Inconsistency Still Plaguing WVU At End Of Regular Season
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Paging Dr. Freud, Dr. Sigmund Freud. Stat!
That was the announcement you expected to hear moments after West Virginia’s bipolar men’s basketball team ended its regular season with an 87-79 overtime loss to Texas in Austin.
It was a game that personified a team that brings a different personality to every game, whose season has taken so many twists and that it leaves its fans needing a house call from Dr. Freud.
Which are the real Mountaineers?
Is it the group that was turned into a German pancake in its season opener against Texas A&M? Is it the group that beat the nation’s No. 1 team, Virginia, at home? Is it the team that won 15 straight? Is it the team that lost eight of its last 14?
It started the season as “Press Virginia”, a team known for playing full court pressure for 40 minutes and wound up seldom really turning up the heat, something coach Bob Huggins explained was “two fold” why they didn’t keep it up.
“You don’t want to get JC and Dax in foul trouble,” Huggins said referring to his senior guards Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles. “We’re not as deep as we were. It’s hard to get those guys off the floor.
“People don’t understand we have two seniors and one junior and the rest are freshmen and sophomores. Reality is we’re not just one of the youngest teams in the league, we’re one of the youngest teams in the country.”
Some games these young players rebounded, others they didn’t. Saturday at Texas, facing a team playing without the league’s best rebounder, Mo Bamba, who was out with a toe injury, the Mountaineers did not rebound.
The stats showed the Mountaineers with 32 rebounds and Texas with 37. And while WVU did get 14 offensive rebounds, their starting five got just five of them, with only two not taken down by Sagaba Konate.
“We don’t rebound the ball anymore,” Huggins said. “We got more guys standing and watching. I’ve been doing everything I know for the last two weeks. It was late in the season and I didn’t want to wear out their legs. I didn’t want to put them on the treadmill. I’m going to have to start putting them there, though.”
The truth be known, this team’s had a split personality not only from game to game this year, but from half to half.
Think Kentucky. Think Kansas. Think Kansas again.
Big leads became big losses, troubling losses that kept this from being a premier season.
The last couple of games, Esa Ahmad and Daxter Miles Jr. had found themselves, but Saturday they were lost, combining to make just 6-of-18 shots while missing all five 3-point attempts.
So how do you prepare for the next game when you don’t know which one will be on hand?
The only thing the Mountaineers have been consistent at is being inconsistent.
OK, not as inconsistent as the Big 12 officiating is, this having been another day when twice as many fouls (26) were called on WVU than on Texas (13), but it’s close. Texas, by the way, was not charged with a foul during the five-minute overtime.
About all WVU could really count on throughout the year from start to finish was senior Jevon Carter, who keeps playing like the Big 12 Player of the Year, even including in this game where his numbers didn’t pop out at you, although his play in the clutch moments did.
So it is West Virginia was left to fly home as a No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, that not being decided until it saw Texas Tech defeat TCU later Saturday — but rest assured Huggins will have them back at work as quickly as he can … right after their group session with Dr. Freud ends.
The Mountaineers will open the Big 12 Tournament late Thursday night with a game against Baylor, a team WVU swept in the regular season, but a team that may be just as desperate to win as Texas was Saturday.