Eron Harris and West Virginia trailed Texas by 30 in the Big 12 quarterfinals before suffering a 66-49 loss.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The ice bag strapped to Juwan Staten’s ankle put a chill in whatever postseason hopes West Virginia held. Ankle sprains can stretch day-to-day or week-to-week, and a bad wheel can be especially debilitating for a point guard who lives off explosive drives and zippy changes-of-direction.

Staten said not to worry. He’ll be back.

“Whether we play in a few days or a week or whatever, it doesn’t matter. The next game we play, I’ll be playing.”

On Friday, Staten was walking without crutches, but even if Staten’s ankle heals, what about his psyche and that of his teammates? Having sniffed the NCAA bubble for the past month, would West Virginia (17-15) manufacture excitement for an NIT berth? Or was the embarrassing Big 12 tournament exit against Texas a will breaker?

“Every game that we get to play together and build some more chemistry is great for the future,” Staten said. “Knowing that we’re not going to make it to the (NCAA) tournament is tough, but we still have games ahead of us.”

With a roster devoid of seniors, Eron Harris said any postseason bid would be a chance to continue development. Gary Browne promised the team would embrace whatever matchup awaits in whatever venue. And Kevin Noreen, irked by gaffes committed during the 66-49 loss to Texas, said several motivational points remain.

“If it’s not for a trophy, then we want to play for each other, for Coach Huggins, for team pride and for the people that have supported us all year,” Noreen said. “We can end the year on a high note … and get this bad taste out of our mouth.”

NIT bracketologist John Templon—yes, such a person exists—projected West Virginia as No. 3 seed in the Georgetown region. As of early Friday, Templon had the Mountaineers hosting a first-round NIT game against No. 6 seed Iona (22-10), the regular-season champion of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

And for those who belittle the quality NIT lineup, the Gaels currently have an RPI of 60, which is 27 spots higher than West Virginia’s.

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  • rj

    Looks like we play our old nemesis Georgetown at DC Tuesday. Go Eers! We are fortunate to be selected by the NIT Committee.

  • Dennis

    What a bummer, no home game in the NIT. WVU plays poorly away from home, this could be a one and done against Georgetown.

  • TruthTeller

    So glad Texas lost!!! Their only agenda was to beat WVU and end WVU's hopes. I consider Texas a rival to WVU. They did not like losing to us in football and that also caused a phone call to be made that force the hand of our football teams season. WVU was force to lose several games after that just because WVU beat Texas at home that year. Darn shame rich people can't keep their insanity to themselves. Instead they try to control everything with their money.

  • TruthTeller

    I don't understand the snobby attitude people have against the NIT. A tournament is a tournament. This could be a great learning process for the team. Lets hope without the vendetta of the Big 12 refs WVU can focus on playing their game and have much success in the NIT. I would love to see them win it all and give a black eye and big punch to the stomach to the Big 12 refs and their rich higher ups that control the out come of the games.

  • eddie blatt

    Yes, Mountaineers, go to the NIT and make us proud.

    Watch the Mountaineers thrive.

    2014 Mountaineers take Big 12 by Storm, in both Basketball and Football.

    • TruthTeller

      eddie you need to just go play with spot and leave the real WVU fans to posting on here.

  • Concerned

    Nit is fine. I remember a certain team that won an nit title and then went to the elite eight. I remember Daris hitting a three to win the nit and how excited the players were.

  • mad hatter

    i have been found out, that i am barry,,, great detective work.
    now with this team,, nit can only help more practice and more game time.
    hopefully, with holton and macon actually making the team and can play, we'll be a vastly improved team next yr. i look forward to 25 wins,and a no. 3 or 4 seed in the big dance.

  • mad hatter

    this team reminds me very much of the beilein teams,,, we lived and died on the 3 pointer..
    i remember getting humbled badly one week when we weren't hitting the threes and the next game, we blew away a top 20 team. we just need some balance, and muscle.

  • barry

    let's hope juwan is back next yr... i like his play a lot, and you can easily see what life at wvu bb would be like without him.
    Feel fairly confident that we'll be invited to the not important tournie, but it means more practice time and more playing time.. Can't hurt.
    as for next yr. as per huggins, macon and holton will play, and be a huge plus for the team. I'm looking for a 25 win season, and maybe better, a big 12 championship and a really good seed to the big dance.

  • Toadman

    This years Mountaineer BBall team was a lot of fun to watch, but at times couldn't handle certain teams. (ie:Texas.) We have the core to a very good team and the chemistry seems to be there. What we need is more height and strength. Overall we can't bang in the paint with the big boys. If our perimeter shooting is off on a given day, we can't score in the paint, so our offense suffers. Our young guys have learned much this year about defense but by times seem confused and unable to react quickly. One or two big , physical inside players would really help. Good luck in the NIT and we look to next year to make the NCAA tournament.
    Great job Lady Eers! Go Mountaineeeeers!

  • Mountaineer Fanatic

    I would never be upset to win the NIT. Not much fun to lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but an honor to win the NIT. LETS GOOOOO MOUNTAINEERS.

    • Leroy j Gibbs

      I have said it before wvu wins the nit

  • pghmountaineer

    I heard it from an insider in the Athletic office that this year's highlight reel will be called "Wait Till Next Year-Part 3". They were thinking of going with "I'll Fix It-Part 2" but decided "Wait Till Next Year was a more optimistic title.

