The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

March 8, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN - For Huggins, double-bye is no reward

MORGANTOWN — The first thing any West Virginia University player wanted to do after defeating Villanova in as tough and competitive a game as they have played all year was to get some rest. The long grind that is a regular season under Bob Huggins had taken its toll and a day off or maybe even two seemed like just what the foot doctor ordered.

But the second thing they wanted to do was to get back out there and play a game of basketball.

The Big East Tournament was now calling them and running as hot as they’ve run and with so much ahead of them, they wanted to go out and take a bite out of the Big Apple.

The problem was, they couldn’t do it.

See, they had played so well in the regular season that earned a double-bye in the Big East Tournament.

With a 16-team conference, the Big East could have just set up a 16-team bracket and played it out, four games to the title. However, they felt the right way to do it was “reward” the top four teams with a double bye into the quarterfinals.

That certainly, they felt, would give them a huge advantage and guarantee an attractive national TV weekend of basketball.

Then they put in practice last year and on the first day two of the four teams granted double-byes were upset, which had coaches scrambling to figure out if this really was a good thing and how they could best deal with it.

West Virginia, by the way, pulled off one of those upsets, stunning No. 2 Pitt in a memorable game.

At the time, Bob Huggins was quite fine with the double-bye, having used it to his advantage in ambushing Pitt.

Now, however, the Nike is on the other foot and Huggins wants no part of a double-bye, even though he’s got it.

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