West Virginia coach Bob Huggins responded to criticism from Marshall coach Dan D’Antoni on Monday, one day after D’Antoni said Huggins was “afraid” to have his Mountaineers face the Thundering Herd twice a year, ESPN's Eamonn Brennan reports.
West Virginia beat Marshall 69-66 Sunday in the annual Capital City Classic in Charleston, W. Va. After the game D'Antoni said the two schools should be playing twice a year.
Huggins didn’t hold back in a 15-minute rant at the start of his weekly radio show on Monday.
“He can say I’m afraid all he wants,” Huggins said. “I’ve probably coached 1,116 more games than he has. It’s ridiculous to say something like that. We’re afraid. Yeah, we’re really afraid.
“It’s crazy. We’ve beaten Duke. Mike [Krzyzewski]’s a pretty good coach. Was I afraid? I don’t think I was afraid after playing Duke. Played [Jim] Boeheim. Used to play him every year. He’s a great coach, I wasn’t afraid.”
Huggins pointed out that the loss was Marshall’s sixth in a row in the series and seriously questioned the future of the series, saying he’s not sure he wants to bother continuing it.
“I think if this kind of thing continues why would we?” Huggins asked. “Why would we want to sit here and hear we’re afraid? Go find somebody else to play.”
D’Antoni—the younger brother of former NBA coach Mike D’Antoni—and Marshall get a chance to beat a marquee in-state opponent at a neutral site, while West Virginia is expected to win and a loss is a disappointment.
West Virginia has started the season 9-1 with its only loss coming against LSU. The Mountaineers play North Carolina State in the Gotham Classic at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
The loss to West Virginia dropped Marshall to 3-6 after opening the season with three wins. The Thundering Herd host King College on Tuesday.
- Phil Watson