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West Virginia staged a shootaround Wednesday morning at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. The sixth-seeded Mountaineers face No. 3-seeded Texas on Thursday night in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After 32 years of head coaching, of pushing players’ buttons and gauging psyches, Bob Huggins admits he’s no Nostradamus when it comes to predicting how his team will perform in the postseason.

“The longer I do this the more I realize I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t have a clue—that’s being honest.”

How West Virginia proceeds during the Big 12 tournament will distinguish whether this squad springs into March Madness or consoles itself in the NIT. As Wednesday morning’s practice concluded at the Sprint Center, the Mountaineers (17-14) were 80th in the RPI, a number ripe for fluctuation during coming days as teams rise and recede across a litany of conference tournaments.

Up first comes Texas (22-9) in Thursday night’s late quarterfinal. Surviving that game means West Virginia likely gets to face Oklahoma or Baylor on Friday. The most optimist vibe holds that two wins could lift the Mountaineers into NCAA contention. More realistic: The at-large opportunity has vanished and only a Big 12 title will carry them into the Dance.

“We don’t know exactly how many games it would take to get in, so our goal is just to win,” said point guard Juwan Staten. “We feel like we definitely have a chance to beat any team in this conference.”

Kansas City has the Big 12 tournament through 2016 and could remain its permanent home, just as it was for a half-century’s worth of Big Eight, Big Seven and Big Six tourneys.

Of course, there’s now an oddity to the arrangement: Since Missouri bolted for the SEC, the Big 12 is the only power league playing in a state outside its membership footprint.

That’s hardly a drawback, though, considering the University of Kansas sits a mere 45 minutes away.

The league experimented with Dallas and Oklahoma City for the men’s tournament, but didn’t receive the same level of news coverage and community interest.

“From what I understand, it’s sold out,” Huggins said. “How many conference tournaments can say that?”

The Mountaineers coach likes the venue, though he joked of making a quick exit with last year’s loss to Texas Tech: “We weren’t here very long last time, so it’s hard for me to have an idea. We came in, got beat and left.”

With Thursday’s game not scheduled to tip off until 9:30 p.m. Eastern, West Virginia players had the option of catching a matinee. Instead they opted for coming early to the Sprint Center and watching the daytime session games: Iowa State vs. Kansas State and top-seeded Kansas vs. the Oklahoma State-Texas Tech survivor.

“We gave them a choice of whether to go to the movies, but they all want to come to the games,” Huggins said. “It may have been the selection of movies, I don’t know.”

Though encouraged by the 15 minutes Terry Henderson played in last Saturday’s win over Kansas, Huggins wasn’t sure how much the sophomore guard could contribute against Texas. A draining bout with mono forced Henderson to miss four games.

“He’s better, but he’s not close to 100 percent,” Huggins said. “His weight’s not back, his stamina’s not back.”

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    " pushing players buttons " ? ? ?

    like "world peace " that I hear women spout as the greatest need for the human
    animal , I think the bigger need that MAY (LOL) lead to world peace is helping all of mankind reach a self awareness level that they can't be USED by people who have the ability to ' push peoples buttons ' . . .
    Athletes will function at a higher & more consistent level when functioning from inner strength and knowledge , not from a perceived "rod" applied from an external source . . . your phraseology , coach Huggins , loses all the points you had ever earned from this pundit ! ! !

  • jay zoom

    they are going to be toast any way. THANKS OLLIE

  • Rick55

    The game will be telecast on the old UB channel # 30 on DirecTV; refer to the newspapers if you're still unsure. The entire Mountaineer Nation is behind you boys!!! Go Moumtaineers! And go beat Northridge on the diamond from all us stitch heads!!!

  • Tim C

    Stay out of foul trouble guys. If we don't, we are toast. If we are able to keep Harris , Williams, and Adrian out of foul trouble early, we can win this. Play smart guys.....we have played them stupid twice. Time to wise up and show what we all know you can do.

  • J the C

    Anything can happen tomorrow night. I don't want to be realistic, I'm a fan. Fight, fight, fight, fight, mountaineers!!!

  • Capt. Obvious

    Three and done.

    Huggs got a lot out of what he had to work with this season but UT is a nightmare matchup.


    You WVU fans are delusional. Suit pants Huggins is done as a coach, can't coach or recruit worth a darn…you will be lucky if the NIT wants you.

    Just kidding, this is Baldeagle and thought you contributors were missing WILLIAM.

    Keep focused team and play your best, all the teams in this are beatable..GO MOUNTAINEERS!

    • Allen

      I hope Marshall enjoys the NCAA Tournament...

      Oh wait, never mind. LOL

  • justin

    last years team was sooo good!

  • Aquarius

    It's a great day to be a mountaineer wherever you are......"tony c."

  • Leroy j Gibbs

    Will it be televised on fox sports one?

  • Aaron

    It's this simple. If WVU makes shots, they can beat any team in this tournament, including Texas and they will win. If they miss shots or if only one or two players play well, they will be headed to the NIT.

    Anything is possible.

    • Aaron

      If it's rhetorical Barry, why then do you accuse the coach of throwing players under the bus when he points it out after games?

      • mad hatter

        It certainly appears that if some people point out the obvious, they feel academic, as if, they went two grades about the sixth.
        Let's quit lingering on what every one knows, and emphasize something in the studious zone about who we are, where we've been and where we're going,,
        for starters, let's define the differences between, your, and you're, and us it three times and then own it.

        • Aaron

          I'm sorry Barry, did I hurt you're feelings? I know your a tender foot and I shouldn't vex you such but four the life of me, your so gullible that its too much fun knowing the effect it has on you.

          • mad hatter

            You take the challenge out of it, your just too easy, i guess graduating with a sixth grade education made you bmoc in logan

      • Aaron

        i concur

    • mad hatter

      clinging to the obvious like aaron, it's this simple , if we score one more point than the other team ,we win. i concur, and yet this is purely rhetorical.

  • Dave

    Hoping the Mountaineers do well in the tournament. Terry Henderson being back should help. Devin Williams has back to back to back double doubles and has to keep playing with that mentality. Play your game Eron and Juwan, lead us to the "ship".