Realistically, West Virginia Head Coach Bob Huggins has 2-5 years of coaching left. It would be shocking to see him on the sidelines into his early 70s. Although we would all love to see him as the coach of the Mountaineers forever, Huggins’ health isn’t great and it’s likely that he’ll coach for only a few years more.
With that said, the window on Huggins winning a national championship is starting to slowly close. That means West Virginia’s chances of winning its first ever national championship is also coming to an end.
While West Virginia will undoubtedly hire a quality, proven head coach to replace Huggins, the new coach won’t be Bob Huggins. It will take years and years and years to get the program back to its current condition when he steps away.
There simply isn’t much time to waste. West Virginia returns one of the deepest, most talented rosters in the Big 12 and perhaps the entire country. It’s win big now or fall short of that elusive national championship.
The Mountaineers are loaded next season and there’s no reason why they can’t be the last team standing in March. In order to give West Virginia the best chances of winning, Huggins must do the following:
Hand the team over to Miles McBride
Deuce McBride is the kind of transcendent, once-in-a-lifetime type player for the Mountaineers. He’s the teams best shooter, best scorer, best defensive player, best everything. As such, he should be given the keys to the car and allowed to drive the team to success. Living and dying with the ball in Miles McBride’s hands will lead to wins more often than not. While the Mountaineers are talented everywhere on the roster, McBride is capable of putting this team on his back and carrying them to wins.
Again, the 1-3-1 zone was used by the Mountaineers at the end of games in which they were down and attempting to make a come back. This strategy always worked. The 1-3-1 is a look that offenses are not used to and it rattles opposing players.
Huggins always preaches toughness to his players, but I would take it a step farther and say that he should tell them to be flat-out mean on the court. This is a deep team that can afford players to get into foul trouble rather than giving up easy points. Although Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver struggled at times to stay out of foul trouble, the emergence of Gabe Osabuohien and newcomer Isaiah Cottrell will allow for more flexibility in the front court. This team should be nasty, the kind of team that no one wants to go to the basket against.
Derek Culver is NOT a Go-To Player
Derek Culver is far more successful as a rebounder, a garbage man, etc., than the player that Bob Huggins can rely on for important points at key times of big games. Culver is frequently out of control in the post and this leads to forced shots and turnovers.
Press Virginia was remarkably successful during previous seasons and the current roster gives Huggins flexibility with its incredible depth. Constant full court pressure is exhausting for an opposing team to deal with for an entire game. However, I recommend that Huggins uses it only occasionally. Mixing it up and throwing it in at random parts of the game keeps opponents off balance.
Like I’ve previously stated, it’s big win now time for Bob Huggins and the West Virginia Mountaineers. Follow this blueprint and Huggins can lead his insanely talented team to first National Championship in school history.