By Dave Ackermann (The Orchestrater)
(Feature Photo courtesy of the Official Athletic site of KU)
(All Video below courtesy of WVUsports.com)
The WVU Mountaineer Men’s Basketball team was seemingly about to win it’s first road game at KU’s Phog Allen Field House when WVU held a 14 point lead with just 2:48 left in regulation. WVU fans on twitter were ecstatic and getting ready to post those now famous “Country Roads” tweets.
At that point, the wheels fell off the Mountaineer bandwagon with 4 turnovers and missed foul shots while the Jayhawks sank some three pointers. After a couple of foul shots erased the 14-point deficit and tied the game, the KU defense prevented the final WVU possession from winning the game. The result was OT at the PHOG and a four-point victory for the Jayhawks. Needless to say, Mountaineer Nation and the WVU team were very disappointed with that outcome.
But there is no panic in Morgantown or within the Mountaineer faithful nationwide. The reason for that lack of worry resides in the fact that the WVU Mountaineers are coached by a legend.
Head Coach Bob Huggins (Photo Credit WVUsports.com)
Why you ask? Simple answer: Huggins’ coached teams always bounce back!
- Forget that Huggins will have north of 811 coaching victories by season’s end.
- Forget the fact that this season will mark his seventh 20+ win season in Morgantown in ten seasons.
- Forget the fact that the first five years in Morgantown as Head Coach (as a member of the Big East) he lost in the semi finals of the BET twice and won the tournament once on his way to a final four performance in the NCAA’s.
- Forget the fact that in all five of those seasons the Mountaineers went on to the NCAA Tournament.
- Forget the fact that last season, his team finished runner-up in the Big 12 Tournament losing the final to (you guessed it) the Kansas Jayhawks.
- Forget the fact that in his previous four seasons playing in the Big 12 his teams have reached the post season three times and the NCAA’s Sweet 16 once.
No, if you forget all that, all you have to look at is their history in this season alone.
- After losing a shocker in Brooklyn to the Temple Owls by four points in the NIT Season Tip Off Tournament for their 1st loss of the season, the Mountaineers bounced back with a 108-61 point victory over Manhattan and then went down to Charlottesville, VA and knocked off the then #6 Virginia Cavaliers (66-57).
- After suffering their first Big 12 loss at Texas Tech in OT (77-76) they bounced back by dispatching TCU by 12 points and later crushed #1 Baylor (89-68) at home.
- After back-to-back losses (for the first time this season) losing at home in OT by two points to Oklahoma and by 4 points in a close game to Kansas State on the road, they came home and clobbered the Kansas Jayhawks (85-69) and went on to win their SEC/Big 12 Challenge game against Texas A&M (by four) and defeated Iowa State on the road at the Hilton (85-72).
- Finally, after losing a shocker in Morgantown at the Coliseum to Oklahoma State (82-75), the Mountaineers bounced back by getting revenge for both of the earlier losses by defeating Oklahoma in Norman (61-50) and Kansas State at home (85-66).
- The fact that his team is already 20-6 this season with wins over Kansas and Baylor at home and Virginia on the road, (all top ten teams) and by an average margin of victory of just over 15 points. There were no close OT victories in those games.
So Coach Huggins always seems to get this team back on track and at 20-6 (8-5) and with 5 Big 12 games left on the schedule, there is plenty more opportunities for excitement for Mountaineer Nation.
Rare back-to-back home games will find Texas Tech visiting the Coliseum on this coming Saturday followed by another quick turn around game on the following Monday hosting Texas. Then the Mountaineers will do the Saturday/Monday quick turn around on the road visiting first TCU and then a big rematch in Waco against Baylor.
The Mountaineers will finish the regular season at home hosting the Cyclones of Iowa State at the Coliseum for a rare Friday night clash on March 3rd.
So while their could be more losses in the rugged Big 12 finish, three of the remaining five games are in the friendly confines where Country Roads gets sung more often than not. No, disappointment is possible, but there is simply no reason to panic.
Of the six losses on the Mountaineer ledger, three were in OT and two of those were on the road. The other 3 losses are all by 7 points or less and the Mountaineers had chances to win all six of these games.