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February 1, 2013
Even though West Virginia currently sits at 9-11 overall and 2-5 in the Big 12 Conference standings, there isn't reason to believe that the Mountaineers still have a run left in them. And Saturday at Texas Tech will be the first opportunity to turn things around.
"We keep saying we can make a run, we can still make a run," head coach Bob Huggins said. "We can conceivably get ourselves on the bubble or better."
Even with the struggles to this point, the idea of hope isn't a hard sell to the current roster and the Mountaineers will get their first crack at a potential season changing run against a Red Raiders team that has had their own difficulties at 9-9 (2-5).
The Red Raiders are led by junior forward Jaye Crockett with around 13-points per game, and the big man has shown versatility this season to hurt opponents in a number of ways, Huggins said.
"He can bounce it, bounces it really well and he can step out and shoot it," he said.
Crockett is the only Red Raiders that is averaging scoring in double figures, but the other big men are efficient around the basket, making it imperative for the Mountaineers to be solid around the goal defensively.
The matchup is the first of three matchups in a row that are winnable games including at home against a Texas team the Mountaineers have already beaten on the road in a Big Monday showdown and a road trip to TCU, a team that West Virginia handily defeated earlier this year.
"I think we're at the position where we have to win more than those, but that'd be a great start," Huggins said.
When asked about the potential of the NIT, Huggins shot down the notion saying that no one around the program wants to talk about that option yet.
"They set out the season saying they want to play in the NCAA tournament and that's not out of the realm of possibility," he said.
On the injury front, Huggins said that senior transfer Matt Humphrey still has swelling in his shoulder and did not practice Thursday. Huggins doesn't believe he will be ready to go for Saturday's 1:30 p.m. matchup, while Terry Henderson is still not at 100-percent with his back.
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