MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Baylor’s best defender blocked seven shots. West Virginia’s best shot-blocker played 40 seconds.

That was among an assortment of factors behind how visiting Baylor owned the paint and trampled West Virginia 88-75 on Saturday in a game both desperately needed to capture.

BOXSCORE: Baylor 88, West Virginia 75

A short-handed Mountaineers team became even shorter-handed when Bob Huggins inserted Brandon Watkins at the 9:59 mark of the first half and promptly yanked him out at the 9:11 mark, never to return. Now, the 6-foot-9 Watkins (with a modest 23 blocks this season) scarcely compares to Baylor’s 7-footer Isaiah Austin (who has 86); yet Watkins is the only West Virginia player with even a semblance of rim-protecting presence.

So throughout the rest of the afternoon, when Austin backed down and spun around the helpless Remi Dibo—or some other Baylor player laid in one of the 14 subsequent up-close baskets (yes, we counted)—you gleaned that Huggins must have pretty doggone peeved to keep Watkins benched.

Peeved, indeed.

“I am not going to continually tell guys for four days of practice what the (opposing) guy’s going to do, and then have them trot they’re happy you-know-whats out there and let him do it,” said Huggins. “I’m just tired of it. I’m tired of it.”

With Watkins’ you-know-what in the game, West Virginia stood a far better chance of beating Baylor in front of the Coliseum’s second-largest crowd this season (11,843). But that notion only held if Watkins could follow the scouting report, and Huggins clearly didn’t see enough follow-through during the freshman’s brief cameo.

With each game’s impact heightened by the quest to accumulate NCAA cache, Huggins could have cut the freshman a break and left him on the floor—especially with WVU dressing only seven other scholarship players. But stubbornness has been a generally positive Huggins trademark through 738 wins, something the coach was happy to recount during the postgame Q&A session. (Cue the yesteryear Cincy stories of Corie Blount being benched at Arizona and Terry Nelson sitting for three games after deeming film study pointless.)

Huggins seemingly greets each current dilemma with parables of past players overcoming theirs, and Watkins—by all accounts a gracious kid—would do well to grasp the long-term lesson his coach now seeks to impart. So too should some of Watkins’ teammates, several of whom were in the purview of Huggins’ fiery gaze as Saturday’s loss unfolded. The unit that took the floor certainly didn’t play as though it had devoted the week to preparing for Baylor.

“We had a week,” Huggins groused. “They’ve all got iPads with all the breakdowns, breakdowns of the people they’re going to guard. I’m not sure what they did—maybe played ‘Spider’ on the iPad, I don’t know—but they sure as hell didn’t watch the tape.”

Like many successful coaches, Huggins detests losing far more than he enjoys winning, and his current team carries too many losses (and wields too much inconsistency) to warrant serious NCAA consideration at this juncture. Deemed an overachieving bunch some days and chastised for lacking commitment on others, these Mountaineers aren’t talented or seasoned enough to survive performances like the one Baylor exploited. (And for a change, Scott Drew enjoyed a reprieve of someone else’s team being the more exasperating.)

Austin and Cory Jefferson combined for 34 points on 27 shots, a hefty spike from the paltry eight points on 12 shots they contributed when Baylor lost the first meeting on Jan. 28. The Bears, floundering then, have regained their moxie and left Morgantown with an RPI of 38. That’s a number too good for the selection panel to ignore.

And you would assume the same can be said about the info on those West Virginia iPads.

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Comments

  • Brett

    Wow. All you guys amaze me. Has anyone here ever coached anything? It is the most frustrating thing to tell a kid over and over what to do and they go out and act like they never have played the game before. Those who say these are just kids!!! No they are the elite of the elite. Most have gotten by on pure talent till now. They need to be taught how to play and win. If they don't listen at this level (where they want to be and chose to be), then they need punished. If they can't handle it then go play D2 ball

    • Aaron

      You've hit the nail squarely on the head. EVERY player on that team was the BEST player on their previous teams and as such, are not used to adversary. As much as recruiting can delve into the backgrounds of young men and women, the one thing it cannot do is predict how still maturing young individual will react to adversary.

      I watched Watkins entrance into the game yesterday after his minute of playing time and his return to the bench, commented to my son, “I wonder what’s up with him, he didn’t seem all there” to which he replied “Maybe he has what Henderson has.”

