Cover Photo courtesy of West Virginia Athletics
Morgantown, West Virginia – The West Virginia Mountaineers were beat up early, getting down 22-4 through ten minutes into the game and were never able to dig themselves out of the hole, losing 87-63 to the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in the second round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament.
The referees were bad, but that’s not why West Virginia lost.
Bob Huggins had point, the referees were bad and clearly one-sided to start the game, but the poor officiating had nothing to do with the loss today. Kansas is a really good team. The disparity in athleticism and talent between Kansas and the Mountaineers was unmistakable.
But the talent and athleticism aren’t the only things that make Kansas so much better than West Virginia. They clearly know how to win games and the Mountaineers just don’t this season. West Virginia could have played its best game and Kansas its worst, and Kansas would have still found a way to win.
This was the least likable Mountaineers basketball team in a long time.
Throughout this long, dreadful, disappointing season, it was perhaps the least enjoyable team to watch in a very long time at West Virginia. While Gabe Osabuohien and Pauly Paulicap occasionally showed the passion and fire that typical Bob Huggins’ teams possess, the majority of the players on the team were pretty hard to rally around.
West Virginia won’t likely play again this year.
West Virginia will probably be invited to play in the CBI (College Basketball Invitational), the 3rd best postseason tournament in college basketball, but Bob Huggins probably won’t want to extend this miserable season any longer.
Unlike in 2019, when Huggins took his young, feisty team to the CBI, taking a veteran group doesn’t really add a whole lot to the future of the basketball program.
Bob Huggins has a lot of work to do.
This is one of the most important offseasons for Bob Huggins since arriving in Morgantown. Virtually all of his top scorers and rebounders are leaving. Taz Sherman, Gabe Osabuohien, Malik Curry, Pauly Paulicap and Dimon Carrigan are all gone. Sean McNeil could potentially return for another season, but he recently said that he’s unsure if that’s something he wants to do. In addition, Jalen Bridges seemed extremely unhappy at the end of the season and it wouldn’t be shocking if he considered transferring.
Huggins could conceivably return Kedrian Johnson (who will likely return), Seth Wilson, James Okonkwo, Isaiah Cottrell, Jamel King and Kobe Johnson with a bunch of freshman and players from the transfer portal. At the very best, add Jalen Bridges and Sean McNeil to that roster, and it’s still very underwhelming.
Bob Huggins has a lot of work to do to fix it.