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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  • tony

    if someone came from outer space to read this, youd think we were rutgers in the 70s-80s-90s. one year, folks.
    i hope our players dont have the same mental fragility demonstrated by some on here.
    you can tell some of them have never been under real pressure in their lives...yes..we, us, WVU will return...despite the seeming wishes of some of you....we will return.

  • big tom

    and btw, we have the wrong type players,,, give me a break, if you buy this one, you'll love the reat of the kool-aid.

    a good bb player is a good player,, let them adapt to our style, if we have a group of good players, we can play anywhere anytime...
    i can't believe huggins is trying to pass this on to us
    and if he is correct, what about this falls recruiting class, are they all the wrong people?,, i would think so, right, so do we send them packing before we get them enrolled? right on....
    huggins , we love you, but we see thru this, we know you are grasping at straws,,, i thought it was great when we got you, now, not so sure...

  • j

    Devin Ebanks, Kevin Jones, Truck Bryant. All starters on Final 4 team. All recruited by Huggins. Anyone who says he won with Belien recruits wish to reevaluate their statements? Get real idiots. Huggins is a great coach. Down season. Get over it

    • cutty77

      Reevaluate this/Dump Truck Bryant,got hurt before the final four run.There is 12 men on a team most times.Huggs 2 players Belien the rest.Huggs use to be a Great Coach.3 straight down seasons,and next year will not be any different.Good thing we are in The Big 12,if we were still in The Big East we might not won a Game.Oh i forgot he recruited players for The Big East. This Team couldn't win The West Virginia Conference.

  • cutty77

    Huggs took Beilen players who were smart,and could shoot,then he made them tuff,and taught them how to play defense.Now he has brought in Dumb players,that can't shoot.Bottom line is you can't make a Dumb Player SMART,let alone try to teach them to shoot.Dumb goes all the way to the Bone.

  • Hoffy

    What a disappointing and lousy season. No sense in rehashing the same old themes we've been commenting on; we've all made our points, or at least tried to.
    It will be interesting to see what changes are made between now and the beginning of next season. I hope they are beneficial, and that WVU will have a more competitive team we can be proud of.
    I'm no fair-weather fan; I recall some tougher times and lousier teams, and I still cheered for their success. Don't like having to take the bad with the good, but sometimes that's just the way it is as a fan. (Hell, I must be a glutton for punishment, for I still cheer for my Pittsburgh Pirates!)
    And at the end, I don't get to wrapped around the axles with this stuff, because its only sports and entertainment, which is supposed to be a diversion of sorts from the other less pleasurable and mundane aspects of life.
    Just hope I don't have another diversion like this past season!
    Go Mountaineers!

  • John James

    Huggs will win the Big 12 Basketball championship in 2014. He will have a 16-2 record before the tournament in the Big 12. His record will be 25 wins and 6 losses prior to the tournament which the Mountaineers will win and be a number 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.

  • wenkev

    Ok. All you idiots and whiners out there calling for Luck to fire Huggins, what is your solution? Who should WVU get? Brad Stevens from Butler? Shaka Smart from VCU? Yeah I am sure they would want to leave Indianapolis or Richmond for Morgantown. I mean, who wouldn't with all the great supporters like Big Tom, William, Big Larry and the others who would throw them under the bus the first time they had it rough or if they gained weight or God forbid, they wore anything that didn't meet approval. Hey, I got it! Why don't you guys leave and not come back?

  • Jethro


  • TBone

    Oliver Luck fired the football coach and offensive staff for 3 straight 9-4 seasons. The reasoning, according to Oliver Luck, was that he did not feel that coaching staff could have the football team compete at a natioanl level or compete for a national championship.
    Since the Fial Four year with John Beilein recruits, Huggs has season records of 21-12, 19-14, and 13-19. His teams are steadily getting worse. Huggs teams will not compete at a national level. Heck the cannot even compete on the conference level.
    If Oliver Luck is going to be consistent, then he has no choice but to fire Huggs or let him retire. If Luck does nothing, his credibility takes a huge hit in WV and nationally.
    Memo to Ollie: FIRE HUGGINS !!!!!!

    • Jay

      Sorry to disappoint you, but Oliver Luck would wad that memo up and throw it immediately in the trash. HE'S NOT GOING TO FIRE A HALL OF FAME COACH, particularly for one bad season which followed five consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament while playing in arguably the nation's best basketball conference. Those five trips to the NCAA tournament included a Final Four and a Sweet Sixteen. One of those years brought a Big East tournament championship. Think about that for a minute and then ask yourself some serious questions about your sanity!

      The idea of Bob Huggins being fired is ridiculous!

      • big tom

        oliver luck is a very smart man, he notices the trend, the clock is ticking for huggins,, the set is getting hotter and hotter.

  • 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.