After watching West Virginia take down Baylor Saturday in Waco, Texas, I thought to myself that Mike Carey is underrated as a coach.
It wasn’t just because his squad has won nine straight games and is in good position to win the Big 12 Conference regular season title. Carey hasn’t received the recognition he deserves after years of hard work and strong results.
When Carey took over at WVU, he didn’t have a lot to work with. The women’s team simply wasn’t very good. Through Carey’s guidance and leadership, the Mountaineers are back in the top 10 in both the Associated Press Poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Despite this rebuilding, and his 26-3 overall and 15-2 numbers in league play, he’s still criminally underrated and underappreciated.
While people will praise coaches like Baylor’s Kim Mulkey or Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma, Carey has proven time and again his squad can compete with the best programs in the country. Yet there aren’t many who consider Carey one of the best coaches in the country.
As we continue to see the WVU women’s basketball team progress, we should be aware of what Carey has done to change this program and what this means for the future.
Carey has not only solidified himself as a coach who knows how to win, but his team feeds off what he preaches.
While there were moments of adversity Sunday in the win over Baylor, Carey and his team were able to fight through it. That says a lot about the direction in which this team is headed.
If we’re going to be honest here, it’s easy to say some of the foul calls in Sunday’s win were a bit questionable. Despite the Lady Bears’ Odyssey Sims having another strong performance, WVU didn’t allow other players to beat it.
The Mountaineers fought issues at the foul line, turnovers and finishing near the rim, but still hung tough and fought hard. For Carey and company, that’s all you can ask for.
With the win, West Virginia might have moved from a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament to a No. 2 squad. The Mountaineers found themselves playing their best basketball at a very crucial time in the season.
Carey has found himself leading a group with tons of confidence. After falling in the season opener to Ohio State, WVU has really emerged as a team that’s on a mission. Since that loss, the Mountaineers have only fallen to Baylor and Texas.
WVU has prided itself as a defensive squad. Even Sims, the nation’s leading scorer, having 39 points Sunday, was forced to commit 10 turnovers by West Virginia. Prior to Sunday’s loss, BU had won 35 consecutive Big 12 home games dating back to the final regular-season game of the 2009-10 season against Texas.
Despite missing 12 free throws, WVU was able to win due to some key defensive stops and strong shooting. The Mountaineers shot 50 percent from the field and 41 percent from beyond the arc. Baylor was held to 16 percent from 3-point territory.
With what WVU has accomplished this season, Carey deserves more praise. He’s as underrated as they come in women’s college basketball.