FORT WORTH, Texas — West Virginia asked the Big 12 for basketball scheduling benevolence and this weekend the Mountaineers receive their dispensation. Granted a two-game, three-day road junket before the start of second-semester classes, WVU will save some sky miles when it opens conference play against TCU and Texas Tech.

“It saves us a trip,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “Saves us a couple nights’ sleep.”

WVU won by double-figures in Fort Worth and Lubbock last season. Thing is, West Virginia hasn’t won a true road game since, dropping six straight. That includes two losses this season at Virginia Tech and Missouri.

Have the Mountaineers learned anything from those setbacks, or at least figured out how to maintain their poise during times when games are slipping away?

“We just didn’t sustain anything,” Huggins said. “You’ve got to play for 40 minutes. You can’t take plays off. You can’t get ahead and take shots you wouldn’t take in a close game or be careless with the ball. Hopefully we’re getting better at that. You don’t want to give up runs like we gave up.”

SCOUTING TCU

Tipoff: Saturday 4 p.m. in Fort Worth (Big 12 Network)

Records: Riding a five-game winning streak, the Horned Frogs (9-3) are 5-1 at home, but that loss was a doozy—82-79 to not-so-mighty Longwood (308th in the RPI). West Virginia is 8-5 and has been off since last Sunday’s romp over William & Mary.

RPIs: TCU is No. 161 and WVU is No. 110.

Coach: Trent Johnson stands 20-24 in his second season at TCU. His 15-year career mark is 246-210, including successful rebuilding jobs at Nevada, Stanford and LSU.

TCU top players: Point guard Kyan Anderson plays a team-high 32 minutes per game and averages 16.5 points and 5.2 assists. He has scored 27, 25 and 21 points in his last three outings. … Forward Amric Fields suffered a severe knee injury only three games into last season, requiring a rehab that kept him out of the first three games this season as well. The 6-9 junior also missed four games in December after breaking his hand, but returned for a 17-point, 12-rebound effort in TCU’s 77-64 win over Texas Southern last week. He combines with 6-10 Karviar Shepherd (8.2 points and 7.1 rebounds) to give the Frogs more interior presence than a year ago. “When you put two 6-9 guys on the back line of a 2-3 zone, there’s not near as much room,” Huggins said. “They both make a big difference.”

WVU roster notes: While the Mountaineers rank 30th nationally in 3-point accuracy (39.6 percent), they haven’t figured out a Plan B when the perimeter shots don’t fall. “We can shoot now, we can spread defenses out,” said freshman Nathan Adrian. “But if we aren’t making our 3s we need to figure out other ways to score.” … Eron Harris (18.3 points, 44.7 percent 3-point shooter) and Juwan Staten (16.3 points, 49 percent field-goal shooter) need more help from Terry Henderson, Devin Williams and Remi Dibo. … West Virginia swept the season series last year, winning 63-50 in Fort Worth.

Line: WVU favored by 5 1/2.

Prediction: West Virginia 72-70

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Comments

  • Jevene Bowling

    What is the RPI & how is it calculated. I understand a similar formula will be used by the football committee next year for the final four selection.

    I'm guessing that RPI is an acronym for something since "acronymnese" is the language of the USA today.

    thank you Mr. Taylor for your WVU sports articles.

  • madhatter

    pardon me , but huggs is the one who dismantled this team and recruited misfits... call a spade a spade,,, last yr, he said he would fix it,, this yr he said he would fix it,,,,at $10,000 a day, what's the hurry?
    to my regret, we are nothing near the Beilein era, we have no chemistry, people like Hines left the program, Dalton Pepper didn't like Huggs..etc.
    Huggs will take this program to a new low this yr... no question..we are just too small, and can't rebound..
    definitely the next two games are absolute must wins,,, these two games will determine the rest of t he season. Huggins just doesn't seem to have the desire or drive to win like the good ole days at Cinn.

  • Mike in Teays Valley

    WVU New Years Resolutions:

    1. Sweep TCU and TT on the road
    2. Come home to a fired up, (and jam packed!) home crowd and knock off a banged up Oklahoma State squad.
    3. Follow up with another great crowd on Monday for another win against Texas.
    We are all of a sudden 12 & 5 and getting some national attention.

    Still a long shot for the NCAA's but this kind of run would at least assure some post season tourney experience.

    Go Mountaineers!

  • GFS

    Allan, I may have missed it. Has there been any NCAA ruling on Holton? Thanks

  • JT

    The disaster of two back to back recruiting classes has put WVU basketball where it is today. You can't fix that in one season especially with the youth we have all across the roster. Is this team headed in the right direction? I say yes and it takes more than 13 games for a team to get the chemistry needed to acomplish their goals. Do I say we are where we need to be? No. Are we headed in the right direction? Yes.

  • Benthere

    Must win....end of story.

  • Rich

    I hate to put pressure on a team trying to establish themselves but in my opinion these two games are must wins. There just isn't a lot of easy wins in the Big 12 this year, especially on the road. At 8-5 WV has win at least 8 conference games otherwise we are looking at consecutive losing seasons. Two road wins gives this team some momentum they will need going forward

  • TCeer

    Give Huggs a break. He is a great coach, and he cares about WVU. He is righting the ship, it just takes time. Another decent recruiting class or two and he will have it. More and more the kids are buying in to his methodology and that will prove dividends very soon.

    • madhatter

      face it my friend, he was a great coach , now he's just riding it out , collecting an unearned pay check and laughing at wvu and oliver luck

  • BAW1911

    I am really bummed about the current state of WVU's Athletic Department especially the Men's Basketball program.
    I read comments all the time about how Bob Huggins is a "Hall of Fame Coach" and that he has over 700 wins. How this team is young and they are getting better. But let me ask a question. Why has this program sunk to this depth? Why is it that for the third year in a row this "Hall of Fame" Coach has a Sub-Par team?

    • Greg

      Why is blue-blood UNC inconsistent? Because things out of coaches' control happen. Injuries, grades, numbskull players getting arrested in the off season, players egos and not buying in. Unfortunately, only a dozen players are available to a coach. Sometimes he just has make the best out of what he's got to work with. It happens to "Deputy Dog" Roy Williams, Coach K, and all the rest too. What's wrong with Michigan this year? Beilein is still the same coach he's always been. Why do they suck?

    • Steve

      Do you count the team that went to the NCAA tourney 2 years ago as subpar?

      I wouldn't cast judgement on this team yet until they get halfway through their big 12 slate.

      • Moe

        I think that was 3 years ago. You mean halfway through their big 12 slate, we can then cast judgment?