The 2011 Las Vegas Classic lineup has finally been announced, and WVU should have an excellent opportunity to make some noise. The Mountaineers will be joined by Missouri State, Baylor, and Saint Mary's as the top programs for the tournament. Each team will be play two games against lesser opponents before heading to Sin City for the Semi's. WVU is yet to hear who their first two opponents will be from a group that includes Kennesaw State, Tennessee State, Bethune-Cookman, and Texas A+M Corpus Christi.
The young Mountaineer team will be facing some more veteran-laden teams when the tournament shifts to Vegas. Baylor returns most of their key players, and is expected to be ranked fairly high to start the season. Missouri State is always tough in the MVC, and return most of their key players as well. And Saint Mary's lost only one starter from a team that was very competitive in the WCC.
This should be a good test for Bobby Huggins, who will have a handful of games with the youngsters before this tournament kicks off. The Mountaineers will certainly be relying on Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant, especially early on. Kevin Noreen missed most of last season with an injury, and Deniz Kilicli battled inconsistency. That's it for returners. Jabarie Hinds, Keaten Miles, and the rest of the 654 new Mountaineers will be asked to step up early and often.
This will be a very fun team to watch. Huggins continues to build towards his ideal team, full of superior athletes, and straight-up hustlers. However, a lot rides on this giant recruiting class to work out, considering there isn't much to show from the last two recruiting seasons.