Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech’s Dejan Kravic grabs a rebound over Deniz Kilicli during WVU’s 71-69 loss in the Big 12 tournament.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For 40 minutes of Big 12 tournament basketball that was equal parts exciting and excruciating, Bob Huggins must have felt as if the entire season was recapping in front of him.

Every failing from November to March was encapsulated during Wednesday’s 71-69 loss to Texas Tech, a game that muted all the standardized chatter about this Sprint Center event offering new life, fresh opportunity and season-salvaging redemption.

In the rarest of cases, hopeless-looking teams magically straighten themselves and string together four victories at these conference tourneys. But against the Red Raiders, West Virginia could hardly string together four good minutes.

Against a team ranked 227th in the RPI, the Mountaineers fell behind 30-16 and didn’t lead until 8:31 remained in the game.

Against an opponent ranked last in the Big 12 in 3-point shooting, WVU watched 8-of-12 long-range jumpers connect.

Against the weakest rebounding team in the conference, West Virginia found itself out-boarded 31-28.

The final rebound was the most scrutinized: Tech’s 6-foot-11 Dejan Kravic tapping in the game-winner with 0.4 seconds left while three Mountaineers (Aaric Murray, Dominique Rutledge and Jabarie Hinds) became mannequins. But the astonishing part was that West Virginia managed to take the game down to the final possession.

Deniz Kilicli, while stung by the closing moments, estimated that if the opposition had been anybody else but Texas Tech, the Mountaineers would have lost by 15.

“We played horrible the whole game,” assessed Kilicli, a senior who obviously isn’t majoring in sugar-coating. “A lot of turnovers, really stupid turnovers — I can’t find another word to say it. Just mental breakdowns on rotations.”

Finally, he concluded, “Everybody wasn’t into it,” a summation that was equally applicable to opening night in Spokane as it was closing night in Kansas City.


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  • Jay

    I'll state this once. WVU will NEVER employ a better basketball coach than Bob Huggins. I mean that, though I know making that statement is akin to throwing chum in shark-infested waters.

    • Big Dog

      we all love bob huggins and his love for wvu and wv is not understated.
      However, It's up to Luck to do what is best for wvu. He just signed a new contract with huggins which amts to a lifetime deal..
      i think in 2014 he decides if he wants to coach anymore,,, we'll have to wait, at 10,000 smacks per month , he ain'[t going anywhere, i wouldn't either.
      He 's mainly there for his ability to raise money from donors.
      His coaching career is secondary, as our past three yrs. attest.
      Just how far will Luck let him take us, that's up to luck to a point, but if the col. is empty this fall, they screams for a change.
      same with Dana, it's all about putting people in the seats,,,both are making huge salaries as far as wvu standards, i think we should hold them responsible for the performance of their teams. I think the donors should too.
      As Luck said, it's all about football when it comes to money, but pride also figures into the equation.
      We, the fans , certainly don't want to see us embarrassed like we did in FB and BB ever again. Or, as some on this board, we drink the kool-aid, and become relegated to mediocrity. ,,Pick you poison.

    • Mike

      I totally agree with you Jay

  • Jethro

    Huggy should leave and go somewhere he can recruit but he wont he loves wv more than wv loves him judging from comments here

  • Big Dog

    when beilein was our coach, i really thought we could beat anyone, now with huggins , i really think anyone can beat us.
    sad , how things change.
    It seems huggins and all his allies, are happy to look into the past to justify him being our coach.. It all comes down to ,what have you done for me lately.

    yes, give him another year, no doubt, but if we go belly up again, Luck has to look at the trend, especially since huggins has his recruits on the court.. We are barely .500....
    Now i know he probably is a HOF coach, but all that was at Ucinn, not wvu.
    I know he loves wv, and wvu, but maybe he should love it from the passengers' seat, and let someone else drive the bus.
    we all have to look in the mirror some day,and make that decison.. maybe it's time Bobby.

    • william


      • Mike

        Please move on, you've beat that horse to death.

  • Charleston, WV

    The headline couldn't have been stated any better. I totally agree with most WVU fans that our team wasn't the greatest, however alot of the negative and outrageous comments could have been witheld. As the old saying goes: "Misery loves company", right? With that being said, I will additionally state that this season has shed the light as to how spoiled and fickle some of our fanbase has come to be (if you want to call it a fanbase). I am sure that most of us have experienced some sore of losing team in our life and the moaning, groaning, and belly aching won't solve our problems. Now is the time to get back to work and correct last seasons mistakes so that we don't repeat them again.

  • Robert

    This season has been an humbling experience. We WVU fans are passionate and have a lot of emotional stakes in the play of some very young adults. When you put on the gold and blue, there is a lot of pressure from our passionate fans. It turns out that this group did not have what it takes, or possibly didn't desire to have it. I look forward to cheering on next year's team. Hopefully they can get it together.

    • RJB

      I agree Robert but the nightmare is that most of this years team is back unless Huggs fires them.

  • Jethro

    Bad season. It's over. Move on!
    Let's go mountaineers!

  • ffejbboc

    This loss was a mercy killing. It's probably best this season is over. Just say no to the CBI.

  • wvtd

    i think huggins has learned a lesson this season. it will be a new team and a new season to look forward too now.

    • Big Dog

      does that mean he's going to insult , embarrass and degrade our players , more on the sidelines?
      man needs an attitude adjustment.No one's gonna come to wvu if he don't get a better sideline manner to him..
      that's down right embarrassing to all people of wv, and it's a joke when the tv camera continues to spotlight him for his angry outburst.

