AP Photo/Kathleen Batten
Morgantown, West Virginia – The West Virginia Mountaineers have made the NCAA Tournament once in the past four seasons and this season, Bob Huggins’ squad is predicted to finish in 9th place in the Big 12 Conference and once again miss the tournament.
In ESPN’s Big 12 Conference Preview, all four of the ESPN experts – Myron Medcalf, Jeff Borzello, John Gasaway and Joe Lunardi – predicted that the Mountaineers will finish in next to last place in the conference ahead of only Kansas State.
Joe Lunardi, an ESPN analyst who created Bracketology, believes that not only will West Virginia miss the NCAA Tournament this season but also that basketball program could be in for a long period of steady decline.
“I wonder if we’re seeing a permanent decline at West Virginia,” Lunardi said today. “The Mountaineers tied for their worst Big 12 record of the Bob Huggins era, and there is no obvious rebound in sight. WVU has never come close to back-to-back losing seasons under Huggins. But it could happen, and there could be unpleasant whispering in Morgantown.”
Lunardi appears to be implying that West Virginia going through another bad season this year could lead to people calling for Huggins to be fired. Huggins, 69, was recently elected into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and starts his 16th season as the head coach of the Mountaineers when the team opens the season on Monday, November 7th at home against Mount St Mary’s.