When the Big 12 announced the new schedule for the beginning of March to makeup games that were postponed, I began to check when head coach Bob Huggins would attain his 900th career victory. Going into Saturday, there wasn’t a concern for me when it came to Kansas State and I expected Huggins to reach 898 career wins by the end of the game.
West Virginia had a hideous first half shooting the ball. In the second half, the Mountaineers finally broke away thanks to a 17-0 run in a span of six minutes.
What did I learn after watching this game? Kansas State is terrible. Not bad, not okay, terrible.
The real problem was that this game remained separated by less than double-digits until the 11-minute mark in the second half. West Virginia closed out the game in superior fashion, outscoring the Wildcats, 23-9 in the final 11 minutes, but it took more time than it should’ve for this game to be labeled as a blowout.
That final stretch of the game said a lot about the Mountaineers. West Virginia’s leading scorer entering the game, Miles McBride, only scored five points off the bench and was largely ineffective for WVU in his 23 minutes of action. West Virginia pieced together its scoring run with significant contributions from Jordan McCabe.
I haven’t been the number one supporter of McCabe this season as I believe he has been very disappointing throughout the year for WVU. However, in just his fifth start of the year on Saturday he finished with seven points and Huggins was very impressed with how he handled himself.
That’s the story that I think has surrounded WVU for most of the year. Everyone knows about McBride, but it’s tough to deem who is the second man on this team because of how spread out the scoring is.
Derek Culver is a double-double machine, but he can be inconsistent at times. Sean McNeil has been on an absolute tear over the past few weeks and he is establishing himself as critical asset to this team.
I think what makes this team so strong is that it doesn’t rely on just one player to make things work and win games. West Virginia can look to anyone on the roster and be confident in that player to knock down shots, grab rebounds and make defensive stops when necessary.
WVU has established itself as a contender in the Big 12 and in the NCAA Tournament in March. West Virginia has initiated itself with depth on its roster and an ability to spread out the attack among multiple players and that’s how it defeated Kansas State on Saturday. WVU was the superior team but it utilized everyone even when the Mountaineers weren’t hitting shots.
I have no doubt that Huggins will reach 900 career victories prior to the Big 12 Conference Tournament and I look forward to West Virginia’s return to March Madness for the first time in three years.