MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – One of the biggest topics in Bob Huggins’ regularly-scheduled press conference Monday morning centered on the rescheduling of games for his Mountaineer men’s basketball team, since it had several contests postponed earlier this season because of COVID-19 issues.
Huggins said he wasn’t certain when the postponed games would be made up, but he felt certain every possible attempt would be made to reschedule the two contests that needed new dates – home games against TCU and Oklahoma State.
Barely a half hour after Huggins signed off his Zoom press conference, West Virginia found out it had another pair of postponements on its platter, as its two games against No. 2 Baylor on Monday, Feb. 15 and Thursday, Feb. 18 also now have to be rescheduled.
COVID issues within the Bears’ program previously forced BU to announce three postponements (Texas on Dec. 6, TCU on Feb. 6 and Oklahoma on Feb. 10), and now it has had to extend that pause through three more games – Texas Tech on Feb. 13 and the home-and-home series with WVU.
The Feb. 18 Mountaineer game at Baylor is the second time that contest in the Ferrell Center has had to be postponed. It was originally scheduled for Jan. 12, but that game was called off because of coronavirus problems within the West Virginia program, which affected three WVU games in all. The original BU-WVU matchup was rescheduled for Feb. 18, but now the Mountaineers’ trip to Waco is going to have to be pushed back again.
Shortly before the Big 12 announced Baylor’s additional postponements, Huggins said he wasn’t looking down the road at all. His only focus at the moment was on the Mountaineers’ trip to Texas Tech, where No. 14 West Virginia is set to clash with the No. 7 Red Raiders Tuesday at 9 p.m. (Eastern).
“I don’t know anything other than our next game, and I don’t know if I want to,” said Huggins of the possibility of future postponements. “We’re preparing for one at a time.”
With four games now in limbo for WVU, the calendar is running short on openings in which to squeeze them in amidst the five others that are currently scheduled.
“All I can tell you is what we’ve been told, which is every effort will be made to play every league game,” explained Huggins. “The reason they left that week blank before the conference tournament (which starts March 10) is to fit in any games that have to be rescheduled.”
Finding a way to play West Virginia’s nine unplayed games in the remaining 26-day regular season window will mean some creative scheduling, if the Big 12 wants to get all its regular season games played.
“I don’t think we’re scrapping any. I think the plan is everybody plays all their games,” stated Huggins. “That’s why they left that week (open) between the end of the regular season and the start of the conference tournament. I think the plan is to play two or even three games in (the final week) if necessary.”
Currently West Virginia’s four postponed games have not been slotted into its schedule. Two or three will likely be placed in the final open week, which runs from Feb. 28 to March 7. The first round of the Big 12 Tournament starts on Wednesday, March 10 in Kansas City.
WVU’s coach isn’t surprised the dates for the rescheduled games haven’t been announced yet.
“I think they want to see if they can get through what we have scheduled now and then see what’s left,” said Huggins. “It’s conceivable that another team or two would have to take a break.”
As it turned out, shortly after Huggins uttered those words, another team did have to take a break (Baylor), and it will affect two of West Virginia’s upcoming games.