Growing Pains

Bob Huggins

West Virginia will have to adapt to two critical elements that come with playing in the Big 12 as the Mountaineers hope to avoid another season like this one, according to head coach Bob Huggins.

One of those, which has been discussed ad-nauseum this season, is travel. That got a bit more attention when the Exponent Telegram reported late Saturday night that Big 12 officials had agreed to look at addressing WVU's travel schedule after this season concludes.

Huggins, speaking on Monday morning's Big 12 coaches teleconference, said it could take "maybe a year to figure out the travel situation."

"I think we've all got some ideas," the head coach said. "I think, at the end of the year, we all need to put our heads together and figure out what is the most fair and equitable thing to do."

But one facet more directly involved with matters on the court will also need to be addressed, as the style of play from the Big 12 to West Virginia's former home in the Big East differs, according to Huggins -- and no, he wasn't referring to officiating.

"I think the power forwards in the Big 12 are more three/fours than they are four/fives, like they are in the Big East," Huggins said. "They bounce it a lot better. I think in some instances, people run a lot of offense through them, which wasn't the case."

RIFLE REPORTS:

  • The Mountaineers (13-14, 6-8 Big 12) hope to get back to .500 on Wednesday night when they host Baylor. The Bears, who beat WVU 80-60 on Feb. 13 in Waco, have lost all three of their games since that night.

    The road, particularly, has not been kind to BU, which lost 81-61 at Kansas State on Feb. 16 and is coming off a 90-76 setback at Oklahoma on Saturday.

    Huggins, a man familiar with struggles this season, was asked what had changed for Baylor of late.

    "I think [BU head coach] Scott [Drew] said it best -- when you're making shots, everything is good," Huggins said. "Sometimes when you don't make shots, you struggle. I think this league is so close in a lot of ways talent-wise that the team that makes open shots is the team that's going to win."

  • The key to avoiding another loss to Baylor (which is only one game ahead of WVU for sixth place in the conference standings), according to Huggins, is turnovers. His team committed 18 turnovers in the first meeting between the teams, while the Bears gave possession away on only nine occasions.

    "It's really pretty obvious: don't throw them the ball," Huggins siad. "Sometimes, I think our guys are color-blind. We have a tendency to throw it to the wrong team at times. Live-ball turnovers have killed us. We just have not done a very good job with that.

    "A lot of it is our turnovers have just been at the worst times in the worst ways. You can't have live-ball turnovers. Live-ball turnovers result in baskets for the other team, and we haven't gotten nearly enough live-ball turnovers, and we've given up way too many live-ball turnovers."

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