The more you watch college sports, the less you know, or so it seems.
Take West Virginia’s 4 p.m. game today at TCU.
This was supposed to be a walk in the park for the resurgent Mountaineers, a team that seems to be discovering its identity, that is shooing better and has put together its first two-game winning streak since mid-December.
In TCU it was supposed to be facing the Big 12s worst team, a team that had not won a conference game, that it had beaten handily at home earlier in the season, 71-50, with freshman Eron Harris scoring a career-high 19 points.
This was one you were supposed to fly in, put in the win column and take home with you.
Then TCU upset Kansas Wednesday night.
In case that didn’t get through to you, let’s try it again.
You remember Kansas, don’t you? It has won eight straight Big 12 titles. It had beaten WVU 61-56 in Morgantown.
What TCU did to Kansas was shocking, so much so that Jayhawks coach Bill Self offered this analysis of his team on that day.
“It was the worst team that Kansas has ever put on the floor since Dr. Naismith was there,” Self said.
Then, after thinking for a moment, he added:
“What’s the right word? Futility? Would that be a word? I don’t know that you could describe it. It was awful.”
KU had shot 29.5 percent (18 for 61) from the field and hit just three of 22 from three-point range. The Jayhawks scored 13 first-half points.
“I think (Dr. Naismith) had some bad teams when he lost to Topeka YMCA and things like that in the first couple years,” Self said. “But for the first half, there hasn’t been a team play worse than that.”
This would be true, but give TCU some credit, too.
WVU coach Bob Huggins does.
“I really think they played as hard as anybody has on a game-to-game basis,” Huggins said when asked about this matchup.
It was something he had said following the victory over TCU … and now they had beaten Kansas.
“They made some shots. They did a great job defensively. When Kansas cut it to four I think they missed three front ends and still were able to go down and get stops. I thought that was really impressive,” Huggins added.
Huggins had said all year that he didn’t think TCU would go the entire season without winning a Big 12 game.
“They play too hard, they run things, Trent (Johnson) has done a good job. I thought they’d win a game in the league,” he said.
“Kansas probably wouldn’t have been my first pick,” Huggins admitted.
So now his team with an 11-11 record and needing a win to get to 5-5 in Big 12 play has a challenge from a team bursting with new confidence.
The one thing the Mountaineers have going for them is a newfound ability to put the ball in the basket with Deniz Kilicli finally establishing an inside presence for them.
Shooting just .403 for the year from the field, WVU has hit at .430 clip over its last five games, one of them being a dismal shooting game against Kansas.
Kilicli has led the way hitting 19 of his last 33 shots over the last five games, a .576 clip.
That makes defenses have to guard him, which should make life easier for the Mountaineer outside shooters, who are starting to come on.
The player who has struggled the most the last couple of games has been the one they had been counting on the most, Eron Harris, who has to get on a hot streak to give WVU the kind of balance that can carry it to the wire and give it a shot at earning an NCAA bid.
Email Bob Hertzel at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.
The more you watch college sports, the less you know, or so it seems.
- WVU Sports
Staten overlooked for Big 12 Player of the Year
West Virginia’s point guard Juwan Staten was overlooked by the Big 12 Coaches in the Player of the Year voting Sunday, the award going to Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim, but Staten was named to the All-Big 12 first team and the All-Defensive team.
Mountaineers stun No. 8 Kansas, 92-86
The missing link finally showed itself for West Virginia University on Saturday, maybe just in time to save the season for the Mountaineers.
“Better late than never,” is the way WVU guard Eron Harris put it after freshman center Devin Williams stepped out of the shadows and put together the game everyone has been waiting for in leading the Mountaineers to a crucial 92-86 victory over Kansas.
Fairmont native named next Mountaineer
The riffle has been passed.
Fairmont native Michael Garcia was named West Virginia University’s new Mountaineer Saturday.
The announcement came at the eight minute mark of the men’s basketball team’s eventual 92-86 upset win over No. 8 Kansas at the WVU Coliseum.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Eron Harris bounces back to spark WVU
One minute and forty-seven seconds had ticked off the Coliseum clock on Saturday afternoon and things were off to the kind of start most people had expected, Kansas in the lead, albeit as slender as a one-point lead can be.
That was when Juwan Staten spotted Eron Harris open beyond the 3-point arc.
Staten plans to test NBA after season
To the surprise of no one, West Virginia University guard Juwan Staten is going to explore his opportunities in the NBA at the end of this season, a season in which he has become perhaps the best player in the Big 12.
WVU women outlast TCU to advance in Big 12 tournament
In the afternoon, West Virginia’s men’s team gave up a career-high 41 points to Andrew Wiggins but found a way to tough out a victory over Kansas.
Then Saturday evening, the West Virginia women’s team gave up a career-high 32 points to Zahna Medley but found a way to tough out a victory over TCU in the second round of the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championships in Oklahoma City.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Buie returns to WVU after a year away
It’s nearly every little boy’s dream to become a college football athlete, to play in a stadium before 60,000, 70,000, 100,000 fans, to wear the colors of a university proudly. There are cheerleaders and groupies; there’s your name in headlines, your picture in the newspapers.
WVU looks to back up Huggins’ prediction
It was after Kansas defeated West Virginia University, 83-69, a month ago in Lawrence, Bob Huggins reached into his deep library of inspirational sayings and came out with one from Abe Lemons, of all people, the one-time Texas coach who never was at a loss for words.
TCU tough matchup for WVU women
West Virginia University women’s basketball coach Mike Carey is trying to find a happy balance now for his team as it enters its second season, the Big 12 Tournament.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Huggins just wants WVU to compete
In the end, with Bob Huggins, they count victories and losses, and he has always been one to pile up the victories while keeping the losses to a minimum, at least until the last two seasons at West Virginia University.
And, in the end, when he tries to analyze why the losses have come rather than the victories, he comes to understand that he just doesn’t have the manpower to compete.
- More WVU Sports Headlines
- Staten overlooked for Big 12 Player of the Year