For the Mountaineers, Numbers Don’t Lie
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–West Virginia has had plenty of issues this basketball season, but the worst of it had normally come on the road.
Here is a statistical breakdown of the Mountaineers’ loss:
• West Virginia is very poor in a lot of statistical categories this year, but in few areas is it worse than it is in offensive field goal percentage.
The Mountaineers are making just 41.3 percent of their shots this season, and that number is getting worse, not better.
In WVU’s 81-50 loss at Texas Tech on Tuesday, it made just 9-of-39 field goal attempts, which is 23.1 percent. Other than a 10-of-50 performance (20 percent) in a 62-39 loss to Cincinnati in the WVU Coliseum in 2008, you have to go back 80 years to find a worse Mountaineer shooting night.
Things were a little better against Texas, but not much, as West Virginia made only 35.3 percent (18-of-51).
It was the eighth game this season WVU has shot less than 40 percent from the field, and not surprisingly it is 0-8 in those games. West Virginia entered Saturday 302nd out of the 355 teams in Division 1 in offensive field goal percentage.
On the other end, the Mountaineers are 7-0 when making at least 45 percent of their field goal attempts, but unfortunately for WVU, it has managed to reach that plateau just twice (Kansas and at K-State) in its 11 Big 12 games.
• For all the bad, West Virginia did have one good stat Saturday – it equaled its low turnover total on the season, giving it away just six times against Texas. That’s only the fourth time this year WVU has had fewer than 12 turnovers in a contest. And it comes just one game after the Mountaineers tied a season-high with 26 turnovers at Texas Tech.
• While the Mountaineers have struggled mightily to make shots, their opponents rarely have. Texas made 45.3 percent of its field goal attempts Saturday, becoming the ninth Big 12 team to convert at least 45 percent when facing West Virginia. The only league team WVU has held under 42 percent was Texas Tech in Morgantown on Jan. 2 (38.2 percent), and Red Raiders still managed a 62-59 victory. West Virginia’s only league wins this season have come against Kansas and Oklahoma, which shot 43.6 and 42.0 percent against WVU respectively.
• Not surprisingly because of the field goal stats, the Mountaineers are last in the Big 12 in both offensive field percentage (39.5) and defensive field goal percentage (47.2) in league competition.
• Saturday’s 22-point margin of defeat was the worst West Virginia has suffered in the Coliseum since that 62-39 loss to Cincinnati on Jan. 30, 2008. WVU’s worst loss ever in the building was an 80-45 defeat at the hands of Connecticut in the 1998-99 season.
• West Virginia has lost 10 of its last 12 games this year, and five of those defeats have come by 17 points or more. This was the first of those decisive losses at home this season, though. Prior to Saturday, WVU was 9-4 at home, and only an 85-73 loss to Baylor came by more than eight points.
• The defeat sent West Virginia’s 2018-19 record to 10-14 overall and 2-9 in the Big 12. The Mountaineers have at least eight games left this year – seven in the regular season and at least one in the Big 12 Tournament. For the optimist, WVU needs to 6-2 down the stretch to reach .500 and be eligible for the postseason. For the pessimist, the Mountaineers have to go back 18 games through Dec. 1 to get an accumulation of six victories, so the odds of them finding another half dozen wins this season are very, very long.
Quotable – “I’m embarrassed this is happening,” said Mountaineer head coach Bob Huggins. “The people here have been fantastic. I’m embarrassed and don’t know what to do. My dad was sitting over there, and I can’t help but think how embarrassing it was for my dad to sit there and watch that.”