tampabay.com

Central alum on the hot seat?

By DAVID MURPHY
Published March 1, 2007


The word out of West Virginia is that Alex Ruoff is in a slump.

A column in Wednesday's Charleston Daily Mail by Andrew J. Beckner explored the possibility of the former Central star losing some playing time to freshman Joe Mazzulla, who scored 11 in the Mountaineers' 80-66 loss to No. 12 Pittsburgh on Tuesday, their third defeat in four games.

"If there's a quarterback controversy at the shooting guard position at West Virginia," Beckner writes, "you can certainly understand why."

Ruoff has shot under 30 percent from 3-point range since Jan. 31, and, according to Beckner, his average is as low as it has been since December.

Still, West Virginia coach John Beilein was quoted as saying there was no controversy.

"Every day players miss shots," Beilein said in the paper. "Some guys have good games and some guys have bad games. If I say it's mental, it's going to become mental. I don't say anything at all ...just keep shooting."

Ruoff, a sophomore, is second on the Mountaineers in minutes played (32.2 a game) and is averaging 9.5 points per game and 3.4 rebounds. He leads the team in assists (4.9), and is among the nation's leaders in steals per game (2.4).

West Virginia (20-8, 8-7 Big East) looks like a lock for the NCAA Tournament, though it dropped out of the Associated Press top 25. The Mountaineers play their regular-season finale Saturday against Cincinnati. The Big East Tournament begins next week in New York.

A column in Wednesday's Charleston Daily Mail by Andrew J. Beckner explored the possibility of the former Central star losing some playing time to freshman Joe Mazzulla, who scored 11 in the Mountaineers' 80-66 loss to No. 12 Pittsburgh on Tuesday Former Hernando star Bernice Mosby scored 24 against Texas A&M Sunday, but it wasn't enough as the No. 16 Aggies topped No. 14 Baylor 63-58. Mosby was averaging 18.1 points and 9.5 rebounds for the Bears heading into Wednesday's matchup against No. 12 Oklahoma.

SWANSTON UPDATE: Former Hernando star Kyle Swanston will take another crack at making the NCAA Tournament when James Madison begins play in the Colonial Association tournament Friday. The Dukes (7-22, 4-14) play last year's March sweetheart, George Mason, in the first round. Swanston is averaging 6.6 points per game and is shooting just under 35 percent from 3-point range.

David Murphy can be reached at dmurphy@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1407