Win against TCU proves nothing
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 08:01
There wasn’t much that West Virginia could prove by beating TCU Wednesday night.
The Horned Frogs were seated firmly in last place in the Big 12 Conference, had lost all five of their conference games (including four by double figures), and – with the exception of allowing the fewest points per game among the teams in the league – they were among the nation’s worst in a handful of statistical categories.
Basically, all the Mountaineers were able to do in their 71-50 win, other than find a way to stop their three-game losing streak, was prove they aren’t the worst team in the Big 12.
"We play good one game, and I say something, and then the next game we lose by 30, so I don’t want to jinx anything," said senior forward Deniz Kilicli.
While it was definitely a much-needed win, and a win that a team struggling as much as this WVU team has been will definitely take, there were still moments when it wasn’t able to pull away the way it should have. The Mountaineers let TCU hang around much longer than a team that turned the ball over as much as it made shots should have on the road, especially against a team with much more talent.
For head coach Bob Huggins, it was just another instance where he saw his team’s true attitude.
It’s an attitude he hasn’t had to deal with much, and, until it changes, the path the Mountaineers are currently on likely won’t either.
"To a good portion of them, this is not the most important thing to them," Huggins said. "That’s the way it has to be. I tell them, ‘College is the greatest time of your life – enjoy it,’ but take care of your business first."
It’s something Huggins isn’t used to. The veteran head coach has made 19 of the last 20 NCAA tournaments and has never finished with less than 20 wins in back-to-back years in his coaching career.
Right now, with 13 regular season games remaining and its postseason future in jeopardy, West Virginia needs 11 wins to keep that streak alive.
"In all honesty, winning has become kind of expected. Losing is excruciatingly painful," Huggins said. "My dad quit (coaching) because the losing was affecting him so much.
"It’s like Saturday (against Purdue), they took us off CBS. We’ve done things I’ve never had anybody do; I’ve never had a team like that. I’ve never had a team not compete like that."
And it’s nothing new to hear Huggins talk like that about this team.
He’s mentioned on numerous occasions this season the difference he’s seen with this year’s Mountaineers and teams with the likes of Kevin Jones and Da’Sean Butler and other players who were willing to put in as much extra time as they could to get better.
"You get out of this game what you put into it," Huggins said after the game.
"If you don’t invest anything, why would you expect to get anything out (of it)? You can’t win the lottery unless you buy a ticket."
So, of course, it was good for the Mountaineers to get a win over anybody – even a team as bad as TCU – coming off of that lopsided loss to Purdue. But you can’t really take much from this game until you see how the Mountaineers perform Saturday on the road against an Oklahoma State team that is much more talented than the Horned Frogs.
Will they come out with that same fire they had in the first half last night? Or will they get complacent like they’ve been so often this season and fall once again before heading back home to face a Kansas team that could potentially be ranked No. 1 in the nation?
WVU’s season and where they go in the postseason could depend on the answer to that question.
"You can’t get too high or too low," said freshman guard Eron Harris. "When you win, you’ve got to keep that same hunger from the last game when you lost, and that’s something we’ve got to learn to do.
"Some of us got it, some of us don’t. But we’ve got to get on the same page."