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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  • mad hatter

    well, three of our last four games features teams we have already beaten,,, considering that,, we lose maybe to kansas, and that's it, and since we're playing them at home, i say we win out... so,,19-12 before the tourn... we pick up one win , one loss, finish the season 20-13 not too shabby since i said we'd win 14 games,,,, time for me to cook up some crow

  • John S. Shackelford

    Could see it........gassed last five minutes

  • DP

    William-Relative to your post at 8:36 a.m.: Are you referring to kinky behavior involving you and mad hatter in sack this morning??? I'm quite sure that's what a creep like you is referring to when you repeat "I'M LOVIN IT IN A BIG WAY!"

  • mad hatter

    so, does anyone really know for sure what's up with Henderson? Just said he had an illness. ..


    WVU Bud....I like your zeal, respect and enthusiasm for our beloved Mountaineers. I feel the same way you do about being a true Mountaineer. However, there is one thing I don't see eye to eye with you, and that is when you call dissatisfied Mountaineer fans "whiners" some other folks like you call them trolls. Thank GOD that we do have WVU fans with different opinions than you, and some of your cohorts. I have seen a huge decline in enthusiasm in football and men's basketball going on two years now. I'm nor a fair-weather fan, but I don't sugar-coat or drink the kool-aide like a lot of you do. Sure we have a lot to be proud of, but we can be a heck of a lot better, and the next 12 months will tell us a lot. Coaches are leaders, and leaders lead. Our Women's Basketball team is pretty darn good, and they play in the BIG12; so I'd say we have a good ladies coach. Last but not least, in the latest report on college athletic revenues and expenses that was featured by ESPN, WVU showed a loss of approximately $ 12 million in it's Athletic Dept. for 2013. Now, you'll hear all kind of "b s" stories about this, and that we get over $ 20 million from the BIG12, which again is "b s". We will not get our full share of monies from the BIG12 until 2016. So no sugar coating here, just facts. It is tough to make a profit when the seepage is greater than the pumpage.

    • mad hatter

      we need to raise the salary of Luck , Huggins, and Holgerson since they are doing such a great job...

      Our athletic program has not looked this badly in many many yrs.

  • Mister Man

    Brandon is a fine young man and player. He will take what happened with a grain of salt. He's mature enough to understand why Coach did what he did and use it as motivation. Brandon will develop into an outstanding player.

    • Aaron

      I would agree, I think in the future this makes him a better player.

    • mad hatter

      what, ,,, do you know him personally ?// how can you make such a statement bout a 19 yr old young man?

      i'd say, he's embarrassed, i'd say his feelings are really hurt,,,,, hopefully, warren will talk to him and determine if it can be smoothed over, or if he should transfer,.
      If he stays, and we get a new coach, the sky is the limit for brandon,,, otherwise, my advice is to transfer while you're young.

  • 4WVUinKY

    Re-post from a couple of weeks ago:

    All my life, at least my adult life, I have been an opponent of "yelling" to get a point across. To me, and this is my opinion from my own life experiences, it shows a total lack of respect for both the person who is being yelled at and the person who is doing the yelling. Please note, I am not a psychologist, psychotherapist, etc., but I have managed many people during the course of my professional career and I can say emphatically and without exception, this type of "motivation" is wrong headed, short-sighted, self-centered, self-serving, and quite frankly, just not the right thing to do.

    Put yourself in your workplace and tell me that you would love to have your manager yell at you all day long to get you to do your job and/or what he/she wants you to do at any given moment. Please tell me that as a manager, you have been overwhelmingly successful at motivating and inspiring your staff when you yell at them and degrade them in front of others. Please tell me that they have come into your office and said, "Thank you sir. May I please have another"?

    First off, yelling in the workplace is not acceptable and is not tolerated...some exceptions of course such as a total lack of compliance with company policy, employment law, etc. To me, again my opinion, it is demeaning and demoralizing and is in fact bullying.

