Questioning Bob Huggins’ Bizarre Substitution Patterns

Morgantown, West Virginia – It’s really hard to understand. A West Virginia player gets hot, is performing above what they typically do, and Bob Huggins shockingly pulls them from the game.

It happens every game. Yesterday, Isaiah Cottrell had his best 5-10 minutes of his young career. He looked confident, he was hitting shots, he was playing aggressively on the defensive side of the ball, and suddenly and seemingly without motive, Bob Huggins benched him.

The very same thing happened with Jalen Bridges. Bridges, who routinely disappears for long stretches of games, was active offensively and looked like the Jalen Bridges we all expected this season. After scoring 9 early points, Huggins sat him down for virtually the remainder of the first half, prompting Bridges’ father to say the following on social media: “JB had a quick 9 points in the first half and he sat the bench. Sorry it had to be said!”

Last season, point guard Jordan McCabe was Huggins’ whipping boy. McCabe, who regressed as a player during his stint with the Mountaineers, was terrified to make a mistake, which led to a major decline in his confidence. The quickness in which Huggins would pull McCabe from the game for a minor mistake became comical last season.

Huggins has won 914 games, is one of the most accomplished coaches in the history of college basketball, and is a future Hall of Fame coach, but he’s done that in spite of his really, really poor, questionable substitution decisions throughout his career.

Huggins walks on water in the state of West Virginia and perhaps he’s above being questioned in the eyes of most people in the state, but using his incredible record and accomplishments to justify obviously poor decisions is contemptible.

Following West Virginia’s most recent loss, Huggins finally appeared ready to make a change, saying, “I think maybe we’re playing the wrong people. Maybe we’re starting the wrong guys. That could be true. Maybe we got some guys who shouldn’t be playing at all.”

Unfortunately, Huggins is figuring this out a few months too late.