    Can't wait for my copy to come in the mail.

    • Steve

      Hi Pghmountaimeer. You still owe me $1000 from the end of January when you had posted that WVU would not win any more than two games. They ended up winning seven. Great call pghmoutaineer... You sure are a bright one LOL.

      • pghmountaineer

        What's your address? I'll send it right away.

        • Steve

          You can't send what you don't have. Personally I got the satisfaction of WVU proving all the haters like yourself wrong.

    • Aaron

      So what are we waiting until next year for?

  • Mark

    Really it's all up to the coaches. If they maintain a positive attitude it will rub off on the players. The NIT offers hope for a strong finish and some carryover value for next year. I hope our guys realize how close they are to being exceptional.

  • Independent View

    Nope, don't make that bet. I will not be watching--zero interest.
    If I want to watch some interesting BB, I'll wacth the girl's team and if it were possible, the WVU Rifle Team. Now there's some winners.

  • jwg66

    Mr Shakelfor & Aaron make some great points. Next year's team figures to be more experienced, deeper and more talented (if Jawaan does not declare). And Huggs has really done a good job making players NBA ready if they have the talent.
    However, I personally feel that he has made recruiting errors and has possibly given up on kids a bit early. This hurt our depth this year alot. Much of the attrition from the last 2 years has been like this. Kids that for one reason or another did not work out and would not have their scholarship renewed. Anyway, Pepper played well for Temple, Jennings was doing well on the west coast and Arkansas picked up K. Miles. Just believe that some of these kids could have helped us these last 2 years. If not, why so many departures over this time? That to me is staff decisions.
    I am hoping Noreen and Brown learn to score and that Macon and Holton add to our front line. Clearly, we are very close to W's. A few new adds to the current team gives me alot of hope for the future. The new facility is a huge plus too. Go Mountaineers.

    • wvrefugee

      Yep just think.....all of those other league teams will be a year older and better as well!!! Wait 'til next year!!! Horse Hockey! Give me a HC like Hoilberg or Drew or Belien anyday!

    • Aaron

      Staten is going to declare but he's not signing with an agent so if NBA executives tell him he's not likely to be a 1st round choice, he will likely be back at WVU. I expect that will happen.

      • TW EAGLE

        staten's skill set will not translate well into the pro game . . . 17-19 foot jumpers isn't going to be greeted with great acclaim in the nba . . . his inability to sink shots off the glass when driving is an even larger impediment to gaining nba status . . .

        the faster & taller players in the pros will negate any quickness he has in his game . . . the nba is a slow , lazy mans game now . . . almost akin to pro wrestling in its' desire to "showcase" individual players . . .

        • Aaron

          I'm confused. While I think one more year with Coach Huggins will only help Staten, I'm confused by one thing. You state that faster players will negate his game yet you call it a "slow" game. If it's a slow league, how will it "negate" Staten's (according to you) lack of speed?

          • TW EAGLE

            well , arron, you're certainly entitled to your opinion , and you never waste any bulletin board space expressing it . . . although you do possess some sporting knowledge , the tenor of your posts seems to vacillate between delusional (staten 1st round nba) and mean spirited attacks on posters who don't agree with your ill conceived concepts of the universe of sports . . . you've been careful not to throw rocks in my direction , till now . . . other than your verbosity , your posts aren't too much different from Big Larry or William (minus the personal attacks on Huggins) . . .

          • Aaron

            I surely hope you’re not a teacher because your ability in that capacity, for lack of a better word, s**ks. First, the pace of the NBA is not slow as teams are averaging the most combined points per game in 20 years. Granted, it's not the fun and gun games of the 80's and early 90's but scoring is up.

            Second, in that league, Juwan will not be a scorer, at least not initially. His quickness will allow him to drive and kick the ball to open shooters which plays to his strengths as his assist to turnover ratio demonstrate. The reason he "finishes" as much as he does at WVU is because he doesn't have a plethora of scorers spotting up to shoot the ball. That’s not an issue in the NBA.

            An NBA guard may very well be 6'4" but the PG is closer to 6'2" but at any rate, I honestly don't think that will be a problem. Isaiah Thomas was only 5'9 and he had a decent career if I recall. Chris Paul is right at 6’0, Kyrie Irvin is 6’2 and Tony Parker is 6’2. Rajon Rondo is 6’0 and Derrick Rose is just shy of 6’3.

            Finally, I'll presume your reading comprehension is on par with your basketball knowledge. I've stated numerous times that he's not ready for the NBA yet but if he works on his 3 point shot, and continues to improve at the pace he has over the last year, his skill set will translate very well in the professional game. You'd have to be one madd DA not to be able to see that.

          • TW EAGLE

            well aaron , i'll give you just one more FREE lesson . . .

            the nba only allows man defense . . . should help staten , but it won't . . . the pace of the nba is SLOW . . . just because the pace of the game (tempo) is slow , doesn't mean the players move in slow motion - COMPRENDE ? the average length of an nba guard is 6'41/2"
            meaning pretty much every player staten goes against will have a 10" reach on him . . .
            his drives to the basket will have to be thrown over this larger player . . .I. e. , it must be played off the glass . . .statens "touch" off the glass is "poor" to say the least - especially coming off his left hand . . . some team will give him a tryout , much like Cleveland did for Butler . . .