Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
West Virginia established itself as a serious national contender Sunday night by winning the 76 Classic in Anaheim with an 84-66 win over Portland in the final.
The Big East has now accounted for three major holiday tournament championships.
Unbeaten Syracuse (6-0) beat defending NCAA champ North Carolina last week to win the Coaches vs. Cancer event at Madison Square Garden.
No. 4 Villanova (6-0) — the Big East’s preseason No. 1 team — won the Puerto-Rico Tip-Off
And now the No. 8 Mountaineers (5-0) prevailed over a deep field in Anaheim.
Senior Da’Sean Butler was named tournament MVP after putting up 26 points on 10-for-16 shooting. He is now 13th on the all-time West Virginia scoring list with 1,532 points.
“The thing about it is he can score so many ways,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins told MSNsportsNET.com. “He can score off the bounce. He can score in the post. He makes the 3. He’s not a great percentage 3-point shooter but he makes big 3-point shots for us. When he kind of gets it going from 3 then he’s really hard to guard because that opens up his dribble drive.”
NEW YORK — J.J. Redick is aware of the widespread perceptions of white basketball players.
They are generally described as slower, less athletic and less “talented” than their African-American counterparts.
“I don’t buy into all that,” he said after scoring 7 points in the Magic’s 114-102 victory Sunday over the Knicks at MSG. “There’s perceptions, obviously, if you’re a white player. I think you just deal with it from the time you’re 8 on. It’s second nature, you don’t think about it.