The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

February 16, 2013

Texas Tech next for Mountaineers

MORGANTOWN — While the deck is stacked against West Virginia being able to find a way to make it to the NCAA Tournament, Coach Bob Huggins and his team are hoping to make one final stretch run even though they face the top teams in the Big 12 Conference.

First, though, they catch something of a break at home, facing Texas Tech at home at 4 p.m. today.

The Mountaineers crushed the Red Raiders in Lubbock, Texas, two weeks ago, winning by 16 points, 77-61.

That would make them favorites to sweep the season series, but after that it’s a battle down to the wire going to Kansas State, playing at home against Oklahoma State and Baylor, going to Kansas and then finishing up at home against Iowa State.

They may have to win as many as six of the last seven to qualify for NCAA play.

“I wouldn’t say it’s over,” Huggins said when asked about his teams chances. “I’ll be the first to tell you we have to win four or five conference games. They all count. But we have an opportunity playing teams with high RPIs to increase our RPI.”

The NCAA selection committee pays a lot of attention to RPI and WVU is buried down at 93.

“Our strength of schedule is fine,” Huggins said. “We have to get our RPI up to where it is in the ballpark. We have opportunities to do that against teams with high RPIs.”

His team is aware of the situation.

“We have to be ready every night to play,” guard Jabarie Hines said. “We have some tough games against good teams. We have to stay focused.”

Huggins understands just what is needed.

“We’ve been in this situation before, maybe not this dire, but where we needed to beat people when they came in here … Notre Dame comes to mind a couple of years ago and we played pretty well,” he said. “The good thing about playing in a good league is you have more opportunities.”

Two years ago the Mountaineers had lost two of three games before facing Notre Dame and pulling out a 72-58 victory. That was a game in which they were having shooting problems just as this team does until Truck Bryant hit a 3 that got them unwound.

Now it is more of the same after Texas Tech, but that is the immediate business at hand.

In the first meeting, Eron Harris scored 18 points and the Mountaineers shot a season high 55.6 percent.

“We turned the ball over on them,” Huggins said, crediting hard-nosed defense with creating the shot opportunities. “We turned them over early and then we turned them over late. It was 12-2 or 14-2 or something like that and a lot of that was off turnovers.”

And when you are creating turnovers they often lead to fast-break baskets that are usually made at a high percentage.

Texas Tech is having a tough time of it in the Big 12, with only two victories in 11 games. The Red Raiders are 9-13 overall and has won only one of five road games.

Huggins has beaten the Red Raiders twice in his career while losing once to them while the Mountaineers biggest game against them came on Mach 24, 2005, when Bobby Knight was coaching at Texas Tech.

They met in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAAs and WVU under John Beilein and pulled out a 65-60 victory before losing to Louisville two days later in overtime in the Elite Eight. Kevin Pittsnogle was the Mountaineers’ leading scorer in the Texas Tech game with 22 points.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com. Follow on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
    “In a year of change, must the Steelers’ offense carry the defense this year?”
    Reading that turned on a light.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step today

    Perhaps the most used — and least factual — cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
    Around these parts, however, tomorrow is what they are clinging to, while putting a new twist on the cliché, turning it to, “There’s no yesterday.”

    July 31, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads