Thursday, February 2, 2023

Huggins Fuming Again After Loss

Cover Photo: Ben Queen/USA Today Fort Worth, Texas - The West Virginia Mountaineers suffered another frustrating Big 12 Conference road loss last night, losing to the #15 ranked TCU Horned Frogs, 76-72. This was another very winnable game for the Mountaineers that would have been huge on their resume for the NCAA Tournament, but West Virginia (13-9, 2-7) fell short. Here's what legendary head coach Bob Huggins had to say after the game: "We didn't come out with much enthusiasm," said Huggins. "I was extremely upset with us in the first ten minutes of the game, just our lack of energy, our lack of competitiveness. I tried to come in and talk with them about it at halftime and I thought it was better, but we put ourselves in a real hole. And then every little thing becomes way more important than what it probably is. "We put ourselves in a bad, bad position, and we just couldn't fight our way out of it. We had people standing there, staring at the ball and they back cut us and shot layups. We've worked on that time and time again. We talked about that, we showed it on film, but we just didn't adjust to it. We just didn't do it. Then we got guys making excuses and the guys who are supposed to be our leaders did not lead. We may have to find ourselves some new leaders. You can't have your leaders pouting. They made mistakes. It's their fault. It's nobody else's fault. They just did not give us the enthusiasm and the competitiveness and toughness that they generally do." The Mountaineers are back in action at home on Saturday, Feb. 4th against the Oklahoma Sooners. The game starts at 8:00PM.

Former Player Says WVU Basketball Would Thrive in the ACC

Morgantown, West Virginia - There is no question that the Big 12 Conference is the toughest, most difficult conference in college basketball right now. With six teams in the Top 25 and no real weak teams, there is no other conference in the nation that compares to the Big 12. Former West Virginia Mountaineers guard Drew Schifino believes that West Virginia would be one of the top-ranked teams in college basketball if they played in a difference conference and didn't have to play tough game after tough game every time they step on the court. "Wish WVU played in the ACC," Schifino said. "They would be a top ten team right now." https://twitter.com/drewfino15/status/1619415148246224897?s=20&t=wRz6Ac-qxTjBv4e1SyF-5w Schifino, who played for the Mountaineers from 2001-2004 and was one of the most prolific scorers in team history, averaging 15.4 points per game in three seasons in Morgantown, does have a point. The ACC does not compare to the Big 12 and West Virginia would certainly have a far better record in another conference and would likely be ranked in the Top 25 if not the Top 10. Schifino added, "Big 12 basketball is like the SEC in football. Best conference, no debate." https://twitter.com/drewfino15/status/1619428929483464704?s=20&t=wRz6Ac-qxTjBv4e1SyF-5w

Auburn Coach Says Beating WVU Would Have Been a Real Prize

Morgantown, West Virginia - The West Virginia Mountaineers (13-8, 2-6) defeated the #15 ranked Auburn Tigers in front of a sold-out WVU Coliseum crowd yesterday. Following the game, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said it was a disappointing loss, complimented the West Virginia crowd and said that his team missed out on a very big opportunity. "It was a disappointing loss," Pearl said. "We battled back from being down 16 points in the second half, but during the last four minutes, we didn't get the defensive stops that we had gotten throughout the second half. I thought we did a really good job of guarding Erik Stevenson, but he was at his best game tonight. He's always played well against us and that is why we tried to recruit him. West Virginia is in the mid-twenties in the NET rankings and so this was a real prize that we missed," Pearl said. "It was a disappointing loss, but in some ways we made some progress. We had won the last three road games and we had a real chance to win four in a row. I'm proud of our guys for playing hard in a tough environment." The Mountaineers greatly improved their chances of playing in the NCAA Tournament with the win. West Virginia has a tough remaining schedule with only ten games remaining and they probably need to win at least 5-7 of those games to get to 18-20 wins on the season. With games upcoming against ranked teams like TCU, Iowa State, Texas, Baylor, Kansas and Kansas State still remaining, that will be no easy task. West Virginia is back in action on Tuesday, January 31 at 9:00PM against the #11 ranked TCU Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, Texas.  

Charles Barkley Ate His Own Words

Charles Barkley is never one to shy away from sharing his opinion. Well, it seems as if that mentality has come back to bite him. According to WVU Assistant Coach DerMarr Johnson, was in a bar in Morgantown last night telling WVU fans that his Auburn Tigers were going to kick their “you know what.” https://twitter.com/dermarrjohnson/status/1619435703812886528?s=46&t=UZjngQFPjLrJ3yCgPjlk8w   Following an 80-77 victory for WVU, those who had to endure his wrath can now laugh in his face. Barkley made a special guest appearance last night at Bob Huggins’ Fish Fry.

