Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Big 12 Orientation, Week 1: West Virginia Basketball


WVU At-A-Glance:
  • Program Founded - 1904
  • Overall Record - 1,621 - 1,005
  • Two Final Four Appearances (1959, 2010)
  • Three Elite Eight Appearances
  • Eight Sweet 16 Appearances
  • 25 NCAA Bids
  • 13 Conference Tourney Championships
  • 14 Conference Regular Season Championships
  • A partridge
  • A peartree
History with TCU:  I'll be honest - I did as much digging as I was interested in doing and couldn't come up with anything, meaning the two teams have never played or, if they did, the internet is not familiar with it.  Let us know in the comments.  However, dating back to his time at Cincinnati, Huggy has established a pretty decent personal rapport with TCU, taking out the Frogs three times in three meetings.  

Recent History:  Since the return of native son Bob Huggins in 2007, WVU has experienced success not seen around those parts since the days of Jerry West.  Not that WVU was bad; in fact, they were far from it, winning the 2007 NIT Tournament and reaching the dance two of three years before he arrived on campus - the Pittsnogle Era, you'll recall.  But it's fair to say that Huggins has put wind in the sails of his home state team since he DWI'd his way back to Morgantown.  In his five years, the Mountaineers have reached the tourney each season, including the Sweet 16 twice and the Final Four once.  In comparison, TCU has reached the NCAA Tournament seven times in the past... ever.  So it's clear Huggins knows what he's doing.  This most recent year, the Mountaineers complained of youth and a lack of a consistent star... and still made the NCAA Tourney.  Missouri has put together a nice little run recently and aggy occasionally makes things interesting, but WVU has built a program under Huggins.  I'd rather go four rounds with aggy and Mizzou over two with WVU, but that's our future.  Seriously, good luck, Trent.

2012 Outlook:  Where TCU is clearly looking at their future in the Big 12 with that same wide eyed expression a deer has right before being blown to bits by a semi-truck, the Mountaineers could arguably be looking at their situation as a breath of fresh air.  Yes, the Big 12 is most certainly big boy basketball, and was one of the toughest Conferences in the nation last season, but after running the 15 team gauntlet that is the Big East year after year, only having 9 teams on the slate, two of them being Texas Tech and TCU, can't be nearly as daunting.  The 2011-2012 WVU team finished with a 19-14 record, good enough for eighth place in the Big East.  After receiving a first round bye in the BE tourney, Huggins' crew were dismissed in the second round by Connecticut.  From there the team would receive a 10 seed in the NCAA Tourney but fail to get off the bus, losing to Gonzaga by 20+ points.  The Mountaineers lose their two top scorers from last season in Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant who were averaging nearly 35 points of offense per game.  However, of their remaining four top scorers, three were freshmen.  The remaining three members of the team that averaged double digit minutes per game?  Also freshmen.  I'm sensing a trend.  The 2012 team will only have one senior projected to start in Forward Kelicli, meaning if these guys live up to the reputation Huggy Bear has built, they could be scary good for the forseeable future. I'm not kidding Trent, get out while you still can.

Miscellania:  You may not have noticed a casually tossed in reference to a DUI in an above paragraph, but it's worth noting.  Much like WVU Head Football Coach Dana Holgorsen, Bob Huggins also likes to get his swerve on.  Unlike WVU Head Football Coach Dana Holgorsen, Bob Huggins likes to get his swerve on and go for a midnight drive.  This wasn't the direct cause for his ouster from Cincinnati, but it's heavily suggested that it was the beginning of the end; the DUI came before his final season in southern Ohio, the back half of two underachieving campaigns, and was likely used as an excuse to achieve a coach who had outstayed his welcome.  I certainly recall a certain game in Fort Worth during the Santee Years, sitting behind the Cincy bench and hurling off-color commentary at Huggins regarding his driving record, comments that were met with an equally off color response from what I was told was Huggins' wife.  Of course, the Frogs lost the game, so it doesn't matter, but it's the only anecdote I have. 

Oh, except for this one, for Mavs ears only:  Huggins coached Kansas State star Michael Beasley for one year in Manhattan before bouncing to WVU.  Beasley was probably going to leave anyway for the NBA, but having Huggins skip town made that decision official.  Beasley was then selected with the 2nd overall pick by the Miami Heat.  At the time, Beasley was seen as a no brainer selection, but as it turns out he also lacked brains and was a pretty serious flop for the Heat.  It looked like water under the bridge for Miami once they dispatched Beasley and brought in Lebron and Bosh, but the Mavs proved that, for at least one year, team matters more than individuals.  But, had Beasley stayed in school, two of the next three picks in that draft?  Kevin Love, perhaps the best power forward playing the game today, and Russell Westbrook, who has been a huge difference maker in Oklahoma City.  Put either of those guys in Miami instead of Beasley alongside Lebron and Wade and who knows what Dallas' trophy case looks like?  So, Thanks Huggy, for hiding Beasley's short comings for at least that one year and making him a hot propsect.  

And for those who quit reading a while ago, I leave you with this:

Seriously Trent, bring your 'A' game.


SuperSweet HornedFrog said...

Is that a photoshopped suit Huggins has on in the picture at the bottom?

JHale said...

#1 - Suit and shoes are typical

#2 If I remember correctly that first picture... that guy basically shredding his knee in that game -- brutal watch

Sir Wesley Willis said...

That's a real life suit - when he's not wearing that he wears a man Juicy Couture outfit

Yeah, it was Desean Butler who was pretty much the stud player that year... bad deal because he was a senior and it basically took his NBA prospects from good to terrible.