Bob Huggins' frustration is starting to reach its peak this season as the Mountaineers have now dropped three straight games. All three of those losses have come to ranked opponents but in this league, every game matters. During this losing skid, the same issues continue to arise on both ends of the floor. Poor defensive rebounding, a lack of ball movement, unforced turnovers, and missing an absurd amount of shots from within three feet of the basket.
In Saturday's loss to Texas Tech, four Mountaineers fouled out of the game. A fair amount of that can be associated with poor officiating but there were a lot of unnecessary fouls as well, much to the chagrin of Huggins.
"We don't rebound the basketball. It doesn't help that our bigs were in foul trouble. The reality is we shouldn't be in foul trouble when we're playing zone," Huggins said. "This [Texas Tech] is not a very good perimeter shooting team. As I watched their games, they score the ball in the paint. I thought that if we played that 1-2-2 zone and kind of packed it that it would be good, and it was good. But how hard is it to bump? So my guy, let's say he back cuts, I take him to the next guy and give it to him and say take him, take him. Then pop back out and get a guy. How hard is that? We've done that before and I've never had guys that think that was hard to do."
On the offensive end of things, not following through with called plays/sets is becoming a real issue with this team. Huggins said that he has no idea why the plays are not being utilized and that it's not a matter of whether or not they know where they are supposed to be or simply forgetting, they're just not running what he is calling.
"We didn't run what we practiced. I went over it for two days in practice, we went over it before the game, we went over it at every timeout and they still never ran what I asked them to run. The reality of it is, any other line of work that anybody would ever be in, if you continue not to do what you're asked to do, you're probably asked to leave. I haven't done that."
Judging by how the offense has performed in recent games, it's pretty evident that things are all out of whack. A lack of execution is one thing, but that's not a new problem that Huggins has had to work through. It's the lack of effort being put in on the players' own time that has rubbed him the wrong way.
"We need to grow up. If you can't make a free throw, then get in the gym. If you want to be a part of the team, you've got to help the team in some way or another. If you don't want to help, why are you here? I think it's about time that if you're not going to contribute, why would we carry you? That's kind of about where I am.
"After the last game I said it would be really good if you guys get in that practice facility because it's open 24/7, so it would be nice if you got in there and maybe we could make a shot or two. So, I'm sitting in my office and I hear the ball bouncing and I'm sitting there thinking, well, I got through to somebody and I looked down there and it's Kevin Jones. Come in the next day, hear the ball bouncing, I look down there and it's Devin Williams. It ain't anybody who played in this game today. That's frustrating."
After a lengthy postgame speech, WVU play-by-play analyst Dan Zangrilli asked Huggins what his message to the team was.
"The message basically was you're going to run what I tell you to run or you're going to come over and sit on the bench and watch," he said. "You've got to want to do it. You've got to care. We've got some guys that do that and we've got some guys that, if they're doing it, it's disguised very well."
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