Bob Huggins Believes the Mountaineers Are About to Make a Run

Cover Photo - Ben Queen, USA Today Morgantown, West Virginia - The West Virginia Mountaineers (13-8 overall, 2-6 in the Big 12 Conference) upset the #15 ranked Auburn Tigers behind a huge night from senior guard Erik Stevenson's career-high 30 points. Here's what head coach Bob Huggins had to say about the huge victory: "We got Erik open today. I thought we did a great job of screening and getting him open and he made shots. When you have opportunities to step on people's throats, you have to do that. And we didn't do that. We didn't play nearly as hard in the second half. We didn't get the movement in the second half that we did in the first half. Maybe we were a little tired. I thought James (Okonkwo) played well. Keddy (Kedrian Johnson) is the engine that drives the train. We're getting better. You have to play these kind of games. We've had guys that have never played in these games. Some of our guys are putting some real time in (in the gym). Jimmy (Bell) is working hard. James (Okonkwo) is going to be a real factor down the stretch. We've got to learn that every time you step on the floor, you have to be ready to play. You can't stand there and daydream. That's typical of young teams. I wanted to get Seth (Wilson) in the game more, but I was worried about needing him down the stretch if Erik (Stevenson) got in foul trouble, but Erik was playing too well to take out. It's hard to take Tre (Mitchell) out. He's been our best player. But he wasn't as bouncy as he usually is and had a bad day today. I told the team that we could go win four in a row before we gave that game away against Oklahoma. Now we need to go win 4 out of 5!" The Mountaineers are back in action on Tuesday, January 31st at 9:00 at #11 ranked TCU.

Charles Barkley Calls West Virginia Fans Unbelievable

Morgantown, West Virginia - Hall of Fame basketball player Charles Barkley is in Morgantown for the Bob Huggins' Annual Fish Fry, which he attended last night. Today, Barkley is in the WVU Coliseum for the West Virginia versus Auburn basketball game. Barkley, of course, attended Auburn University prior to his NBA career and has remained a supporter of the program. "I think we have our hands full today! These West Virginia fans are unbelievable. Not just today but throughout history. This place is an unbelievable environment. This place is always hard to play in both football and basketball. Morgantown is a hostile environment and it's going to be tough to get a win here." Barkley also had the following to say about senior guard Erik Stevenson: "This boy here is a natural. He is a clear and present danger. I like his swag, too." https://twitter.com/hugginsfishfry/status/1619106571404951555?s=20&t=Mwbs1vuPqmmPDaRw_JzX1g West Virginia (12-8) needs a victory today against the #15 ranked Auburn Tigers to continue to improve their resume for the NCAA Tournament in March.

Do WVU Fans Still Believe in Bob Huggins?

(Photo by WVU Athletics)  With the struggles of the WVU Men’s Basketball team, Bob Huggins is now the center of attention for Mountaineer Nation. Many fans have started to question if the 69-year old Half of Famer is still the man for the job in Morgantown - and rightfully so. Over the last two seasons, the Mountaineers have struggled. The team has accumulated a 6-20 record in Big 12 play since the beginning of the 2021-22 season. Ask any fan in the Mountain State and they will tell you that’s simply not good enough. I took it upon myself to run a poll on Twitter to see if fans still believe Huggins can win it all with West Virginia. A total of 85 people cast their vote. It was a narrow race but the ultimate answer was “no,” fans do not believe Bob Huggins can still win a National Championship with the Mountaineers. https://twitter.com/_jamesclark3_/status/1618479777375223810?s=46&t=hAd3IUF6IaNnSu1CyyNYbA Here was the final count; 51.8% = NO 48.2% = YES   It’s a narrow margin but the fans who participated are obviously beginning to lose hope in Huggins. Could it be time for WVU to turn to a younger face to run the basketball program? Only time will tell. Huggins isn’t getting any younger and the gauntlet isn’t getting any easier. It’s apparent that his championship window with the Mountaineers has passed.

