Morgantown, West Virginia – The West Virginia Mountaineers had an incredible opportunity to finish the season with three straight wins at home and earn a possible #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
Here are the reasons the Mountaineers dropped the critical game to the Baylor Bears last night:
Poor interior defense
Too often, Baylor was able to simply get into the paint uncontested and get easy layups, and this has been a problem for the Mountaineers all season.
As good as Derek Culver has been this season offensively, he is a liability defensively right now, and that is precisely why he didn’t play most of the game last night. In order for the Mountaineers to be successful, Gabe Osabuohien cannot be the only play on the team that stops dribble penetration and easy layups.
There were several key turnovers that West Virginia made that absolutely should not have happened. Bob Huggins described the handling of the basketball last night like “handling a greased pig” and that’s very accurate.
To beat one of the best teams in the nation, you simply can’t have easy passes go right off your hands and out of bounds multiple times. You can’t dribble off your foot and you can’t throw the basketball out of bounds. West Virginia did all of these things several times.
Although the Mountaineers nearly equaled Baylor in offensive rebounds (14-13), the Bears were seemingly able to get all of the loose balls and offensive rebounds at key times during the game. Not only that, they capitalized on the getting the loose balls and rebounds by scoring second and third-chance shots.
Bob Huggins’ Questionable Substitution Patterns
I know, he’s won nearly 900 games, but when Taz Sherman is scoring at will in the first half and Huggins mindlessly pulls him, it just doesn’t add up. Sherman was West Virginia’s best player last night and he should’ve been in nearly the entire game, particularly when he couldn’t miss at times last night.