Earlier Monday, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins spoke with the national media about a variety of topics concerning his team. The biggest of which has been the lack of defense in Big12 play.
Huggins says his team is struggling to be consistent on offense.
“Probably the biggest thing is that we haven’t rebounded it as well as we have rebounded it in the past, so we give people second chances,” said Huggins. “But nobody can guard the way the game has changed. (The rule changes have) made it very difficult for everybody. They got what they wanted – the scores are much higher.”
Fans saw that over the weekend, as Oklahoma State and West Virginia battled through a foul-filled contest that ended with 56 personal fouls called, and 156 points. To Huggins, that’s a result of the new rules limiting help defense.
“I think the biggest thing is how it affects secondary defenders,” he said. “On the ball stuff, they’re probably calling a little more of a foul, but I don’t think that’s been the biggest effect. I think the big effects are what happens with secondary defenders.”
While calls seemed to go against the Mountaineers this past weekend, Huggins did not take it out on the refs, stating they are just doing what the NCAA has mandated.
“I think they do what they’re told. They get a memo that says people are stepping into shooters and they’re going to make sure whether they step into the shooter or not, they’re going to make the call. They’re going to err on the side of doing what they’re told to do, if they err… or when they err.”
Of course, the offense has not always been the best this season, with the team mired in long scoring droughts during critical stretches in games. Against OSU, the most notable dropoff came from Terry Henderson, who had scored double figures in ten of his last twelve games, but could only muster one field goal against the Cowboys.
“He shot it very poorly at Kansas State, and shot it real well against Texas Tech, and then was 1-for-10 against Oklahoma State. The one field goal he got was a layup off a steal and we need him to make shots,” said Huggins. “For some reason, it seems when Eron (Harris) is making shots, Terry isn’t, and we need both of those guys to make shots for us.”
Of course, there was talk of Tuesday’s opponent, Baylor. The Mountaineers traveled down to Texas after the game on Saturday, and have been preparing for the Bears ever since. The first thing they’re looking to handle is Baylor’s defense.
“I think (we) understand how talented they are,” said Huggins. “The thing that’s hard is that they got such great length. They play a lot of matchup zone and do a great job with it. I think it’s extra effective because of their ability to block shots.”