West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins didn’t have to look hard to see the major issue in his team’s 78-621 quarterfinal loss to Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament.
That’s because it’s been a concern since the game’s inception.
“We didn’t have that bounce. We didn’t have any bounce in our steps at all.’
The Mountaineers looked like a team coming off their opening win over Texas Tech on only 18 hours of rest as the Jayhawks were able to beat them to loose balls and certainly had more fire.
Kansas, which could easily be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament, doesn’t need any extra help, but there’s no doubt the Mountaineers didn’t help themselves.
This was especially noticeable on the defensive end where West Virginia allowed the Jayhawks to shoot 52 percent from the field and score 52 of their 78 points in the paint. Kansas continued to find much success using their trademark pick and roll to get easy baskets at the rim.
Not that Kansas necessarily did anything different than they expected, the Jayhawks simply executed better and more efficiently than the Mountaineers to sweep the season series 3-0.
Huggins said his team didn’t do anything drastic last week and essentially went through what to expect and film study. So it is not easy to understand why this was so.
“This was not the team I had all year. We came out with absolutely no enthusiasm, no enthusiasm in our step, it was a poor game from where I was just trying to look at it,” Huggins said . “We haven’t played yet.”
Despite the setback, West Virginia has won four of its last six games, and both have come at the hands of the Jayhawks. With both teams not going to play very deep with a possible NCAA tournament berth in mind, the focus is now on moving forward.
“This is the number one team in the country. To be honest with you. It doesn’t affect confidence; we just didn’t match their intensity, that’s what,” guard Joe Toussaint said.
West Virginia gained some more experience playing at a neutral site with a win over Texas Tech in the previous game and will need to continue that to advance.
Now, West Virginia will wait to see its fate on what happens with the NCAA tournament field and where the program may ultimately end up.
The Mountaineers are seeded for 19-13 times in every available bracket, but it remains to be seen their overall seed and opponent.
West Virginia will now turn its attention to rest and preparation ahead in the coming days.
Guard Eric Stevenson said, “I’m proud of our team that we dug ourselves out of a big hole to start this league and we’re going to hear our name on Sunday, it’s just a matter of whether we When and where and with whom do you play? Said.
Because it is a one-game season from this point forward, it doesn’t matter where the team finishes and there will be no chance for a do-over.