If you’re an elderly basketball fan, you might be yearning for the “good, ol’ times.”

This low-scoring era of intercollegiate basketball, in my opinion, isn’t nearly as interesting as those explosive, high-scoring shootouts of say, the 1950-60s period.

The highest scoring West Virginia University team with legendary Jerry West leading the way was in the 1959-60 season. It scored at an 89.5 points-per-game clip. When West was a sophomore, the Mountaineers averaged 86.9 points per game.

That team in 1957-58 was considered by many as the best in WVU basketball history.

For a comparison of scoring averages, West Virginia’s current team is averaging only 69.9 ppg. It has an 18-10 record going into its last two games of the regular season, starting with Connecticut’s visit tonight.

I haven’t checked, but you might find more games that topped the 100-point mark during the golden era of the 1950s than WVU had in any other period.

Keep in mind, too, that the 3-point goal hadn’t yet become a part of the game.

Personally, I fear that perhaps there is so much emphasis on defense today that it tends to affect the offense. Yet fast-breaking basketball, with most scores in the 70s-to-90s range, certainly seemed much more exciting and entertaining.

Granted, such superstars as Mark Workman, “Hot Rod” Hundley, Jerry West, Rod Thorn and Fritz Williams were leading Mountaineer teams during that era. Others were to follow, here and there, since then.

But shooting percentages were a lot higher generally at WVU than they seem to be now.

Bob Huggins, who played here in the mid-1970s and now is in his fourth year as head coach, readily admits that the game is distinctly different today.

“Guys are bigger, stronger, faster, and they guard much better,” he said. “When I used to guard, I was about four feet off guys.

“Yes, there was much more scoring in those days, but they didn’t guard as good. They really didn’t.”

Huggins said there are several athletic players in the 6-foot-7 or taller range with other giants go with them on teams now.

“Guys are just so big today,” Huggins stressed, “there’s just not enough space. Guys are so big.

“A lot of it comes down to the style of play. And you play more games in shorter time (Saturday/Monday), so you can’t prepare as long for a game.”

Huggins, who ranks fourth among the nation’s winningest active coaches, believes that it’s hard to compare teams of different eras because of rule and style changes.

He also thinks some players over the years consider winning more important than others.

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