      • Jim

        I agree. We work everyday to try to kick the stereotype and Huggins works everyday to exemplify it. Does he not get it? I'm sure he preaches or screams at his players that they represent WVU, the state of WV, and it's people. But, he cannot lead by example.

  • Big Larry

    Bob Huggins' career record at WVU: 133-75, 63.9%
    John Beilein's career record at WVU: 104-60, 63.4%
    Gale Catlett's career record at WVU: 81-40, 66.9%
    Bucky Waters' career at WVU: 69-41, 62.7%
    George King's career at WVU: 102-43, 70.3%
    Red Brown's career at WVU: 72-31, 69.9%

    • Ernie

      Catlett was there for over 20 years and won way more than 81 games.

    • Bucky Bill

      Devin Ebanks and Kevin Jones were recruited by Huggins. Also, folks should consider strength of schedule. Huggins strength of schedule at WVU is tougher than others. Bob Huggins also helps to get WVU into a spot light that only a few active coaches can. We all need to take a few breathes and know that Bob will work hard to develop our bb team into something of which we will be proud.

      The FB team will pleasant surprise this fall. Remember. A couple of the losses were real close ones. Expectations were just too high. One stop against Oklahoma and they would have beaten Texas and the Sooners in the same year. Not many teams could say that.

      I can hardly wait to hear Tony say it's a great day . . . Because as always it is.

    • Kevin Maupin

      Big Larry, Gale Catlett's career record at WVU was 439-269 and 62.0%. I think you just looked at Coach Catlett's record after his first four years at WVU which was when WVU was in the ECAC. Your point is well taken though the facts are WVU is a basketball team that historically wins at a 62-64 percent clip regardless of who coaches them.

    • Jim

      Big Larry, what is your point? Are trying to say that Huggins record and winning percentage is worse than Catlett's? Are you making the point that Huggins is no better than the other coaches records you posted? Just wondering.

    • stan

      These numbers are not correct. Catlett's record was 22-159, and his Big East record was 48-72.

      • stan

        oops I mean, 228-159, that was a typo

    • Jethro

      My research catlett had 61%in record at wvu

    • Jethro

      Surely catlett coached more than 121 games. Dont believe all numbers

      • stan

        Yeah those numbers aren't correct. His record that I found was 228-159 at WVU, with a record of 48-72 in the Big East.

    • cutty77

      Bob Huggins first 3 years with Beilen Players.
      80 wins 30 losses
      Bob Huggins last 3 years with His Players
      54 wins 45 losses.
      Numbers don't lie.

      • Jay

        Bob Huggins did not forget how to recruit. People need to step back from the ledge. I hope you folks find your way back to these comment sections and message boards when Huggins does indeed fix what's wrong.

      • Jim

        Wow, the numbers are very telling. Might be time for retirement ole Bob!

      • RJB

        Cutty good point made. Thanks!!! Numbers don't lie.

    • rjb

      Big Larry true but wonder what Huggs record would be without the John Beilein players he inherited when he came? Think about it!!!I miss the Beiline days. Hate Michigan but do love Beilein!!! Wish he were back.

      • Red Dwarf

        Heck, I miss Joedy Gardner!

  • TBone

    Memo to Oliver Luck:
    FIRE HUGGINS TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!

    • What

      You are an IDIOT who knows nothing! Bob Huggins has one bad season and you want him fired? Go watch Marshall!!

    • unclec

      R u silly fire Huggs why we had a down year. Better days to come

    • Allan Taylor

      Two losing seasons in 28 years and you want Huggins gone? He certainly made some roster miscalculations this season, but to call for his ouster after five straight NCAA appearances and the career he has assembled, is knee-jerk ludicrous.

      • TBone

        Wec are going backwards under Huggins and his own recruits. He won with Beilein recruits but cannot win with his own hand-picked brick throwers. Last 3 years under Huggins 21-12, 19-14, 13-19. Steadily getting worse, not better, and that was immeadiately after a Final Four run. WVU, because of Huggins, got no bump in recruits from that Final Four appearance. None. Going backwards with Huggins at the helm. Time for him to retire or be fired!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Jay

        I agree with you, Mr. Taylor.

  • Art in Ohio

    Thank God it's over. In all the 55 years of watching or listening to Mountaineer sports this years football and basketball teams left me speechless. It was not that we were in the Big 12 for the first year because we would have been terrible playing in the Big East. As stated by coaches and fans....we never saw this coming. I will now give the famous Mountaineer cheer....wait till next year. It will get better...right??

    • Charleston, WV

      With all due respect, where were you during Gale Catlett's last season?

      • Art in Ohio

        I understand...but I also included the football team in my remarks. You are correct about the last season with Gale.

  • Habib Haddad

    Watching our bigs stand nailed to the court while our opponent dunked the winning shot was the cherry on top of the putrid sundae that was Mountaineer basketball this year. With the exception of our two freshmen (who still cannot play defense) this is a team with a low overall basketball IQ. And they are lazy. Such a poor example for the young men and women of our state who play the game for love. I hope Huggs blows this roster to bits, because they are his players and his players alone.

    • chris

      Did Huggins actually say in the Post Game Interview..."ATLEAST THERE IS MORE TIME FOR HAPPY HOUR.....2 for 1 St. Patties Day Green Beer Specials

  • rtdeco

    3 statutes had the best view to watch the game winning layup. what a fitting end to this season.

  • WVtoTX

    GOOOOOOOOOOO! Big 12! Sigh...

  • Mickc

    So very glad the pain is over...

    • William

      FIRE BOB "I DIDN'T FIX IT" HIGGINS What an embarrassment he is to WVU and fans!