The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

January 27, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN: This WVU team is a lousy one

MORGANTOWN — The time for wishing and hoping is over.

Reality has set in.

This is a bad West Virginia University basketball team.

They’ve had their chances and they haven’t been able to take advantage of them.

They get leads, double-figure leads, but none is big enough.

One was 18 points earlier this year. It disappeared.

The Mountaineers led by 13 over Oklahoma State on Saturday.

They might as well have trailed by 13. They lost, 80-66.

They had no chance to win.

That isn’t really what’s important. You can normally root for a team that loses if it is your team because you can find something loveable about it, a personality, a sense that it might grow into something better.

This team has no persona. It is, as coach Bob Huggins has said, a group of likeable kids, yes, but they have no flair and, more important, they are not in any way improving as the season goes on.

You look for that, you listen for Huggins, who has the wisdom of more than a quarter of century coaching, to tell you he sees this aspect of their game or that aspect of their game getting better.

He hasn’t said it, and it wasn’t forthcoming after this defeat.

What was said was more of the same old broken record that’s been playing since the Day 1.

How many times this year have we heard Huggins begin an answer to a question with this phrase: “I’ve never had teams that … ”

Over and over it comes out, that he hasn’t had a team that can’t do this or can’t do that, that can’t run a play or make a layup.

Here it was in this disaster:

“I’ve never had teams that after a timeout come out and don’t know what they’re doing, right after you showed them. It is guys who have played 19 games now this year, 30-some games last year. They played 50 games.”

And they come out of a timeout and don’t know what to do.

It isn’t like teams are confusing them.

Oklahoma State changed this game by going to a 2-3 zone.

You see 2-3 zones in biddy basketball. This was simple 2-3 zone, not a matchup, not a trapping zone.

WVU couldn’t handle it.

“The frustrating thing is I can’t run a set because they don’t know what they are doing. It’s mind boggling. They do it in practice. All of a sudden the game comes and they forget everything,” Huggins said.

You want to blame it on youth, for this is a young team. You want to blame it on the inexperience at this level, but Huggins can’t buy that.

“It’s people you wouldn’t think sometimes,” he said.

That’s the veteran players, the ones who should know better, but they have been as guilty as the least experienced of the freshmen.

Some teams can shoot opponents out of their zone defenses. Not this team.

In truth, it had one of its better shooting days in this game, finished with a shooting percentage that was better than 40 percent.

That translated into just 66 points, and you don’t win very many basketball games with 66 points, not when you give up 50 points on 3-point shots and free throws alone.

WVU left 3-point shooters open all day long, shooters they knew could make 3-point shots … and that is just a sin in the way Huggins coaches basketball.

But as bad is the fact that his shooters, save for the emerging star who is Eron Harris, can’t make a shot … not a 3 and not a 2.

Harris, the freshman who now has four consecutive double-figure games, scored 17 and hit 5 of 8 from 3-point range, the kind of shooting accuracy that would qualify him for WVU’s acclaimed rifle team.

The rest of the team made 2 of 11 3-point shots.

Two of 11, that coming a day after some guy came out of the stands at an NBA game and threw a hook shot in from half court for $75,000.

One try. Bingo!

The shame about what happened in this game is that finally, it appears, the likeable senior Deniz Kilicli finally has gotten his game together, put together a solid performance before fouling out with six and a half minutes to play, but it mattered not one bit.

Nothing seems to matter any longer, and that is probably why Huggins closed his post-game radio show with this pronouncement.

“I feel like going home and going to bed and pulling the covers over my head.”

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • 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

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Smallwood puts future in jeopardy

    The last thing West Virginia’s struggling football program needed as twilight was setting on Bastille Day in Morgantown was to have one of its own whisked off to the North Central Regional Jail on a fugitive warrant from another state, especially a player who had figured to play a key role in the resurrection of a program gone bad.

    July 16, 2014

  • WVU player arrested in Delaware case

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood has been arrested by university police and is being held at North Central Regional Jail awaiting extradition on a felony warrant out of Delaware.

    July 15, 2014

  • WVU hoping to add two non-conference contests

    West Virginia is nearing the completion of deals to play football games against long-time rival Virginia Tech, now in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference, according to a source close to the negotiations.
    An announcement is expected shortly.

    July 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: MLB All-Star game biggest celebration of top athletes

    You will pardon me if I find something else to do when the Pro Bowl rolls around, or if I try to find a “Three Stooges” marathon when it’s time for the NHL All-Star game. As for the NBA All-Star game, I’d rather watch a replay of a four-year-old Uruguay-Ethiopia World Cup soccer match in which I knew the outcome.
     

    July 14, 2014

  • Howes learns to ‘never settle’ as WVU administrator

    You probably don’t know much about Terri Howes, even though she is a rather high-ranking executive in the West Virginia University athletic department.
    “I like it that way,” she said, sitting in a large office at the Coliseum, decorated with pictures and memorabilia, a jar of candy sitting by the door for visitors to dip into.

    July 13, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads