(Photo by WVU Athletics)
The West Virginia University Men’s Basketball team has backed themselves into a corner. Following a 10-2 start, the Mountaineers have dropped six of their last seven games and now will likely be heading into the home stretch on the outside of the NCAA Tournament looking in. The team is in jeopardy of missing the tournament for the second straight season, and just may be left out of all postseason tournaments should they continue to trend downwards.
While there has been a lot of turnover with West Virginia’s roster over the last two seasons, many of the same issues that have plagued them over the last several seasons still remain. For some reason they just can’t seem to get over this metaphorical hump that is hindering them. Though it is easy to blame the players on the court for this, at some point you have to look at coaching.
The Mountaineers addressed this when they parted ways with Assistant Coach Larry Harrison earlier this season. However, it is hard to fathom a change that minor will really influence a better outcome in the end. To put it lightly, it’s not going to.
I’m going to say what a lot of people are thinking – the Mountaineer Men’s Basketball team needs a major overhaul.
Bob Huggins is a West Virginia legend, nobody is denying that. The recognition that he has brought to the school has been monumental and his presence will be felt for many years to come. But it’s time to face the facts – this simply isn’t working anymore.
The magical Huggins era is clearly running out of steam before our eyes. In what seemed like overnight, the 2022-23 season has unraveled before our very eyes. The team is undisciplined, struggling from the free throw line and going through major droughts on offense. All of this is recipe for a 1-6 start in Big 12 play.
This style of Mountaineer Men’s Basketball isn’t good enough – I won’t sugarcoat it.
Huggins is 69-years old and will turn 70 in September. He’s not getting any younger and his style of coaching is quickly becoming a thing of the past. This is evident with the product on the court. It’s not a question for the athletic department, but one for Huggins to ponder. How long?
How long will he let this go on?
He has always said that he wants to leave the Mountaineers in a better spot than where they found them. Well, this certainly isn’t it. This basketball team is a far cry from where they were when Huggins took over in 2007. With the direction that the program is going, it is hard to imagine them ever getting back to that level under Huggins.
No, I’m not saying he should be relieved of his duties. He’s far too accomplished and has done way too much good for the program. What I am saying, however, is that it may be time for him to start looking forward to life after coaching. I would love nothing more than for him to get this turned around and start winning at a high level again, but how realistic is that, really?
What are the chances a fast-aging Huggins can build a national title contending program in the numbered amount of time he has left in his career? Not very high, folks.
I’ve always been one to call it how I see it. What I’m seeing is a men’s basketball struggling and in need of something fresh. All good things must come to an end, and if the writing on the wall is clear enough, we may be in the final days of the Bob Huggins era. That is if he is true to his word and won’t leave the Mountaineers in worse shape than he found them.
I hope I’m wrong. I really do – but it’s a wrap. The future of West Virginia University Men’s Basketball has to be right around the corner. The relevance of the program may rely on it.