Morgantown, West Virginia – How could Bob Huggins’ best, most talented, deepest team ever be overlooked and underrated? How could a team loaded with talent not receive more national recognition and attention?
Welcome to 2020 and welcome to the world of the West Virginia basketball team. Somehow, some way, the West Virginia Mountaineers – two deep at every position and with the best front court in the entire nation – are underdogs again.
While the Mountaineers have the talent, size and depth to be a Top 5 preseason team, they are nowhere to be found in any experts’ or analysts’ Top 10 lists. Instead, they are predicted to finish anywhere in the Top 15 – Top 30 nationally and in the #3-#5 range in the Big 12 Conference.
Long-time ESPN College Basketball Analyst Dick Vitale recently released one of the most ridiculous preseason polls, placing the Mountaineers as the 20th best team in the nation. Vitale said the following of West Virginia: “Bob Huggins is ready to challenge Baylor, Kansas and Texas Tech in the Big 12. Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe can produce a double-double on any given night. Miles McBride will have a greater role in the backcourt and could be one of America’s most improved players. Emmitt Matthews is also reliable in the backcourt.”
Have you ever seen a more uninformed analysis of a team than this? No mention of the depth, the size, the numerous other new players that will add to West Virginia’s already talented roster. Vitale failed to mention Kedrian Johnson, one of the nation’s top junior college players, or Jalen Bridges, an ultra-talented in-state prospect who Bob Huggins thinks can contribute in a major way this season, or incredible guards Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil, who are two of the best pure scorers in the Big 12 Conference.
The national media is oblivious to the powerhouse that Bob Huggins has built in Morgantown. They have no idea of the sleeping monster that will be awoken next month. And that’s okay because the West Virginia Mountaineers like to be underdogs and the lack of attention and appreciation is just what this team needs for fuel for the fire burning in Morgantown.