Joe Sadlek/All-Pro Photography

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins receives a warning from official Gary Maxwell during a 65-62 home loss to Baylor.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Can a team that hasn’t won a single game in three weeks suddenly find the resolve to win four games in 96 hours?

That’s the challenging path West Virginia must navigate to win the Big 12 tournament, which is WVU’s only path into the NCAA tournament. Though the Mountaineers face steep odds of making a perfect run through Kansas City, coach Bob Huggins is touting the possibility by emphasizing his squad’s sporadic stretches of quality play.

“I think we’re capable of playing with just about everybody on a given night, and I still think we can make a run,” Huggins said Monday.

“We’ve played well at times, but we just haven’t been as consistent as we need to be. I think if we can put it together, we’re not that far away from being able to beat some good people.”

The Mountaineers (13-18, 6-12 Big 12), who face Texas Tech on Wednesday night at 7 p.m., find themselves stuck with the eighth seed because of their inability to close out close games against the league’s upper-half teams. There was a five-point home loss to Kansas, a three-pointer to Baylor, a two-point loss at Iowa State and a one-point heartbreaker against K-State.

And as strange as it sounds, last Saturday’s 83-74 home loss to Iowa State on Senior Day proved to Huggins his team has some fight remaining.

“When you get down by 27 and then come back and cut it to four, I think it obviously shows you still think you can win,” he said.

During Monday night’s MetroNews call-in show, Huggins was asked what level of roster turnover to expect during the offseason.

“I don’t know the absolute answer to that because we don’t really discuss those things during the season,” Huggins said. “I haven’t had a sit-down with any of (the players) in terms of what their plans are.

“I think it’s very important that we’re honest with them, which we have been, and that they’re honest with us. We had a situation the last two years where we had a guy who says ‘I’m in, I’m in. I’m coming back,’ and then recruiting ends and he says, ‘Hey, I want to go somewhere else.’ And that’s not the right thing to do.”

Whether it occurs at the coach’s urging, via player opt-out or by way of mutual agreement, the math projects some current underclassmen won’t be returning. WVU has four players signed for next season with only three departing seniors, and Huggins recently said he intends to sign an additional player (or players) during the spring signing period.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Self steered Kansas to a share of the Big 12 regular-season championship.

Should WVU defeat Texas Tech for a third time this season, the Mountaineers would face Kansas on Thursday at 3 p.m. At that point, KU will be five days removed from an 81-58 shellacking at Baylor in the regular-season finale.

Though the blowout loss cost the Jayhawks a chance to win the league outright, coach Bill Self said it shouldn’t overshadow his team’s body of work this season.

“One game can’t take away from what the guys have accomplished over the course of the conference season,” he said.

“We were fine coming back (from Waco) and we talked about it when we got back. But even though we didn’t play very well and they were terrific. we had it to six with a few minutes to do. They made every play and we didn’t finish very well at all.”

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  • tw eagle

    i hope WVU gets invited to the nit . . .that's the only way to strap a 20 loss season on higgins back this year . . .

  • salty dog

    I am more than willing to give Hugg's (a hall of fame coach who took us the the final 4 for the first time since 1959) a year or two to show some hope of things to come. He is a top 20 all time winningest coach in the history of the game after all. Lets Go Mountaineers!

  • Pghmountaineer

    I for one am not happy how this season turned out. And that's not because we lost so many games. What's discouraging is that this team did not improve one bit since the start of the season. Sure, Harris has stepped up a little but it's still a team sport and as a team these guys are painful to watch. Deniz K. hasn't, on balance, improved and the 3 transfers are really disappointing.
    That said I'm willing to give Huggs next season to at least show he still can coach. If we have the same result, then it's time to make a change. However, I truly don't believe O.Luck will step in. To him, basketball is not the money sport, so follow the money and that means Huggs is there for as long as he wants to be. So get used to it!

  • john benvenuto

    The travel is a BS excuse for a losing season. Look at the #1 team in the country Gonzaga take a look at their travel and ours it is very close I believe the Zags actually traveled a little further yet they don't say anything about travel. You Huggins supporters will say the Zags for the most part travel far but stay in their own time zone. I say that excuse is for losers and that's what we are this year losers.
    If Huggs recruited better we would have won more games and this travel problem wouldn't have been a problem.

