It’s a case of repeat deja vu as West Virginia faces Oklahoma for the third time during the regular season.

Year 2 of Lon Kruger’s rebuilding project has Oklahoma (19-9, 10-6) in fourth place in the Big 12 and, more crucially, in solid standing for an NCAA at-large bid. Year 6 of Bob Huggins’ home-state reunion is bringing unprecedented woes as the Mountaineers (13-16, 6-10) are fighting just to hang on to the seventh seed for the upcoming league tournament.

Joe Sadlek/All-Pro Photography

Romero Osby produced 21 points and nine rebounds as Oklahoma rallied for a 67-57 win at West Virginia in Jan. 5.

Let’s look at five keys for Wednesday night’s 9 p.m. game in Norman, with ESPN2 providing the pictures and MSN providing radio coverage on MetroNews affiliates at 8 p.m.:

1. The last time they met …
During the Big 12 opener in Morgantown, WVU made nine 3-pointers in the first half and led 43-31 with 17:29 left in the game. But Oklahoma held the Mountaineers to only five field goals the rest of the way and won 67-57.

“First Big 12 game, home opener, packed crowd — what more could you ask for?” said West Virginia guard Terry Henderson, who scored 21 points but was shut out during the final 17 minutes. “I really thought we were going to pull it out.”

Romero Osby fueled Oklahoma with 21 points and nine rebounds.

2. And the time before …
Amath M’Baye scored 19 points and the Sooners won 77-70 in the third-place game of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, giving Huggins his first hint WVU might not be inclined to follow scouting reports.

“You’d have to be deaf not to know they (OU’s big men) are going to go right, and how many times did we get beat right?” he said. “Bottom line is we’re not tough enough, we’re not mentally tough enough.”

3. Osby lifts his game
The 6-foot-8 senior forward, who spent his first two seasons as a limited-impact role player at Mississippi State, tops the Sooners in scoring this season (15.2 points), rebounds (7.1) and field-goal percentage (.522). He has been even more productive during Big 12 games, scoring at a clip of 17.2 per game. In 23 of 28 games this season, he has been on the positive side of the plus-minus column.

Osby’s also an 80-percent foul shooter who made all 10 attempts Saturday against Iowa State, part of a day in which OU tied an NCAA mark by going 34-of-34 on free throws.

4. Senior Night for Sooners
Along with Osby, Oklahoma bids farewell to three other seniors — guards Sam Grooms (4.8 points, 2.9 assists) and Steven Pledger (11.9 points), and forward Andrew Fitzgerald (5.8 points, 3.2 rebounds).

Oklahoma is 11-2 at home this season, with losses to Stephen F. Austin and Kansas State by a combined three points.

5. Very unHuggins-like
With four consecutive losses, West Virginia is on the precipice of some dubious history tonight. No Huggins-coached team has ever lost five straight games.

After Saturday’s 91-65 loss at Kansas, Huggins discussed his team’s inability to erase deficits, saying “we’re not good enough to get down 10, 12, 14 points to a team as good as what they are and be able to come back.” But it’s not just powerhouse teams like Kansas that have run away from WVU. In recent defeats, the Mountaineers trailed by 24 points at Baylor (lost 80-60), by 21 at Kansas State (lost 71-61) and by 18 to Oklahoma State (lost 73-57).

The difficult stretch has players such as freshman Eron Harris turning philosophical in order to cope.

“I talk to my dad a lot and he keeps saying we’re going to go through trials as people, and this is a big trial,” Harris said. “And guys who are going to come out on top are the ones that can get through the adversity. I’m not going to give up on my team.”

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Comments

  • Big Dog

    Big Dog, thinks we are vasting overpaying coaches.. really isn't everyone though,,, maybe have a performance clause in their contracts...i know, but if everyone does it, , it would put more pressure on them to perform, and get off the bottle.... BIg Dog.

  • big tom

    exactly where does the buck stop? is it huggins, Luck,, Clemons,,,,who will take responsibility for this mess..
    Huggie says it's his players, they are just too stupid, or they don't listen , or they can't pass, or they can't shoot, or they are just not very talented or BB smart...
    so, where does bobby step in and take some of the heat??? well not today...
    so did huggins , luck , or clemons recruit these guys,, the buck has to stop somewhere... guess it's the fans who brought them in,,, just sayin,,, Big Tom,,

  • Matt

    I wanna meet "William hide behind his insults disgrace. " that way we can "chat"

    • jethro

      he is a marshall or a pitt fan i would say
      or he is rick reilly in drag

  • Hop'sHip

    I say we keep playing them till we best em.

