Morgantown, West Virginia – During today’s Big 12 Conference teleconference call, Bob Huggins was clearly upset with Texas A&M deciding to opt out of the upcoming Crossover Classic next week. While most of the teams in the tournament have known who they will play for many weeks, West Virginia’s opponent has changed multiple times and this has hurt his team preparedness going into its first game.
“It’s been tough. We’ve been told we were going to play three or four different teams. It’s been really tough from a preparation standpoint.”
The Crossover Classic originally featured Duke, Utah, Ohio State, Dayton and Texas A&M, all which have since withdrawn due to COVID concerns.
Huggins continued: “We’ve thought we were playing Texas A&M for a long time now and then they backed out. So now we’ve got Northern Iowa. They are a very good team and it’s a hard game.”
West Virginia beat Northern Iowa 60-55 last season in the Cancun Challenge. However, Northern Iowa was up 15 points at one point and the Mountaineers really struggled to get past them. Northern Iowa returns their top three scorers and will not be an automatic win at all.
However, Huggins knows that this is an outstanding test for his team: “You look at the path that every other team has from game one to the championship game and obviously it’s far less than equal. We just have to do what we do and hopefully this is great preparation for us in March.”
“I understand a lot of people don’t want to play us. They don’t want to play against our size and they don’t want to play against our perceived great half-court defense. But we have been at a great disadvantage because we don’t know day from day who we are going to play.
Regardless of who the Mountaineers play this season, they should go in confident. This is a loaded West Virginia team with the size, depth, athleticism and talent to beat anyone in the country.