MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia continues to move backwards in the polls, dropping the 17th in this week’s AP Top 25 and 18th in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Mountaineers (18-7, 6-6 Big 12) were 14th in both polls last week.
But that is not the biggest news out of the Mountaineer camp on Monday.
With his team preparing to host suddenly resurgent Oklahoma State (13-12, 3-9) on Tuesday night, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins will leave no stone unturned as he tries to snap his team’s three-game losing streak.
“There’s nothing off the table,” Huggins said. “Other than you won’t see Oscar [Tshiebwe] at the point. That’s off the table.”
Huggins indicated that a change to the starting lineup is probable.
“We’ve pretty much had the same starting lineup all year, but it could be time for a change,” Huggins said. “See if that helps. We’re playing some guys too much. We’re not playing some guys that should be playing.”
With the exception of a one-game benching of Jermaine Haley against Nicholls State, the Mountaineers have rolled out the same starting lineup every game this season.
Huggins didn’t say who is coming out of the lineup, but Taz Sherman appears to be headed in after scoring 20 points in the final 10 minutes at Baylor.
“We’ve got to make some changes. We’ve got to make some changes personnel-wise and with what we do,” Huggins said. “We’ve been very careless with our passing and more careless with our ballhandling. What started the whole thing with Kansas is we mishandled the ball.
“We’ve got to score the ball. And Taz has shown obviously that he can score the ball. We’ll go from there.”
Huggins sounded more coy when talking about what he might do at point guard, though he did take note of Jermaine Haley’s versatility when asked about how inserting Sherman into the starting lineup might affect Haley.
“Jermaine can play 1-4. He can guard 1-4,” Huggins said. “In the second half at Baylor, he did a great job keeping balls alive on the glass. Jermaine’s as versatile a guy as we’ve had since [Devin] Ebanks.”
Huggins said he has been reticent to make changes to the lineup because “I didn’t want them to panic.”
Now it’s gotten to the point where Huggins can’t worry about anyone’s feelings.
“We’re past the point of hurting someone’s feelings. All our feelings are hurt,” Huggins said. “We’ve lost three in a row. If your feelings are not hurt, shame on you.”
While on the issue of feelings, Huggins also addressed Derek Culver’s noticeably poor body language as his frustration mounted against Baylor. Culver sat for most of the second half.
“Guy’s gotta grow up. Every day is not going to be a utopia. Wake up,” Huggins said. “Whose fault is it that Derek went from the leading rebounder in the Big 12 and averaging over 10 [points] a game to 2 or 3 a game? It’s hard to blame it on anybody else. Derek knows that. He’s not a dumb guy. He’s a smart guy.”