  • cutty77

    The Sooners are a 10 point Fav.Hope we can cover The Spread.With this Team you need small victorys.

  • Big Rick

    Big Rick here, just wanted to point out that William is a moron. Thanks. -Big Rick

    • big tom

      big tom is here ,just wanted little rick to look in the mirror, woow... a moron.

  • Bigfoot1970

    Bob Huggins is getting the blame for the mountaineers woeful season; which for a Hall of Fame coach is ashame. The problem is not the coach or the system it is the KIDS today do not care about nothing and do not respect anybody nor themselves.

    • td

      the kids at kansas and oklahoma seem to care.

    • big tom

      let's see,,, who recruited these kids,,, seems other teams have recruits come in and help the team,,, so ,what common here,,, o ,, the HC who was incharge of recruiting them..

  • The Wisetalker

    If WVU has an edge tonight it would be the fact that it is extremely difficult to beat a team 3 times in a row. Also the fact that WVU has nothing to lose so they can play with reckless abandon.

    However, on paper, Oklahoma should easily win this one.

    • Hoffy

      Wise, don't want to insult you, but... Reckless abandon? Sheesh! This team has been reckless with ball handling and fouling nearly all season long, and has abandoned this little essential skill called shooting the basketball. Yep, nothing to lose, alright... (Do hope we can pull off an upset, though!)

    • big tom

      edge???? what, have you see us play" , the only edge we have is showing up and after the tipoff, it's too late for us... a jr. high team could beat us three times... this is the same team tha was destroyed by gonzaga , and late in the season by kansas...

  • Don Q

    The game is passing Huggs by. Have you seen VCU play defense? Head Coach Shaka Smart may not have 700 wins but he is a better coach now than Huggins is, now.

    That is the type of coach we need. Young, energetic and knows how to motivate the entitled generation.

    Huggs once was a great coach, nobody can take that away but that's not now......that's not now.

    He did well w Beilein's recruits with less wins each year until they were all gone. Then we had last year where KJ singe handidly made sure what is happening this year didn't happen.

    Now a year where we lose to Duquesne despite the fact that their head coach from last year is on our bench and we can't even make the NIT.

    Is he earning $3 million? C'mon man!

    • jethro

      that tells me its not the coach , its the school and state , no one wants to come here

      • Don Q

        Alexander, Flowers, Mazzula, Butler, Ebanks, Pittsnogle, Nichols Herbert, Gansey and Ruoff were ok w coming to WV. What has changed?........

  • Hoffy

    I wonder how motivated WVU will be tonight against an Oklahoma team that has a lot more riding on this game. I would like to see more of the young guys that form the core of next year's team play, as opposed to those who will or should be gone, with one exception - Kilicli. I believe he's earned enough respect to get some playing time near the end of his career. The rest of the bums and pouters should watch and wonder...

  • Jack

    Playing the game of basketball should be fun especially for college players. When you watch the WVU players, you can easily tell they are not enjoying the games. It seems as painful for them playing as it is for the fans who are watching. I don't know what is wrong with this team. Maybe they are playing the best they can and it's just not good enough for division 1 level.

    • chad

      After about 4th or 5th grade it's only fun when you win. Thats why these guys are not enjoying themselves, they can't win

  • Shawn

    If i'm Huggs...I name 8 or 9 players for the game. Put my starting 5 in and tell them to play how they would during a pickup game. Just tell them to go all out and have fun. I would like to see how they respond.

    • big tom

      that's whats so great, you're not huggs,, BIg Tom

  • jethro

    its terrible when people are envious if someone makes more money than them, sounds like an obama maniac

    • MrJ

      Obama Haters: accounted for.
      Still waiting for the Marshall and teacher-union Haters, however.

      Where else could one expect politics to head its ugly rear in a sports story than on this website?

  • wvtd

    i hope for the best but expect the worse.

  • snowman

    I am so sick and tired over so called fans and yes I'm talking to you william bashing Bob Huggins. Let me ask you william, who should WV hire? Can you do any better? Remember back in 1995 when WV joined the Big East in all sports and the basketball struggled? I think they had a losing season that year. You sir are NOT a true Mountaineer.

    • big tom

      big tom says, keep drinking the kool-aid, that's what big tom says