The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

March 1, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN - Mountaineers driven by fear in Cincy win


Robert Plutchik never dreamed that his name would find its way onto the sports pages, least of all tied in with another famous Robert, this one named Huggins.

Plutchik was professor emeritus at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and adjunct professor at the University of South Florida. A noted psychologist, one area in which he was highly interested was emotion, developing a theory that there were eight basic emotions.

Plutchik’s eight basic emotions were: Joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger and anticipation.

Now you may be wondering by now what it is that brings Plutchik and Huggins into the same discussion, but in reality it is quite simple.

While himself a magna cum laude graduate of West Virginia University, Huggins became a practicing psychologist in his real world profession of basketball coach. And while he was hardly aware of it, he made great use of all eight of Plutchik’s basic emotions.

Many of them are apparent just watching him coach a game, the first listed one being the least prevalent, that being joy.

Certainly, though, he has preached that his players must trust in each other, while exhibiting disgust and anger at times at their play, more often at the conduct of officials. He has certainly exhibited sadness when defeated and surprise, sometimes, when his team actually performs as he had hoped it would, for he all too often anticipates their mistakes.

This leaves us only one of Plutchik’s emotions to discuss and that is one that he believes allowed the Mountaineers to defeat Cincinnati on Saturday.

When asked how his team had come out after the first half and completely controlled the backboards against the best rebounding team in the Big East, he had a one-word answer, but it was an answer that only a Plutchik could love.

“Fear,” said Huggins.

If that sounds simple, it is, for they anticipated his anger and disgust if they failed to do the job on the backboards.

The statistics heading into the game showed that Cincinnati had the widest margin of rebounding success in the conference, pulling 7.5 more rebounds per game than their opponents. They knew WVU would be difficult to outrebound, for the Mountaineers were second in the conference with a 7.0 advantage, but Coach Mick Cronin could not foresee WVU pulling in 41 rebounds to 30 for his team, including a 26-15 second-half gap.

“We don’t get outrebounded like that,” Cronin said. “It just doesn’t happen. If it does, we don’t win because of the configuration of our team. We’re 

not the world’s greatest shooting team. If we get outrebounded, we’re not going to win.”

Yet, on this occasion, the glass belonged to the Mountaineers.

“If we would have been able to outrebound them or just be even, I think we probably would have won the game,” Cronin said. “You’ve to give their kids credit. They did a great job going after the ball in the second half.”

You can add it up any way you wish, but the bottom line tells you that was the difference in this game.

West Virginia had 13 second-chance points off offensive rebounds to five for Cincinnati.

That’s an eight-point difference.

The Mountaineers won by six.

Rebounding, you see, is far more will than skill. Oh, it helps to stand 6-9 and have a wide body and long arms and timing and an ability jump.

But you know how Huggins sees it.

“No one ever got a rebound that didn’t try for it,” he said.

That is how it was. Yancy Gates, Cincinnati’s big, tough forward who is the Bearcats leading rebounder, put it this way:

“They wanted it more than we did and they went and got it,” Gates said, having been shut out from getting any rebounds in his 20 minutes on the floor.

And what motivates a WVU player to want it more?

Dr. Plutchik, the envelop please.


Players know they will get the look from Huggins. They know they will hear his voice ringing in their ears. And they know it will be up close and personal because they will be sitting on the bench, where he can take all of his anger out on them.

E-mail Bob Hertzel at



Text Only
WVU Sports
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos