Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech’s Dejan Kravic (11) puts back the winning basket with 0.4 seconds left against West Virginia during the first round of the Big 12 tournament last March.

 

LUBBOCK, Texas — The rosters have been retooled since March, and Texas Tech even traded its interim coach for one with 519 victories, yet there is emotional carryover from the Red Raiders’ 71-69 win that bounced West Virginia on opening night of the Big 12 tournament.

Because not all the faces have changed.

As West Virginia point guard Juwan Staten reminded us: “We still have five returners who know what it felt like to have our season ended.”

And the guy who essentially ended it that night in Kansas City is back for Texas Tech. Forward Dejan Kravic made the last-second tip-in off a missed 3-pointer, going to the rim unimpeded by WVU’s trio of Aaric Murray, Jabarie Hinds and Dominique Rutledge.

Whereas West Virginia’s season ended at 13-19, Texas Tech lived another day only to lose to Kansas by 28. After the 11-20 finish, interim head coach Chris Walker was replaced by Tubby Smith—a hire that could give the program the kind of juice that Bobby Knight provided in 2001 (without the theatrics and nepotism).

While the 62-year-old Smith won’t make the Red Raiders relevant overnight, he already has provided a stabilizing influence. His team erased a 20-point deficit before succumbing to unbeaten Iowa State on Saturday, continuing a trend that parallels WVU: beating the bad teams, falling short against the good ones.

“We’ve got to get kids believing,” Smith said.

He readily identified the key to Monday night’s matchup inside the 15,098-seat United Spirit Arena.

“We need to get the ball inside, something we didn’t do a good job of (against Iowa State),” Smith told the Lubbock Avalanche Journal. “That’s the strength of our team. When we don’t do that, we’re going to get beat.”

West Virginia won 77-61 in Lubbock last year. This season the teams have faced and beaten one common opponent, Mount Saint Mary’s. The Mountaineers won 77-62 and Texas Tech cruised 100-69

SCOUTING TEXAS TECH
Tipoff: Monday, 7 p.m. in Lubbock, Texas (Big 12 Network)
Records: The Red Raiders (8-6, 0-1) are 7-2 at home, including a 73-62 loss to No. 13 Iowa State on Saturday. West Virginia (9-5, 1-0) defeated TCU 74-69 that afternoon.
RPIs: Texas Tech is No. 142 and WVU is No. 77.
Coach: Tubby Smith is aiming to rejuvenate Tech’s program after a six-year stint at Minnesota produced a 124-81 record, three NCAA bids and two NITs—yet wasn’t satisfactory to the Gophers administration. Smith owns an overall mark of 519-232 in 23 seasons, which includes 17 NCAA berths, nine Sweet 16s, three Elite Eights and the 1998 national title at Kentucky.
Texas Tech top players: Jaye Crockett (14 points, 4.4 rebounds, 59-percent shooter) and Jordan Tolbert 12.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 60-percent shooter) are interchangeable 6-foot-7 forwards. Both attempt only the occasional 3-pointer, just enough to keep defenders honest. Crockett produced his second double-double of the season (20 points, 11 rebounds) in the loss to Iowa State. In three meetings against WVU last season, he averaged 16.3 points and 6.3 rebounds. Tolbert was an efficient 13-of-21 from the floor in those three games. … Dusty Hannahs, whose name seemingly destined him to play his college ball in the Lone Star State, sank 4-of-8 from 3-point range in Morgantown last season.
WVU roster notes: The Mountaineers shot only 40 percent from the floor at TCU and allowed the Frogs to make 47 percent—both totals were the worst in a WVU victory this season. Huggins was primarily concerned about the defensive field-goal percentage, saying “That’s too good to continue to beat good teams consistently.” … Eron Harris scored 22 points in Fort Worth—coming off the bench after a weeklong battle with the flu limited his practice time—and leads the Big 12 at 18.6 per game. “He’s a guy who fill it up,” Smith said. … Juwan Staten ranks seventh in the league in scoring at 16.2, and he’s now second in assists at 6.07, narrowly behind Iowa State’s DeAndre Kane. … Devin Williams stands fifth in rebounding at 7.8. … WVU was still awaiting word on the possibility of transfer forward Jonathan Holton making his debut, but that appears to be a longshot for Monday night.
Line: West Virginia favored by 1.
Prediction: WVU 67-66
bubble graphic

53

bubble graphic

Comments

  • TIRED OF BS

    you know what madhatter and brian, in two years when we are playing to go to the elite 8, or the final four, what are you numbnuts going to say about Huggins then. you damn fair weather fans can go take a hike somewhere

  • 5toldU1s

    Hey Brian, if you or the others ever had anything good to say about the team, we might be less inclined to call you haters. Huggins fair to good and were better? Nothing wrong with some criticisms, but it's unrelenting and when you say you'll check in when we're better, you're only showing us that you are strictly a fair weather fan. I noticed you are still following the team but I guess the TCU win was the straw that broke the camel's back, so sayanara my friend and see ya when all our coaches meet your satisfaction-I hope Luck makes sure to call you to run any potential coaching hires by you first!

    • madhatter

      it's 7 oclock, you're bedtime

      • Mister Man

        He is not bedtime.

  • john b

    Anything less than NIT would be unacceptable. Team has some talent and they are playing better than last year. Would be nice to win a big game (T Tech doesn't qualify as one) this year and at least have a better than 500 record.

  • madhatter

    i am a huge wvu fan, but i will not accept mediocrity,,, if you want to,, that's fine, if you want to drink bob huggin's kool=aid, so be it....

    over the last three yrs and half, we have rapidly gone down hill.. and this is with a HOF head coach...do i think he's lost something, you bet ya...he certainly isn't no john wooden, cause he isn't getting better with age,,,
    mediocrity,,,, wvu is absolutely too good of a school to accept it, and i will hold Huggins Luck and Holgie responsible

    • stevewvu

      3 years ago wvu lost in the second round of the NCAA tourney to Kentucky...while I hate losing like anyone else. I wouldn't necessary call that a bad loss when you are 8 points away from a sweet 16.

      Bob Huggins has been here for 6 full seasons and only 1 team did not make it to the NCAA tourney.

      Get over yourself and go back to the Marshall boards.

  • Wvu forever

    Some of you should go back to marshal territory. Or just not comment because for one you really shouldn't comment on a kid if you can't even spell his name right. Win or loose i will always be a WVU fan! let's go mountaineers!

  • OKANYDAY

    Hey, let all of us wait until after the game tonight to start making comments about conference wins and losses. Some of you want to throw in a loss against TTU before the game is even played. GO WVU !!!!!

  • madhatter

    we must improve our recruiting,,, we can't recruit non qualifiers,,,, ex.. holton, mason... holton is a felon, and mason will probably never play on min. for wvu.

    now tonight , if we lose,, it will be cause our players, didn't practice well, didn't listen, didn't make easy baskets, etc... and it wasn't because our staff didn't have them ready to play or that the team wastn' coached up,,,
    we're young, blah blah blah.

  • shawn

    I just wish alot of you would quit following WVU. If all you do is bash and degrade the teams then stop watching and move on with you lives. If you think WVU is going to find anybody better than what we have at coach then you're mistaken. Huggs is a great coach and he's decided to rebuild his team so that they can get back to winning. We have two kids sitting on the bench (their own fault) that could be contributing in a huge way. If they were playing then this team is 4 wins better.

    • madhatter

      shawn, what i hear you saying, is now, we must accept mediocrity, and be satisfied with 13 wins a season, and no post season play.

      well, we did better in the big east, when beilein was building this team, now, huggs is destroying it,,,, so 13 wins should about do it, and you're fine with that cause we'll never get a better coach than huggs

      • Shawn

        No...what i'm saying is you need to be patient and understand that we have 2 FR, 2 Jr., 2 Soph. playing the majority of the games.

    • Barry

      If we can't get a coach that can do better than the bottom of the Big 12 then we should just join The American Athletic Conference.

      I remember having a 19 win season and hearing things like, "We have two kids sitting on the bench (their own fault) that could be contributing in a huge way. If they were playing then this team is 4 wins better.", but the next year we won 13 games.

      Now I will tell you what I wish. I wish WVU would get a coach with some character who recruited players with some character (not felons). Players that the residents of West Virginia wanted to root for.

      • shawn

        Williams, Staten, Harris, Henderson, Noreen, Browne, Watkins, Macon, etc. Which one to you is a thug or felon? Holton is the only one who has a dicey past.

        Huggs gets the kids who want to come to WVU. You're not going to get the same talent that Duke, Kentucky and Kansas get. Its just not going to happen. It doesnt matter who you have as coach.

        I wish we had some fans who had character. Thats your problem, you only follow the team when their at the top because you truly dont understand the game. You're a fair weather fan who shows up for big games. I graduated from there and dismissed several ppl just like you.

        • Barry

          I do like most of the players on this team. So I guess that I shouldn't have said they don't have character.

          That being said Holton should not have been recruited. WVU is too good to be recruiting felons.

          And Bob Huggins has no character and I can't wait until his retirement.

          • stevewvu

            hey barry if you don't the coach or the team then don't watch and don't comment

            go back to being the no good marshall troll that you are

        • madhatter

          but huggs is a HOF coach,, he's won over 700 games,, he's got the great great practice facility,,,,,wha'ts the problem

          • Troll

            There isn't a problem, they play games, they win some and lose some. The only problem is from the dillusional fan base that wants them to win every single game ( a small portion of true WVU fans mostly imposters on these post) every single year. Relax and enjoy, you will feel a lot better.

        • Troll

          Go get 'em Shawn! Most don't have a clue what's really going on.

          • Stan

            I mean losses, not loses. I had to correct that before "the editor" got to it.

          • Stan

            I agree with you Troll, people just need to relax and watch the games and enjoy them. The loses in no way hurt us fans as much as they hurt the players and coaches. No one wants to win as much as them. I enjoy watching basketball now, way more than I did in the Catlett era. Heck this team's BPI rank is 40 right now. That's pretty decent for a young team. Just sit back, relax, and let the coaches coach and the players play.

      • georgio

        Huggs record speaks for itself. Enough said.

  • justin

    well i have forgotten all of last year bball

  • polarbear

    Brian I'll be watching the UT game in Morgantown. It’s hard to listen to someone analyze a team that can’t even read the schedule

    • Barry

      I think Brian said TTU is at home. That means their home not ours.

    • Joe

      Oh snap!

  • Brian

    I agree with the Hatter - and I suppose in today's idiotic culture a Realist is considered a "hater", ........so be it.

    Huggs was great once - no so much anymore (I'll still give him "ok" to even "good" - but you folks that follow him around with a pooper-scooper really need to get a grip!!).
    A few things to keep in mind: 1) TTU is a HOME; 2) We are a little better - but I'm guessing TTU is as well; 3) They just lost a hard fought game to the conference leader so they'll either be extremely pumped or lay an egg, and I'm betting the former!

    After we lose to Ok St. that puts us at 1-2 in the conference, and 9-7 overall, AND having to fly to Austin two days later to face a much better Texas team at there place (....and ya think they won't have some revenge on their minds as well after last years games??).
    We could easily be stearing at 9-8 (1-3) with the real "meat" of the schedule coming up (two games remaining against Baylor, ISU, and Kansas to name a few). Wow...., and some of you think we still can make the dance? Even the NIT?
    Good luck with that. I'm just going to tell myself this the "Dark Ages" of WVU sports and I'll check back when we get coaches that can at least put us in the middle of the conference some day.

    • The Editor

      Corrections...
      1. "Huggs was great once - no so much anymore". Should be..."not so much anymore".
      2. "TTU is a HOME". Corrected - "TTU is at home". Also, no caps needed.
      3. "We could easily be stearing at 9-8". Corrected - "staring".
      4. "I'm just going to tell myself this the "Dark Ages" of WVU sports". Corrected - "this is the".

      Comments are taken more seriously when grammar is correct.

    • The Hunter.

      It is a young team I am not giving up lie you are. They will get better we have really really good players that will only get better.

      • The Editor

        Corrections:
        1. " lie you are". Corrected - "like you are".
        2. "They will get better we have". Corrected - "when we have".

        Comments are taken more seriously when grammar is correct.

  • John

    Team is much better this year than last. Whether they win or lose, at least they have a chance to make shots and keep the game entertaining. Last year's group was simply unwatchable. Not expecting a miracle turnaround but a NIT bid is not out of the question.

    • Captain Obvious

      Of course they're better than last year's dysfunctional group which Martinsburg High could have beaten.

      Problem is, we're nowhere near where we want to be which is a consistent tournament team who makes a nice run every few years.

      I do see light at the end of the tunnel next year but it's gonna be a cold 2014 Winter.

      • The Hunter.

        You have to give them time to start playing like a team. You have 2 freshmen and 2 sophomore's on the team.

        I like what I see so far. Will they be a NCAA tourney team this year probably not. But by the end of the year they will turn some heads.

        • The Editor

          Corrections:
          1. "Will they be a NCAA tourney team this year probably not." Corrected - "Will they be an NCAA tourney team this year? Probably not but by the end of the year they will turn some heads."

          Comments are taken more seriously when grammar is correct.

  • madhatter

    i sense that we are going to get beaten by ttu.

    and the downward spiral begins, and huggins tells us he'll fix it and we're really young, and it wasnt' my fault he ran Hines and company off, and it wasn't his fault he recruited players who for what ever reason, felons, grades, won't play and may never play, but it's not his money for the scholarships so what's the big deal... and he pokes it to the tax payers of wv and laugh inthe face of wvu students and administraters.

    • Carson Zickefoose

      One thing. The tax payers of West Virginia are not "on the hook" for one dime of any coach of any sport in our Athletic Department, because, unlike MARSHALL and over 90% of the Ath.Depts. in America, are completely self-sufficient. We do not receive any taxpayer funding. That is a fairly important point. I believe the NIT is a reasonable expectation. We will have a much better view of our BB program's future by how we play down the stretch. Your supposition we would lose to TT was wrong. We need to beat every sub-par team on our schedule and win a couple we shouldn't. This team is very likeable and fun to watch. And to label them felons is just nasty, hateful, and most importantly, completely untrue. Cars.

    • The Editor

      Corrections:
      Too much to correct but take these suggestions into consideration...
      1. Capitalize where appropriate - such as "I", the next first word following the last sentence, run on sentences do not follow basic grammar structure, and the second (and last) paragraph is an attempt at one sentence. Break your sentences and thus your thoughts down into readable segments.

      Comments are taken more seriously when grammar is correct.

    • The Hunter.

      Let's face it WVU is not a school that players want to come to. Ya we got lucky in the past but it takes time to build a team.

      • GoEers

        5 ncaa tournaments in 6 years is lucky?

        where do people like you come from?

    • justin

      mad hater you stink so bad

    • DWM

      MH you make such good points, why would we want a Hall of Fame coach that loves the state, would never leave, and represents us in the best light? Let's go out and hire a nobody that learned how to spell basketball yesterday to drive a good program into the ground.

      That's just what we need.

      If you can't see the talent with this team, there is no help for you.

      • don

        DWM you are absolutely right, anybody that can't see the talent & potential in this group doesn't need to be talking basketball. They are steadily improving & will soon be a force to be reckoned with.

      • madhatter

        the supposed hall of fame status would be earned from times past,,,, examine our last 3 and half yrs under huggins... would you consider this hall of fame status or fall of fame status?
        Let's be realistic here, examine the facts, where's our trend headed..
        No, i want him on top of his game, i want him to have an edge, a burning desire to win,,, i don't want lip service to salvage a 10,000 dollar a day contract.
        i want results, NOW, i'm tired of this downward spiral

        • stevewvu

          if you're tired of this so called downward spiral then go back to rooting for your favorite team marshall...this board can easily smell an ugly troll like you

          since you are a MU fan, (you are probably big larry), why is marshall's bball team so pathetic? Why are they still playing in the most pathetic conference in the country?

  • Uncle SAM

    What's the GPA comparison between the teams-- and then list the Major's of each player and comparable GPA between these student athletes and the student body.....

    • Troll

      GPA has nothing to do with ball skills, who cares if they even go to class as long as they can play ball. The NCAA and the colleges take advantage of these young men to make millions upon millions of dollars and then the NCAA uses their so called guide lines ie GPA rules when they want to ensure the schools they love stay at the top. It's time to get real and use these young men for what they really are, farm teams for pro basketball and football.

      • Uncle SAM

        ... and remove them from college campus? OK, I'll go for that.

        • Troll

          No you can't remove them from campus, it's a small trade out, a little tuition for millions of dollars to the school. I for one don't think they should be required to keep a certain GPA or even have to attend classes as long as they are playing. If they want an education fine attend school, if you just want to play that's fine also. If you don't get educated or make it to the pros, well then let Uncle Sam take care of them.

    • Joe

      Uncle Sam....why didn't I get my Christmas card with the McDonalds gift card in it this year?!

      • Uncle SAM

        Thou Shalt eat Fast Food,, except Taco Bell Comprende?

    • Hop'sHip

      First, crazy uncle, you have to give us your IQ and show us your birth certificate.

      • Uncle SAM

        No can do. It's a matter of National Security and it's quite apparent you "Haven't The Need To Know"--- about anything.