The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

February 17, 2010

WVU visits Providence tonight

MORGANTOWN — There are reasons why Bob Huggins is one of the best coaches in college basketball today or in any other day.

He is, as everyone understands, a master recruiter, which is the first step toward greatness for there never was a coach who was any better than the players he put on the floor.

Then he is truly a superb technician, a coach who makes his Xs and Os carry as much meaning as does the word Xerox. His offense is different from game to game, tailored around a defenses weaknesses and his own strengths, while he is most comfortable with a switching, in-your-face man-to-man defense he is willing to use gimmicks when to change the flow of the game or to cut down on an opponent’s advantage over him.

But where Huggins is at his best is in his ability to communicate with his players, to get them to accept his gruff, sometimes vulgar coaching methods by also showing them a softer, more understanding side when that moment becomes necessary.

He can be in a player’s face at one moment in a game, even if that player has done something that worked, while at another moment he might have his arm around his shoulder, comforting him when he needs to comforted.

So it is now as his Mountaineers reach a rather critical moment in their regular season.

For the first time this year he is coaching a team that has lost consecutive games, having lost to Villanova and Pitt as it readies itself to go on the road to play a desperate Providence team that has five straight losses.

They do this at a moment when the Big East is trending toward upsets, with Louisville having knocked off Syracuse on Saturday and Connecticut having upset Villanova on Monday night, to say nothing of a week-old upset of Rutgers over Georgetown.

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