  • Shadow

    I keep bringing up the difficulty of recruiting kids to play basketball at Morgantown when they can play closer to home and their parents and friends can watch them. But WVU Fan thinks WVU should have priority in the kid's minds, even when they have a chance to go to a bigger, better school near home. When the player field gets to WVU, it is pretty well picked over and Huggins has a lot of teaching to do. When the opening came up in the Big !2, Luck never thought one moment about basketball. It was money and football. I doubt if Huggs was ever asked.....

  • Jethro

    Old Ollie could care less about basketball. It's football baby! That's where the money is

  • wvgreene

    Willima writes........"has been an embarrassment been an embarrassment as coach of WVU"

    Wow -- that is a bold statement aimed at a man who:
    coached WV to a Big East tourney championship, made a Final Four appearance, the man behind the practice facility, the man behind bringing WVU basketball coaching staff payroll into the high tier---the same $ that will be available to attract coaches after Huggs decides to retire.

    Wonder if Duke fans wants to get rid of Coach K for cursing ?

  • rattle snake

    allan , i see tons of schools doing a better job than huggs, so if it's a crap shoot, than huggins is playing with the house's dice.

    how can any coach miss on every single recurit with the exception of maybe two,and just might not be back next yr due to their own choice..

  • Allan

    I'm sure many of us have cruised along threw life and our profession only to hit a bump and have to consider and take inventory of what we are doing and if we need to make some changes and maybe Huggs is having one of those moments with his players. I defy any of you experts to look at high school films and tell me which one to's a crap shoot. I have no doubt that Huggs will right the ship.

  • OneWV

    Clearly, this has been a rough transition to the Big 12. WVU has recruited for Big East style play, which does not match up well with the speed and talent of the BIg 12. We are a state full of "fair weather" fans. We are up if the Eer's are doing well, and furiously down on them when they are not. As for Coach Huggins, he is one of 4 active coaches to reach the 700+ win mark. I think the man knows what he is doing. And...hey...I like to wear my lounge clothes at home too. I think Huggins should be able to do the same. Keep the faith Mountaineer Nation. We'll rebound. Not every year is going to be a banner year. Let's Go Mountaineers!

    • Big Dog

      i think huggie has not forgotten how to coach, i just think he has another priority he would rather enjoy...
      it's sad when a man of his stature comes tumbling down, but it happens to everyone.. Just be classy, accept mother nature, and try something new ,something that you can accomplish.
      no one is saying that huggie isn't a great mountaineer, we've been to two final fours,in the ncaa, one with huggie and beilein players...
      we did win the NIT back when the NIT was THE tournament to play in...that was a national championship of great respect.
      now , not so much.
      but, let's face it, the big 12 for whatever reason has our entire athletic program in a frizzy, we don't match up..our BB team ,FB team , girls BB, wrestling, ping pong, but we are still the number one partying school in the nation.. something we need to hang our hat on.

  • rattle snake

    we have zero chance of getting into any tourn. unless we buy our way in.
    this is way huggs should move over to the passenger seat, and let us get a new driver... He simply has lost touch with reality.
    There comes a time when we all have to step aside and let the younger gen. take over, Huggie bear, it just might be your time seeing how the trend over the last three seasons have gone.
    maybe go back to Kstate and find your drinking buddy and stay up all night with him and talk about the good ole days at Ucinn.

  • Alum

    I must say it was refreshing to read an article mid afternoon without any of the negative troll comments yet posted. I guess that's an advantage of being 8 time zones away for work. Oh well, I see the negative nannies didn't disappoint and their respective sad, sad comments are back. Why do these pitt fans insist on posting comments about WVU?

  • Mike

    Most of these so called fans who post on here kill me.

    William - You my friend must be a very positive influence on those in your life. Head games are apart of getting the best out of any teenage kid playing ball. I take it you are also one of those people that are still in little league where everyone plays and everyone gets a throphy. This is the big league my friend and we are not going to win them all but at least have some hope and leave the coaching to Huggs.

  • Jim

    If our team gets invited to a post-season tournament, we should decline to attend. Invites to tourneys are a reward for having a winning season. This team does not deserve any king of reward. Only good thing about going to anything other than the NCAA Tournament is the extra practice and game experience for the young guys. Here's to next BB season!

    • Big Larry


      Don't worry, there is no chance of that ever happening. Even the tournaments you have to "pay them" to let you play don't want WVU...