Ready or not, Big 12 conference play is here for WVU
Even if Bob Huggins didn’t think his West Virginia team is ready to embark on a road trip to open Big 12 Conference play he makes a good point.
“Do I get a choice?” he quipped.
The Mountaineers will hit the road to open league play at Oklahoma State, followed by a trip to Kansas State as the team accomplished their goal of winning out the rest of non-conference play to head into the conference slate with momentum at their back.
“We’ve been a pretty good road team. I don’t know what would change that,” he said.
West Virginia is coming off a performance against Fordham that didn’t appease the head coach due to the fact that the team simply didn’t play with an edge.
However, even playing as poorly as they did the Mountaineers did manage to score 86 points in the win, their eleventh in a row.
The Mountaineers flew out to Stillwater Thursday and Huggins was less than enthused with his group following the one practice they had prior to the trip.
“They were O.K.; I guess they weren’t great. In fairness, we’re trying to give them a bunch of stuff yesterday to break it down and work on but they could have been better,” he said.
The Cowboys were picked last in the Big 12 Conference pre-season coaches poll, but have started the season 10-2 losing only to a pair of ranked teams including the same Texas A&M team that beat the Mountaineers in the opening game of the year. That included a win over a ranked Florida State team.
“FSU has been historically really big and really athletic and they kind of dominated. They have bunch of guys that can make shots, it’s hard to give them help because everybody can make shots,” he said.
Huggins believes that Oklahoma State is better than they were a season ago and there is a number of reasons that holds true. One of those is the play of Jeffery Carroll who leads the team in scoring with 15 points per game and is playing the best ball of his career.
“He’s rebounding the ball so much better. He keeps so many balls alive for them. He’s playing far and away the best he’s ever played,” Huggins said.
But it’s another player that has been the glue to the Cowboys according to Huggins.
“(Mitchell) Solomon has made their team like Nate Adrian did ours a year ago. He does a little bit of everything, he does it well. He knows exactly what they want done,” Huggins said. “He can score, rebound it. He’s a really good post defender, he can run in transition.”
Overall the Cowboys are doing many of the same things they did a season ago with the same offense, but they get out of some and allow players to make plays.
Huggins compares them to the Oklahoma State team from early last season but they will run it a lot more and shoot more in transition.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.