McElhinny: A great day for basketball fans, wherever you may be

Brad McElhinny subs in on commentary today:

The entire state of West Virginia vanished Friday afternoon.

Brad McElhinny

Some speculated that the disappearance of 1.9 million state residents was a mass transporting of believers. West Virginia is, after all, almost heaven.

Others believe the entire state was watching basketball.

It seemed no coincidence that the state’s two big universities, West Virginia and Marshall, were playing in the NCAA tournament in San Diego, California.

As pairings were announced, many Mountaineers almost certainly looked at each other and said, “California is the place we ought to be.”

And many more were seen pouring into local sports bars.

Marshall was set to tip at 1:30 p.m. EST. West Virginia was taking the court next at 4 p.m.

The full afternoon of basketball meant no work was being done Friday afternoon in the entire state. Mountaineers always have free time. This meant yet another blow to the state economy, except for to the beer and chips sector, which surged.

There was a lot to root for.

Bob Huggins, favorite West Virginian of all time, coaches a team with senior leaders Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr.

Their relentless “Press Virginia” defense reminds state residents of their own gritty work ethic.

Marshall, led by West Virginia native Dan D’Antoni, features three West Virginians in the starting lineup. One of them, Jarrod West, is the son of miracle-shot-making Jarrod West, who celebrated with the Mountaineers 20 years ago.

Under the “D’Analytics” playbook, Marshall runs the floor and throws up 3-pointers from anywhere.

These are teams that don’t play any more, unfortunately. The annual Capitol Classic is no more.

But if Marshall and West Virginia both win, they’ll meet each other on Sunday in San Diego.

You better believe everybody in the state will be watching that.

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