After two weeks of dealing with COVID inside of the WVU basketball program, the No. 14-ranked Mountaineers (9-4, 2-3 Big 12) will head to Manhattan, Kansas, to resume Big 12 play against Kansas State.
The problem is, WVU coach Bob Huggins has no idea who’s going to be able to play on Saturday.
“I don’t know that,” Huggins said. “I mean, hopefully, we’ll find out when the testing is over.”
“Sometimes we can kind of skirt the truth a little bit, I mean I’m telling you 100% straight up I don’t know, I don’t have a clue,” Huggins later added.
West Virginia basketball has been dealing with positive COVID tests for a number of days now and has had to postpone three games (Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State).
Now, the Mountaineers have to play three games in the middle of February that consists of playing Baylor (2x) and Texas in five days. Huggins, no surprise, is here to play anyone, at any time and anywhere.
“I’m not afraid to play Baylor two times in five days. I’m not afraid to play Texas, at Texas,” Huggins said. “I am afraid of the unknown because I don’t know how to prepare for the unknown.”
Luckily, for the Mountaineers, they’ve been able to continue practicing with the players that tested negative. The bad news is that not many players have been able to practice what the coaching staff has wanted.
“It was all voted by the coaches if you have six (players), you ought to try to play,” Huggins explained. “So, obviously, we didn’t have six.”
That means at most, five players have been able to practice for the Mountaineers in the last week-and-a-half.
This break was both good and bad for WVU.
The bad part is that they have to cram in more games in February and they could be shaky on Saturday against Kansas State (5-10, 1-6 Big 12).
The good news is that they will be rested for this weekend, especially Derek Culver, who was at the doctor’s office most of the week that WVU played their last two games.
Culver put up another double-double in his last game against No. 4 Texas. The junior recorded 14 points and 16 rebounds to mark his seventh double-double this season.
Deuce McBride has been one of the most consistent players for the Mountaineers this season, averaging 15.1 points-per-game on four assists.
West Virginia, assuming they test negative, will take on a struggling Kansas State team on Saturday.
“I think they’ve got the best young group in our league. Their (KSU) freshmen are talented,” Huggins said.
“I think they get better and better with each game they play,” Huggins added.
Coach Huggins makes a great point about the youth in this Kansas State team. They may not be good now, but in a couple of years, this will be a very experienced group who will make noise once again in the Big 12.
Three of their freshman class are contributing very well with Nijel Pack (10.7 pts, 3.4 reb, 3.6 ast), Selton Miguel (8.5 pts, 2.3 reb, 2.1 ast) and Davion Bradford (6.9 pts, 3.9 reb, 0.2 ast).
Senior Mike McGuirl is the only experienced presence on the team. McGuirl is the only Wildcat left on the Kansas State team that made it to the Elite-8 in 2018.
The Wildcats are currently on a five-game losing streak. The five wins they have on the season are Missouri-Kansas City (62-58), Milwaukee (76-75), Iowa State (74-65), Jacksonville (70-46) and Omaha (60-58).
As long as we don’t hear any news, the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Kansas State Wildcats will play on Saturday afternoon. Coverage will be on ESPN2, starting at 4 p.m.