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    Following Flynt - Irish Face Tough Road Test in Morgantown

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    WVU Coliseum.jpg

    On Wednesday, the Notre Dame men's basketball team will look to add to its growing NCAA Tournament resume. Head coach Mike Brey's squad will try for its fifth consecutive win and third straight victory away from the Purcell Pavilion when it travels 437 miles east to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers. As many others have learned however, leaving Morgantown, W. Va. with a 'W' is no easy task.

    The Mountaineers' home arena, the WVU Coliseum opened in 1970 (two years after the Joyce Center) and has developed a reputation as one of the toughest venues in college basketball. The raucous environment is due in part to the dedicated and passionate West Virginia fans, who made headlines in Feb. 2010, when the profanity and foul chants from the university's student section were loud enough to be heard on television.

    Later that month, in a game against rival Pittsburgh, the students threw "T-shirts, plastic bottles and other debris onto the court."

    Since the start of the 2006-07 season, the Mountaineers' men's basketball team has compiled a 78-11 record on its home floor (.876 winning percentage). Meanwhile, Notre Dame leads the all-time series 25-12, but has lost its last three trips to the WVU Coliseum. The Irish last won at West Virginia in 2005, when Colin Falls ('07) had five three-pointers and 19 points, lifting Notre Dame to a 70-57 victory.

    With a 9 pm ET start, the fans in Morgantown will have plenty of time to get rowdy for the nationally televised game (ESPNU). Notre Dame is 15-8 overall and 7-3 in the BIG EAST (4th place), while West Virginia is 16-8 this season and 6-5 in the conference (8th place). That being said, it's a pivotal game for both teams as they gear up for the home stretch of the regular season and make their statement for a ticket to the Big Dance in March.

    - Josh Flynt ('11)

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