WVU returns home to face TCU
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 01:01
The Mountaineers are running out of time to right the ship and restore any hope of making the NCAA tournament for the sixth-straight season.
They have fallen below .500 and are currently seventh out of 10 teams in the Big 12 Conference standings.
But a four-day break before a home game may be exactly what the doctor ordered.
West Virginia (8-9, 1-3) hopes to take full of advantage of that opportunity when TCU (9-9, 0-5) travels to the Coliseum Wednesday for a Big 12 matchup.
It will be the first-ever matchup between the two schools.
The Horned Frogs have yet to win their first Big 12 Conference game in their inaugural season, but they’re still completely capable of knocking off a struggling West Virginia team.
"They’re good enough. We’re going to have to play well," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. "I’m sure they’ll do like everything else – try to make us shoot it on the perimeter."
Making the Mountaineers shoot from anywhere on the floor may be an effective strategy at this point, as Huggins’ team ranks 321st nationally in shooting percentage.
The Horned Frogs are scoring about 13 points per game less than the offensively challenged Mountaineers, but this is due to the style of offense TCU runs.
It’s a slow-paced approach, but the Horned Frogs will still take shots early in a possession if the opportunity presents itself.
"They run good sets. They look at the options when they come through. They’ve got good continuity to them," Huggins said. "They just try to make you guard for the full shot clock. It’s not like if they have something before that they’re not going to take it."
The Mountaineers have lost four of their last four games and have matchups looming with No. 2 Kansas and a road matchup with a very talented Oklahoma State game, making this game with the Horned Frogs extremely important.
At this point in the season, all of them are important.
"All I can tell you is I thought we had yesterday (Monday) one of the best practices we’ve had in a while, for whatever that’s worth," Huggins said.
Despite his team’s struggles, Huggins points out that the Mountaineers are a few sequences away from a few more victories.
Two of West Virginia’s three conference losses have come by a combined three points.
"We’re a shot or a call or a bounce away from winning another three of four," Huggins said. "I think the problem is we don’t make that happen. We just kind of hope it happens."
"Take the Gonzaga and the Purdue game away and we’ve certainly had our chances."
Huggins has experimented with multiple lineups in the last few outings, going with a relatively small starting five in hopes of accommodating the style of play presented in the Big 12.
It will be interesting to see what lineup Huggins dials up tonight when the two teams tipoff at 7:30.