The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

October 13, 2013

Huggins: New facility won’t impair shooting accuracy

MORGANTOWN — Does doing most of your shooting in the new practice facility take away from a team’s shooting accuracy as the background and setting are different than you will face in a game?

Bob Huggins doesn’t think it does.

“No, I really don’t,” the West Virginia University coach said, armed with facts to back up his opinion.

“Louisville won the national championship, and they never practice in the KFC Yum! Center,” Huggins said. “Day of the game, that’s all.”

Research shows, however, that Louisville shot better outside the KFC Yum! Center, hitting 47.1 percent of its field goals to 42.9 percent at home. Louisville did shoot its 3-pointers better at home — 34.1 percent of its 3s compared to 32.6 percent.

What that shows certainly is open to debate, but Louisville’s entire NCAA run was played away from home against, one can assume, tougher overall opponents than the home schedule. Conversely, Louisville early on when playing weak opponents was not at its best and used a lot of reserves in blowouts at home.

Huggins presses his case.

“If you look, Marquette never practices in the Bradley Center. There’s a lot of teams who had great success, like Georgetown. If that’s the case, we should never play a road game. We should schedule them all at home,” Huggins said.

The coach believes home success is built far more on atmosphere than on shooting background.

“Let’s be honest. We were really good at home when we were putting 14,000 people in there. We beat Ohio State in there. We beat a lot of good teams in there, but we had people in the stands,” Huggins said. “When you have 14,000 cheering for you it’s an emotional deal.”

o o o o o o

West Virginia finds itself caught in a perplexing situation when it comes to scheduling.

As a member of the Big 12, it plays any number of difficult conference games, which begins with two, maybe three games against Kansas if you want to count the conference tournament.

With that in mind, and with the ultimate goal being to get a bid to the NCAA Tournament, how difficult a non-conference schedule do you create for yourself.

Gale Catlett, in his days as basketball coach, did not load up on difficult non-conference opponents, either while in the Big East or the Atlantic 10. For example, his 1998 non-conference schedule included East Carolina, Alabama A&M, Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, Rice, Dayton, Ohio, Robert Morris, No. 20 Georgia and Marshall.

Huggins has changed things since coming to WVU and now, with an inexperienced team to get ready for a tough season, he’s wondering if it was right to create a schedule that included Virginia Tech, Duquesne, Old Dominion, Wisconsin or St. Louis and then Missouri, Gonzaga, Marshall and Purdue in consecutive games.

“When I came back, everyone said we need to play a better non-conference schedule, our attendance is down in December because we don’t play a good non-conference schedule,” he explained. “The flip side of that is by not playing a great non-conference schedule you don’t have to be as prepared. You are probably going to win anyway.

“Sometimes, when you have a bunch of young guys and are trying to win early which we have to do for post-season considerations and seeding, you maybe go too fast trying to get everything in and done. There may be some merit to not playing so many hard games early.”

You don’t get much NCAA consideration for playing teams if you aren’t ready to beat them.

Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • 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

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads