Huggins, West Virginia set for home opener against VMI at Coliseum
Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 06:11
Bob Huggins and the West Virginia men’s basketball team are in uncharted territory.
For the first time since 1980, the Mountaineers are off to a 1-3 start to begin a season.
Huggins, who is his sixth season at the helm, has taken WVU to the NCAA tournament every season since he arrived in Morgantown.
West Virginia (1-3) will look to regain its winning ways Wednesday night at the Coliseum against Big South Conference foe Virginia Military Institute (3-3) in the Mountaineers’ home opener.
Despite the early struggles from his team, Huggins is confident things will be corrected.
"We’re going to be alright. We’ll get things straightened out," Huggins said. "We’ve played, to this point, a heck of a schedule. According to whoever does that, it’s the fourth best schedule in the country."
The Mountaineers had a road game against No. 17 Gonzaga to begin the season before competing in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., during Thanksgiving Break.
The Keydets don’t present as storied of a program as some of the opponents West Virginia has faced to this point in the season, but they are still talented.
VMI is No. 10 nationally in points per game, scoring more than 85 points per outing.
This style of play may allow the Mountaineers to do something they’ve been trying to do all season – play fast offensively.
"We’re going to try to play faster," Huggins said. "We don’t want them to play fast. We want to play fast. People that are good don’t let the other team play fast … We haven’t done that as much as we need to."
Many of the struggles by West Virginia this season can be attributed to the inexperienced players on the roster. While there are upperclassmen across the board, some, such as senior Matt Humphrey, transferred to WVU and are playing their first few games for Huggins.
Building chemistry is something that takes time.
"For as much as we think we’re maybe a veteran team, we’re not," Huggins said. "We’re not a veteran team playing the way we’re trying to play."
The catalyst of the Mountaineers’ offensive struggles this season has been a low field goal percentage. West Virginia ranks No. 277 in the country in shooting percentage and is shooting less than 40 percent from the floor per game.
Huggins, though, feels there are ways to put the ball in the basket other than shooting jumpshots.
"We’ve got to do a better job of making shots … Scoring is not always just shooting the ball," Huggins said. "There are a lot of other guys who score that find ways to score."
West Virginia has only played four games through the first few weeks of the season, while other teams have played as many as seven or eight games.
Sometimes not all mistakes are correctable in practice.
"It’s hard to simulate games in practice," Huggins said. "That’s why high school guys scrimmage as many times as they scrimmage. When you scrimmage against someone else, it helps."