      I don’t know what the issues are but I have a feeling that if Huggins were bullying or berating the young man in a negative way as many of the Huggins obsessed sideline coaches insinuate on these boards, Huggs old running mate, Mountaineer Hall of Famer and Brandon’s uncle, Warren Baker (who was at the game yesterday and recognized at halftime) would have a thing or two to say about the situation.

      • Mike

        Huggins is the that can't handle adversity. Except to scream and holler and throw his players under the bus.

        • mad hatter

          agreed,,, huggins's career is fading , he doesn't put in the time recruiting, he leaves the coaching to assist... he draws 10,000 per day,,, yes THAT'S PER DAY, HE SCREAMS AT HIS PLAYERS, HE DEMEANS THEM IN POST GAME PRESS CONF.... AND HE EXPECTS THEM TO HONOR AND OBEY... SAD.

          • Aaron

            This from a guy who spends his time calling 20 year old student athletes bums and who is clearly obsessed with a 60 year old man.

            Problems?

      • Aaron

        How do you conclude that Huggins cannot deal with adversary?

      • Barry

        Aaron, you are obsessed with defending Bob Huggins. I am concerned with this obsession.

        • Aaron

          No, Barry, My problem is is I just really cannot abide with stupidity. I know I should ignore the ignorant comments that have no foundation or basis of logic or reason but at times, I can't. It's a curse

  • William

    Fact - "Sweatsuit" Huggins is an embarrassment to the FANS and the state of West Virginia
    Fact - This guy is a terrible coach for so many reasons!
    How can anyone call this guy a good coach?
    He is living in the past, he talks about the past all the time

    • Aaron

      Despite your facts, you seem fixated on his attire.

      That's creepy man.

    • Aquarius

      I googled jackass and your name came up!!! What's up with that?

    • richard

      you are just pure stupid William. I get so tired of what you say. I know I and others should ignore you, but I just can't do it. so you win that battle. but I would love to play you a game of whoop a--. maybe on the court. see how good you are at something you seem to have so much knowledge about. I'm glad you are an expert when it comes to coaching.

      • Jason

        Dude, relax. You cannot take that guy serious. I think he works for the metro news or something, he is not a Marshall fan either, pretty sure he posts negative stuff on MU articles as well. He just wants to come on the MU and WVU pages and just stir controversy, because it keeps people coming on and reading/responding. Maybe he gets like 10 cents per page click or something on the sports pages.

        • william

          25 cents, get it right

        • H R Puffenstuff

          William is the infamous Herd91 who posted his nonsense on the Charleston Gazette forum all the time. That is until you had to have a Facebook account to post. He either couldn't figure out to sign up for one or didn't have any friends and they kicked him off. He's got about a dozen different screen names he uses so it wouldn't surprise me if he posted on the Moo articles too.

          • GoEers

            Yep...he's one of the biggest most jealous trolls around

  • HappyMountie

    You know what, here we go again. Huggin's after-game broadcast rants criticizing and publicly chastising his players last year was wrong IMHO but at least a more justified than this team. This team who is night and day different in terms of desire......Huggins even says so over and over in interviews....does not deserve the public dress down that Huggins provided the state of West Virginia (the few who can hear it on the IMG network of second-tier stations). I was so angry driving home and listening to him that people in traffic probably thought I was crazy yelling back at the radio. Great move benching Watkins and teaching him a lesson. That'll teach him, plus he gains so much experience for the next game or season by sitting there on the bench doesn't he? Anyway, enough is enough. Everyone here is right, the coliseum atmosphere sucks, it just doesn't feel like a power program, you just don't get that impression, more like the door mat of the Big 12. No respect, no interest. Meanwhile all the schools that we used to parallel WVU to are riding high in their programs (Pitt, Tech, MD, Syracuse, Louisville, Cincinnati) while we languish in the Big 12 where no one pays any attention.

    Now we all know that Luck is an empty suit and is never going to address any of these issues but it sure would be reassuring for someone to report that President Gee called Huggins last night and told him point blank "if I ever hear you on public media disparaging our WVU players like I did yesterday, we're going to tear up your contract and let you go be Kenyon Martin's bag boy.......then you can live in the past every day and be happy."

    • Aaron

      What did you think of the pre-game and half time ceremonies?