    Now, let's look at professional coaching and make a comparison. Keep in mind this behavior is not exclusive to Coach Huggins so let's keep an open mind here. Coach Huggins is in fact in his workplace environment...the basketball court is his "office" so to speak and the players, are his associates. I know, they are not really employees...thus the that makes it yell and scream and use cuss words to get someone to do something that you want them to do? To the reasoned person, one who looks at things from a practical perspective and with an open mind, this type of representation of WVU is displeasing to say the least. Having said that, I have seen improvement in Coach Huggins this year. Perhaps, he had a "come to Jesus" conversation with Ollie, I don't know but I do see him as more relaxed. I have previously written on this site about his bad/poor behavior so I want to make clear that I do see improvement. So...for those of you who like to make comparisons, which I do, which way of coaching has gotten him better results? Compare where we stand at this point in the season vs. same period last year. Interesting isn't it.

    Let me close with a solution. Coaches at all levels should strive to gain the respect of their players by first understanding them as individuals. Coaches today, probably more than ever because of societal and cultural changes in our country, need to find out what drives/motivates/inspires each player uniquely. Only then will true open and authentic communication exist between player and coach and only then will each see the value of the coach/player relationship and thus jointly pursue the goal of winning all the while respecting each other. We should be good with that and if we are not...take your child or grandchild to a coach who yells, screams, and throws temper tantrums and report back to me the positive long-term results.

    I couple of links to consider where you can read articles on this topic.

    It's an absolutely awesome day to be a Mountaineer...once, always, and wherever!

    • Barry

      That was the best, well thought out comment that I have ever read on this site. Awesome.

      • Aaron

        What percentage of college coaches do you believe that all sports could adhere to the above post?

    • mad hatter

      i mean TOTALLY AGREE

  • Ole Sasquatch

    Who is looking better and better to Ole Sasquatch over the last few games. Gary Brown because he mans-up on defense, stays in front of his man, bumps them right back when they try to push him out and does everything he can to steal the ball and keep the ball alive for rebounds.
    Also Noreen mans up on defense and knows how to play it.
    Gary Brown needs to take it upon himself to teach Willaims how to do a fast pump fake rather than that sloooow moootion pump fake he has - he is so slow on his moves with the ball - it's ridiculous. Obviously the coaches can't teach it. As far as all the other bigs, yes Huggins grind them and grind them hard in practice cause they are getting worse instead of better. You just need to make men out of them. They are truly embarrassing this state.
    If little Gary Brown can go out there and not take any crap, why can't our bigs?

  • Jon

    Who in the He@% are you to judge Huggs?
    You are a sorry little man that I’m wore black socks to gym class and got picked last for dodgeball. We are young and he is getting the most out of these kids. The lesson he teaches today with only help us in the future but I don’t expect you to understand this because you have probably been picked on your whole like because you have ZERO athletic ability and ZERO IQ. You’re a joke and a coward. I sure hope you don’t have kids because I am sure you are an embarrassment to them and your entire family.

    • Aaron

      It's not so much the judging that bothers me, it's the ignorance with which they base their judgments

    • mad hatter

      jon, who are you to say he cant judge ... i say, huggie has put himself in this position.. shame on him and shame on you for drinking the koolaid...
      you sick little mess of protoplasm,,, crawl back into your hole

  • wvajoker

    FACT: Diarhea Mouth William is an embarassment to the fans and the State of West Virginia.
    FACT: Diarhea Mouth William is a horrible commenter for numerous reasons which include a fixation on Huggs appearance and his attire, which leads us to wonder what is the bases for this fixation.

    • mad hatter

      look in the mirror, and you see another.