Bob Huggins Feeling Good After Big Win

Cover Photo: Ben Queen/USA Today Morgantown, West Virginia - The West Virginia Mountaineers snapped their twelve game Big 12 road losing streak tonight, getting a huge win at Texas Tech, 76-61. Here's what Bob Huggins had to say following the game: "Our starters didn't have much pop to them tonight. I thought we'd go with with our young guys and guys who had a little more pop to them.  I thought our bench and our young guys were really good tonight. Joe (Toussaint) came in and did a terrific job for us. James (Okonkwo) was very good, Mo (Wague) was good. Josiah (Harris) had some really good minutes for us. I thought that was a great team win. We turned the ball over so many times. If we can get that cleaned up, we should be fine. We rebounded a lot better. To me, winning this game is a huge relief. We've given so many games away. We need to go home and rest. We're really banged up right now. We have another big game on Saturday." The Mountaineers are back in action against the Auburn Tigers at noon at the WVU Coliseum. https://twitter.com/voicemorgantown/status/1618433430865448960?s=20&t=VOJubI-WQou8GYYrG99_hA

What Should Happen If WVU Loses to Texas Tech

(Photo by WVU Athletics)  The West Virginia University Men’s Basketball team travels to Lubbock, Texas tonight to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders. After losing six of their last seven games, this matchup with the Red Raiders has become a must-win for the Mountaineers. Texas Tech is currently the worst team in the Big 12 Conference, sitting with a 10-9 record and an 0-7 mark in league play. This is a winnable game for the Mountaineers for obvious reasons, however, crazier things have happened. If we have learned anything, it is West Virginia that these crazy things ultimately happen to. There is a possibility that WVU could lose to Texas Tech tonight. Should that come to fruition, it would place Bob Huggins and company squarely in last place in the Big 12. This will be enough to raise up a stir from Mountaineer Nation as well as the devoted student base at West Virginia University. A loss should mean that Head Coach Bob Huggins is placed squarely on the hot seat and thrown the hard questions from the media. But as we have learned, there is a difference between expectation and reality. We expect the media members to give the general public the answers they desire, but the reality is they would rather be buddies with the coaching staff and ask peculiar questions that carry no weight in the overall scheme of things. The problem with WVU Athletics right now is that nobody is being held accountable. You can argue the Larry Harrison firing, but that move was questionable to say the least. If the entire program is struggling, that starts at the top with the head coach. This is not to say he needs fired by any means, but the work must be put in to find out just what is going on. With a loss to Texas Tech tonight, it should be time for Bob Huggins to be held accountable. The fans are fed up and losing interest, and nothing seems to be changing. The hard questions have to be asked, the challenging decisions have to be made and we need answers. It is far past time.  

Someone in Morgantown Has to Make the Tough Decisions Eventually

(Photo by WVU Athletics)  Sitting at 11-8 overall and 1-6 in Big 12 play, it’s hard to find anything good about the WVU Men’s Basketball team right now. Despite a 10-2 start, dropping six of the last seven games has really brewed a lot of turmoil amongst Mountaineer fans. The 1.8 million West Virginians that support the Old Gold and Blue want answers and they want them now. An attempt at change was finally made when the university decided to move on from Assistant Coach Larry Harrison. However, a change that minor will not mean much in the grand scheme of things. This program is in need of a much greater overhaul. If the administration at WVU has proven anything, it is that they are afraid of change. They are afraid to make the call when the athletics teams are at their lowest. With this blatant neglect, the teams continue to suffer and fans lose interest. This is why West Virginia has been at the bottom of the Big 12 standings in virtually every sport. If this program wants to stay afloat in the collegiate athletics of today, this cannot go on. Someone has to make the important and difficult calls. Let’s take Bob Huggins for example. He’s a legend and has given his heart and soul to the Men’s Basketball program. However, things have not been good under his watch as of late. Seemingly everyone has been held accountable except Huggins - THE ONE WHO RUNS THE PROGRAM. Despite his legendary status, can someone please explain to me how this makes sense? If something isn’t working, it isn’t working. Given West Virginia’s record over the last two seasons, it is evident something is off with the gentlemen on the hardwood. So why has the university been mum on anything else than an assistant coaching change? Why are we, the fans, the ones who spend our hard-earned money to watch this team, left in the dust? It doesn’t make sense - and quite frankly, it’s frustrating. Mountaineer Nation deserves answers and we deserve an administration who cares enough to make changes for the betterment of the program. No matter what it may be, many of the athletics in Morgantown are in need of an alteration. Someone, please, step up to the plate and be willing to save our Mountaineers from the cellar. The longer it is put off the deeper this hole is going to continue to get.

