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Take Me “Home” Country Roads…Please!

27 February 2020 Views From The Booth Sports

Greetings From The Booth!

I guess Winter is not done after all. I’m sitting here on a 30-ish degree, windy morning and wondering, like the daffodils that have popped up through the soil, what the heck is going on. BTW, the coldest place on Earth is not International Falls, Minnesota, or some scientific outpost in Antarctica. It’s under any gas station overhang
at 4 am on a cold, windy morning…

At Shenandoah University, the transition to Spring sports is almost complete, but there is still some business to take care of on the basketball court. Today, the Hornet women begin their ODAC title defense in Salem when they take on Randolph-Macon in a tournament quarterfinal game. The SU ladies have had a solid season at 16-9, and 12-6 in the ODAC, but face a tough matchup today. The Yellow Jackets
defeated SU just 9 days ago in Ashland, 73-51. Hopefully, the Hornets can reverse that today.

Well, I guess the fix isn’t fixed after all. Earlier in the year I wrote about how WVU basketball coach Bob Huggins vowed to last year’s 15-21 dumpster fire of a team, and after an 11-1 start and wins against Wichita State and then-number-2 Ohio State, it looked like things were fixed.

Since then, my Mounties have gone 8-8, including losses in 5 of their last 6 games. Granted, 3 of those losses have come against Kansas (twice) and Baylor, but most of the defeats have come against the bottom feeders of the Big-12, as WVU continues to drop like a sinking stone in the AP Poll. At this point, I’m not sure they even belong in the Top 25.

The Mountaineers are a Jekyll and Hyde bunch who have lost only once at home this year, but have gone 1-17 in the Big-12 the last 2 seasons. Especially puzzling was the 10 point loss at Texas Monday, a team the Mounties beat by almost 40 at home!

What has happened? If you look at the fan boards and social media, the excuses are many and varied. Lack of work ethic, the officiating on the road, recruiting, assistant coaches, complacency. Some have even blamed the ball. Yes, the basketball that WVU uses at home is apparently a different ball than the one used on the road by other B12 teams.

Many blame Huggins himself, a beloved legend in the Mountain State. “Hugs” emphasizes defense, and many say his style of offense is antiquated. While the defense hasn’t been bad, WVU simply has trouble scoring points. Huggins sums it up by saying “We can’t make shots.” West Virginia has also been abysmal at the free throw line, and that will not serve them well should they get into the NCAA Tournament.

At 19-9 and 7-8 in the Big 12, I’m not sure that’s a lock. Stats like “NET and Quad-1 wins” aside, the eye test reveals a basketball team going in the wrong direction at the worst possible time. WVU is a team playing with little confidence, especially away from the confines of the Coliseum.

With only 3 games left before the conference tournament and hopefully the Big Dance, Bob Huggins needs to find a way to “fix the fix” before a once-special season slips away.

Until the next visit from the Booth…GO HORNETS, GO EERS!


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