      • GoEers

        Stop defending your boyfriend William

  • mad hatter

    Barry, don't you know by now that aaron is actually booby's daughter,,can't you tell by the way she defends his attacks on the players.
    Just look at the press conf. he belittles the players in hopes it will increase his stock, He tries to justify his salary by slams on the team.
    Remember,, the team is a direct reflection of the coach,,,,i hope you have enough insight to understand the connotations.
    Booby is turning into a poison to this great university,,, he cares only about his HOF status and it's really means fall of shame.
    Anyone who gets on tv and demeans 19-20 yr olds like he does, is down right sad, and i see more than two leaving the program after this yr..

    • Aaron

      "Anyone who gets on tv and demeans 19-20 yr olds like he does, is down right sad, and i see more than two leaving the program after this yr.."

      As opposed to calling them bums while hiding behind a moniker.

      Oh, the irony.

      • mad hatter

        i concur,, or maybe not agree, or may rhetorically speaking , i[m confused, daughter of booby.

        • Aaron

          Ok, you're the confused daughter of bobby?

          Does that explain you're fixation on a 60 year old college coach?

  • mad hatter

    wow, brett, guess you've been a college bb coach for yrs and yrs, and you pretty much knows what's going on at wvu, from the inside out.
    Wish i had that kind of inside information, and know enough about psychology to understand what goes on in the minds of these uncoachable youth.
    Our leadership is excellant, huggins portrays himself on the sidelines, as an intelligent ,upstanding, lead by example coach
    He has HOF creditancials and i am sure, these kids just lack maturity and bob's insight into life... Bob is such a role model, i justcan't understand why these kids can't be coached..
    I put this entire mess on the players,, and i expect for booby to once again cull out the badies and sent them packing at the end of the season.It's all on them, and Booby, you're always right and my sons look to you as an example,, but booby , please when you park under stop lights, or fall down and get hurt, let's not let it into the headlines..

  • WV Bud

    Don"t know why I am commenting except I am so tired of you bunch of whiners.The only way that you all would be satisfied would be if WVU won all of their games.I am 68 years old.As a kid I cried when California beat the Mountaineers for the NCAA BB championship.I drove to Atlanta and watched them get destroyed in the Peach Bowl.Pulled my truck over on top of Fancy Gap on I-77 and got out in the snow and yelled as they beat Florida State in some forgotten bowl game.We all want to win.We all want championships,prestige,and success for this program.[if we don"t,we"re not true fans.] Just get behind Dana,Huggins and Luck.Support them instead of complaining.I am sure they want the same as we do.If all of you complainers really knew anything,you would be coaches or athletic directors or something.Instead of negative constant complainers.Get a life.

    • Aaron

      I disagree Bud as I don't think they can ever be satisfied as nary a one is a West Virginia University fan.

      Not a one of them!!!

      • mad hatter

        aaron is huggie's daughter, haven't you caught on yet.

        • Aaron

          And here I thought I was Shawn. Seriously man I just don't get how bad someone's life must be to take so much joy in trashing a college basketball program.

        • GoEers

          We all have caught on that you are a jealous obsessed Marshall fan

          So sorry that MU is having another losing season...that just makes you more green with envy since WVU has a winning record
          You're such a loser Sad Hatter

    • mad hatter

      heaven forbid if we don't drink the koolaid

  • Aaron

    I'm not sure if the obsession with Coach Huggins by many is healthy. I now understand why the school surrounds him with security. Some of you guys are starting to worry even me.

    • mad hatter

      i concur

      • Pinkie and the hatter Brain

        You can't take over the world, I'm taking over the world you nimrod.

        I concur.

      • Stewie 'the hatter' Griffith

        As do I and once I take over the world, I'll put an end to it.

  • jay zoom

    CRY BABY HUGS---once again this team has shown they don't know how to learn. Its a little late to learn now. Or maybe Huggins can't teach anymore. He could at one time. WVU fans -- the season is toast -- I wonder if 15 or 16 wins qualify for the state high school tournament. Lets ask OLLIE if Carey can have double duty and coach us the rest of the way seems Huggins can't. as for the students they need to come and support the LADY MOUNTAINEERS they are winners and as we all can see the men are not THANKS OLLIE