The Bob Huggins Era is Running Out of Steam

(Photo by WVU Athletics)  The West Virginia University Men’s Basketball team has backed themselves into a corner. Following a 10-2 start, the Mountaineers have dropped six of their last seven games and now will likely be heading into the home stretch on the outside of the NCAA Tournament looking in. The team is in jeopardy of missing the tournament for the second straight season, and just may be left out of all postseason tournaments should they continue to trend downwards. While there has been a lot of turnover with West Virginia’s roster over the last two seasons, many of the same issues that have plagued them over the last several seasons still remain. For some reason they just can’t seem to get over this metaphorical hump that is hindering them. Though it is easy to blame the players on the court for this, at some point you have to look at coaching. The Mountaineers addressed this when they parted ways with Assistant Coach Larry Harrison earlier this season. However, it is hard to fathom a change that minor will really influence a better outcome in the end. To put it lightly, it’s not going to. I’m going to say what a lot of people are thinking - the Mountaineer Men’s Basketball team needs a major overhaul. Bob Huggins is a West Virginia legend, nobody is denying that. The recognition that he has brought to the school has been monumental and his presence will be felt for many years to come. But it’s time to face the facts - this simply isn’t working anymore. The magical Huggins era is clearly running out of steam before our eyes. In what seemed like overnight, the 2022-23 season has unraveled before our very eyes. The team is undisciplined, struggling from the free throw line and going through major droughts on offense. All of this is recipe for a 1-6 start in Big 12 play. This style of Mountaineer Men’s Basketball isn’t good enough - I won’t sugarcoat it. Huggins is 69-years old and will turn 70 in September. He’s not getting any younger and his style of coaching is quickly becoming a thing of the past. This is evident with the product on the court. It’s not a question for the athletic department, but one for Huggins to ponder. How long? How long will he let this go on? He has always said that he wants to leave the Mountaineers in a better spot than where they found them. Well, this certainly isn’t it. This basketball team is a far cry from where they were when Huggins took over in 2007. With the direction that the program is going, it is hard to imagine them ever getting back to that level under Huggins. No, I’m not saying he should be relieved of his duties. He’s far too accomplished and has done way too much good for the program. What I am saying, however, is that it may be time for him to start looking forward to life after coaching. I would love nothing more than for him to get this turned around and start winning at a high level again, but how realistic is that, really? What are the chances a fast-aging Huggins can build a national title contending program in the numbered amount of time he has left in his career? Not very high, folks. I’ve always been one to call it how I see it. What I’m seeing is a men’s basketball struggling and in need of something fresh. All good things must come to an end, and if the writing on the wall is clear enough, we may be in the final days of the Bob Huggins era. That is if he is true to his word and won’t leave the Mountaineers in worse shape than he found them. I hope I’m wrong. I really do - but it’s a wrap. The future of West Virginia University Men’s Basketball has to be right around the corner. The relevance of the program may rely on it.  

It’s Time to Have a Real Discussion About Bob Huggins Retiring

Cover Photo: Ben Queen/USA Today Morgantown, West Virginia - Bob Huggins is a lot of things. A proud West Virginian. Likely a basketball genius. A man of principle. But Bob Huggins is also famously stubborn. And the world that he lives in, college athletics, is ever-changing. This is the dilemma that Huggins has found himself in. He's been ultra-successful during his long and illustrious career - one of the most successful, accomplished coaches ever - and he doesn't feel adapting and evolving is necessary due to his massive achievements. Recruiting and winning in college basketball is very different than it was when became a household name at Cincinnati. His tough, hard-nose style was acclaimed in the past for shaping troubled young athletes into men. Now, it's nothing more than a detriment to the program he loves so much. Why would a top prospect choose to play for Bob Huggins? Is it because if they screw up in practice, he'll make them run on a treadmill?  Is it so they can play for an entire state that they know nearly nothing about?  Is it because Huggins prioritizes winning and the team success over the individual accomplishments of a player? None of these things are selling points for high school athletes anymore. In fact, they are more of a liability to today's recruits. All the reasons Huggins sold players on to convince them to come play for the Mountaineers in the past are now drawbacks. Bashing Players in Postgames is Ineffective  Huggins routinely bashes his players in postgame comments and unfortunately, this particular strategy is extremely ineffective. Perhaps tough-minded players were motivated by Huggins' tactics in the 1980s, but today's players don't want their names dragged through the mud after a loss. They see it all on social media and in a very negative world, they should at least rely on their head coach to have their backs when times get tough. Instead, Huggins bashes and bashes away, and there's nothing positive that comes from it. Is Bob Huggins the best West Virginia can do?   Someone recently asked me if I would want Bob Huggins to retire and the answer was 'no.' If he were to leave, it's unlikely West Virginia would have the coach of his caliber anytime soon, and no one would ever care so much about the program like he does. I really do not want him to retire. Instead, I want him to show that he's capable of changing. I don't want to hear him grumble about the negative parts of the transfer portal or NIL in college sports. I want to see him embrace it and learn to win big in this changing world. Otherwise, he will sound like a bitter old man who can't adapt, and that's not who Bob Huggins really is. Or is he? Bob Huggins is a winner. More than anything else, he wants to win. This isn't about his principles or what he feels is right or wrong. This is about winning. https://twitter.com/voicemorgantown/status/1617163019703783425?s=20&t=FQt8B13qvlOVP99fmYI1aQ

