The Times West Virginian

Sports

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
Sports
  • Mountaineers open practice with different feel

    West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen was happy with his team’s first practice of the 2014 season.

    July 31, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Social media adds another thing to watch for coaches

    As someone who has gotten himself in enough hot water with a misplaced Tweet, when West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett hit the send button on July 17 sending out to the cyberworld that should have remained there with him on the couch on which he was sitting, I could feel his pain.

    July 31, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Bobby Bowden won the bad-and-good battle with rival Lou Holtz

    The recent announcement that West Virginia University is resuming a football relationship with North Carolina State triggered a most memorable bad-news, good-news battle.

    July 31, 2014

  • Post 17 stays alive in American Legion state tournament

    After a rather sloppy Area tournament, Post 17 Fairmont managed to turn things around Thursday afternoon at Hawley Filed in Morgantown, staying alive with a 4-2 win over Elkins in the American Legion state baseball tournament.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU men’s basketball non-conference schedule announced

    West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck has announced the 2014-15 men’s basketball non-conference schedule.

    July 31, 2014

  • Post 17 #18-Post 1 #2  run copy.jpg Wheeling holds off Post 17 rally in state tournament opener: PHOTOS

    Wheeling Post 1 pitcher Mo Felt nearly went the distance in a 7-6 victory over Fairmont Post 17 on Tuesday afternoon at the West Virginia American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Hawley Field.
    Felt struck out seven in 8.1 innings of work in the team’s first-round victory over Fairmont.

    July 31, 2014 9 Photos

  • 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

  • Pirates’ gaffe on bases proves costly

    Clint Hurdle says he and a pal often marvel over how there’s always something new to see at a baseball game.
    Too bad for Hurdle, what we watched Wednesday wrecked the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 7-5 loss.
    A timely, heads-up glance by reliever Jean Machi helped San Francisco take advantage of a gaffe on the bases by Pittsburgh, and the Giants tagged out of two runners who wandered away on the same play grab momentum and end a six-game losing streak.

    July 31, 2014

  • Speedy Shazier making quick impression

    Ryan Shazier grew up the football equivalent of a Rorschach test.
    Some coaches looked at Shazier’s 6-foot-1 frame with plenty of room to grow and saw a defensive end. Others focused on his blazing speed and saw a safety.
    Not Shazier.

    July 31, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
Auto Racing Breaking News
Auto Racing Standings