness our final Tim Welsh huddle? Probably.
West Virginia 58, Providence 53
4:30- All right, time to relax, grub, and then find out who we play tomorrow.