Bob Huggins “Frustrated and Humiliated” Following Loss

Morgantown, West Virginia - The West Virginia Mountaineers fell to 11-8 overall and 1-6 in the Big 12 Conference, losing to the #7 ranked Texas Longhorns, 69-61. Here's what West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins had to say following the loss: "We've talked multiple times that we're not going to win games turning the ball over 20 times. We spend a huge amount of time working to fix that. I thought it was fixed and it's clearly not. We didn't have a lot of pep in our step. You can't win games in this league going to the free throw line and missing shot after shot. We don't have a chance. I'm beside myself because I thought we were starting to get it in the right direction. We have pieces that do what they're supposed to. I'm torn up, honestly. I thought we had it headed in the right direction. Even the games that we lost this season, we competed. We didn't practice hard for 2 days. Maybe that's my fault, but we're coming off a hard, hard game and I wanted us to have (fresh) legs. We have guys running their mouths the whole game on the bench and when you put them in, they have no idea what they're doing. I can't say, 'I'll fix it' and not fix it because I owe too much to the people of this state. I'm not going to lead anyone on. We're a bad basketball team right now and we've got to get it fixed. I'm going to do everything I possibly can. It's frustrating, it's humiliating." The Mountaineers are back in action on Wednesday at 7:00PM against the Texas Tech Red Raiders (10-9), who have yet to win a game in the Big 12 Conference (0-7).

West Virginia Beats Itself in Loss to Texas

Morgantown, West Virginia - The West Virginia Mountaineers (11-8, 1-6) played competitively throughout the game tonight, but made far too many costly mistakes (20 turnovers) and had too many missed free throws late, falling to the #7 ranked Texas Longhorns, 69-61. The Mountaineers were led by Kedrian Johnson, who had 22 points on 6-9 from the field and 3-5 from three point range. Tre Mitchell, playing in his first game against his former team, added 12 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. The Mountaineers will be back in action on Wednesday at 7:00PM against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, who is the only team that has not yet won a game in the Big 12 Conference. https://twitter.com/WVUhoops/status/1616955676584206336?s=20&t=FQt8B13qvlOVP99fmYI1aQ

Bob Huggins Thrilled With Team in Postgame

Morgantown, West Virginia - The West Virginia Mountaineers (11-7, 1-5) got their first Big 12 Conference win of the season, beating the #14 ranked TCU Horned Frogs (14-4, 3-3), 74-65. West Virginia's head coach met with Tony Caridi after the huge win and had the following to say: "Congratulations to our guys. They really played. It's hard when you are trying to put a group together who have never played together, but they're working hard and getting better. We still do some stupid things that I don't think they'll do later on. I told them after the Oklahoma game that we just need to go win four games in a row. That's one of them. I thought tonight was a great team effort. Keddy (Kedrian) Johnson was terrific. He's the heart and soul of our team on both ends of the ball. We had a lot of guys play well tonight and we beat a really good team. I thought Jimmy (Bell) was terrific. I thought Tre (Mitchell) was really good. Next, we have Texas coming in and we need to get that one too. What a great crowd tonight and I hope we have another great crowd for Texas. I hope everyone knows that we're so much better when this place (the WVU Coliseum) is loud and the fans are here. Let's go beat Texas!" https://twitter.com/voicemorgantown/status/1615897178764988416?s=20&t=1dlevafp7v2GR3bAbfEYQw

Next Game: 1/31 at TCU 9:00pm on ESPNU

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