    • mad hatter

      i couldn't have said it better myself,,
      this coach always blames someone else for our shortcomings,,, it's always the players, always,,,
      this is a closed door matter booby, keep your mouth shut and quit trying to justify your high salary by demeaning the players,,No wonder so many leave this program every yr.
      you're just an unhappy person, your name means very little anymore and you can't recruit the big names anymore,,, the game has past you by

    • Barry

      Great comment HappyMountie, I totally agree. I can't stand for the players to get thrown under the bus. To me, that is the unforgivable sin. These young men came here from thier homes and get treated the way they do. It just isn't right. I don't care how many games he has won, the University should not allow this to happen any more. Bob Huggins is classless, pure and simple.

      • Aaron

        I thought blasphemy was the only unforgivable sin.

    • GoEers

      Wow happy Mountie spoken like a true Marshall fan...you made some of the most absurd statements I have ever read....especially about the Big 12.

      Maybe you are transferring your frustration with Marshall's irrelevant athletic programs and irrelevant conference.

      Thanks for watching WVU games. The high tv ratings WVU receives is one of the main reasons the Big 12 selected them, but then again you commented that no one cares about the Big 12. Yeah you're right...no one cares about Texas or Oklahoma, or no one cares about the #1 rated RPI conference in the country. It's that jealousy and envy that made you post those uneducated comments.

  • William

    I'M LOVIN' IT
    I'M LOVIN' IT
    and yes,
    I'M LOVIN' IT IN A BIG WAY!

    • Aquarius

      Hey rainman, how goes it? Judge wapner, underwear at Kmart...and now bob Huggins...

  • William

    What a piece of work "Sweatsuit" Huggins is!
    As long this terrible guy is head coach at WVU, I hope they lose every game.
    Beat the *ell out of WVU.
    And yes,
    I'M LOVIN' IT

  • mark

    Amazing. You're going to potentially cost your team a spot in the NCAA's to prove a point and keep your 6-9 guy on the bench? That is sorely lacking in wisdom. Henderson averages 12 pts. We lost by 13. Still can't figure out why we didn't go zone or at least double team the Baylor bigs. We stuck to the man-man and played directly into their strength.

  • wvrefugee

    My take was the Coliseum was DEAD yesterday!! Students were asleep, the re-seating plan has lead to fans that don't have a vested interest in WVU! I've never seen a more "pro-like" atmosphere there than yesterday! Luck has all but destroyed our Home Court advantage in Basketball AND Football! Yeah the kids didn't play well, Huggins is a pudd, BUT the overall environment yesterday was one of leisure and money! Even my buddy from Baylor commented on how dead it seemed! He's a WV native btw!

    • Aaron

      What do you mean by the re-seating play, fans don't have a vested interest?

    • GoEers

      I was there...we're you wv refugee aka Marshall troll...it was a great atmosphere...glad a loser like you wasn't there

  • Woodchuck

    WVU women won and finished 2nd in the Big 12.

  • squad

    Assume assume. What if he played and we lost by 30?. You might not like it but we know who runs the show..nit to b e a better deal for us

  • nashville cat

    dibo hasn't a clue when it comes to def. never has nor will he... he thinks he's a glorified gunner, and that's it.. another huggins flukie,,,
    bob , you;re such a great recruiter... sad, each game you make the like go dimmer.

  • tw eagle

    so coach Huggins is willing to throw a game away to make a point with a freshman ball player ? and then try to defend it by pointing out that it seemed to work 30 years ago ! Watkins IS the best that Huggins has now . . . he's raw , very raw , but the BB IQ is there - even a blind can feel it sitting 10 rows from the court . . .

    you couldn't sit him for a few minutes , chew on him , and keep him in rotation . . .
    I blame you , coach Huggins , for letting the legs "get ripped off" your forwards . . .

    I could see chasing away the uncaring crew of dolts that sleep walked through the whole season last year . . . BUT , how will this hard working Mountie team respond to a coach seems to sabotage their efforts with irrational responses to the foibles of a talented freshman ? AD Luck needs to have coach Huggins "get sick" and let his staff finish the season . . .
    what you managed to accomplish 30 years has absolutely NOTHING to do with this hard working Mountie team . . .

  • Low Rider

    WVU's NCAA hopes are all but over. Our new RPI after today's sterling effort is now 82…the 8th highest in the Big 12. Huggins knows the value of the RPI (he cites it all the time), and he knows that Baylor's RPI of 38 will get them in the tourney as the Big 12's sixth selection. Actually, Oklahoma State has an RPI in the 40's, much higher than WVU.

    I'm not sure I'm sold on Huggins punishment style of coaching. Watkins couldn't have done anything more egregious than let the player he was guarding score at will like Remi Dibo did today. Dibo's defensive performance was shameful.

    WVU needs to beat TCU and pick up 1 Big 12 tourney win to lock up an NIT bid. Those people talking about an NCAA bid are dreamers.

    • RJ

      Madly I have to agree with you Low Rider. It is what it is! Only hope now is an NIT bid but have to win some games.

  • mad hatter

    let's face it, ,, huggins is the ceo of wvu's bb program..
    huggins can be described as "asleep at the wheel" n how can anyone dispute it..
    yes , we all love huggie,, he's a HOF coach , he loves wvu and wv,, but he let all of us down.
    someone was recruiting and didn't really care who or what we got, just warm bodies.
    now i'm not saying these kids are no good, but we a re way behind on recruiting..
    too many kids have either fluked out or just didn't like our program,,
    say what you want, but huggins is the fault, and he hasn't fixed it.. our BB program sucks, and if you think other wise, you're just drinkin the koolaid

    • GoEers

      Yeah and you have been drinking William's white kool aid because we all know you are into that kind of thing

  • Mike

    Maybe Huggins should study his prospects more before recruiting them, then so many won't wash out as they have in the past 4 years. Even Holton and Macon can't qualify, so where's the homework there on his part?

    • don

      I'm giving odds now that Macon & Holton will not be playing for wv next year. We have 2 more guards coming when we need at least one good big man. I don't recall wv having a decent big man since Pittsnogle; a Belein recruit.

      • Tomfrommabie

        pittsnogle was NOT a Belein recruit, he was recruited by Catlett

        • GoEers

          Tomfrommabie...please do not post facts...these losers only feel better about themselves when they post stupid comments up that only they believe

          These articles give all of the Marshall fans and underachievers a chance to feel better about themselves by posting malicious and false comments about WVU athletics. It serves as a deflection of the realities associated with their favorite team.

      • Aaron

        Nor was Pittsnoggle a decent big man. He was a big man that had a great outside shot. He had no offensive inside game and his defense was atrocious at best.

    • Aaron

      Do you have a good handle Mark on how young minds will deal with adversary?

      • Mike

        A smart recruiter does know to stay away from kids with a criminal record, or HS kids without the grades or minimal brains to even make it into college, which describes both Holton and Macon, respectively.

        • Aaron

          Is that why both were recruited by multiple institutions?

          Interesting.

          • Barry

            What is interesting is that Huggins recruits Holton after he was dismissed from Rhode Island because he commited Video Voyeurism.

          • Aaron

            Why don't you give us an account of the young mans crimes Barry.

  • Aaron

    To those who think this many can't coach, I gon't believe they know what they're talking about.

    • Barry

      Aaron,

      Watch the Post Game Press Conference and tell me that Huggins' attitude has nothing to do with all the transfers.

      If Watkins transfers after this year who could blame him?

      • Aaron

        Has he developed this attitude this year? Are recruits not aware of it, particularly the nephew of Huggs teammate?

        Sorry dude but your comments wreak more of an obsession with Coach Huggins than they do of a concern for WVU or the young men who play for the basketball team.

        • Mike

          Aaron, does Huggins pay you to make comments on sites such as this one. Sure sounds like he's paying you a bunch of $$$$ for the blind defense.

        • mad hatter

          as always aaron, you daughter of huggie,,, the fat man has it wrong,,, anyone with any sense knows one does not get on tv and demean his players,,,
          i for one, hope every single one transfers after this yr.,...

          • GoEers

            Yeah and we all hope you transfer off of this board...Huggins didn't demean his players...I)eard the post game statements..he said they're gray kids but didn't study for this game

            A Marshall loser like yourself has an obsession and a jealousy of bob Huggins that is really sickening..go get yourself help you loser!!!

        • Barry

          I think you are obsessed with the word obsession.

          Out of curiosity, do you think GoEers is obsessed with Marshall Trolls? I bet he see them in his sleep.

          • GoEers

            Barry don't be mad at me because I'm calling you out for what you are:

            A Marshall fan that is obsessed and jealous with everything WVU. It's a free country so as a Marshall fan you are more than welcome to read every article about WVU and watch all the games. But just don't get mad when others call you out for being a troll.

            Btw nice prediction you made in January about WVU only winning 2 more games the rest of the year. You're just another dumb little brother Marshall troll who has never seen your favorite team Marshall win an NCAA tourney game.

            Enjoy your day Barry. You've got a bright future ahead of you!