WVU Not Alone in Big 12 Hoops Ups and Downs
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — If misery really does love company, West Virginia finds itself in a very crowded room.
Such is life in the Big 12.
In fact, right now, about the only team among the conference leaders that isn’t feeling the agony that comes along with defeat is Texas Tech, which blew out Kansas State on Saturday to lay claim to first place.
Kansas? Losers to Baylor by 16 points. Oklahoma? Forget it. The Sooners and Trae Young have lost six of their last eight, the latest being Saturday’s defeat by Iowa State.
And West Virginia?
It blew yet another second half lead and lost at home to Oklahoma State, 88-85, its sixth loss in the last nine games.
It has become roundball insanity, and it isn’t just a Big 12 thing.
This past week the nation’s No. 1, 2 and 3 teams — Villanova, Virginia and Purdue — lost and only Purdue lost to a ranked team.
“There’s nothing like this league,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said after Vladimir Brodziansky scored 25 points and Kouat Noi had his second straight career high with 18 in an 87-71 victory over Texas on Saturday.
TCU is WVU’s Monday night opponent as Bob Huggins has yet another of his five Saturday/Monday turnarounds with the game set at the Coliseum for 9 p.m.
“I’ve been in other leagues that have been called the best league, maybe in history. There were bad teams in some of those leagues. We don’t have that in this league. Every team is good, top to bottom,” Dixon added.
His words were similar to what Kansas coach Bill Self expressed last Monday during the Big 12 coaches conference call, before his team suffered a fourth league loss.
“Whenever the leaders in the league have as many losses as the leaders in this league has, sometimes it give the appearance of mediocrity,” he said on Thursday morning’s Big 12 coaches conference call.
“That’s not true at all.”
In fact, Self proclaims, it’s a sign of strength, not weakness.
“It’s just that everybody can play,” he said, just before he added a really strong endorsement of what the Big 12 has become.
“I’ve never seen a league this deep,” he said.
All that has happened has left everyone perplexed, even WVU’s Bob Huggins, who really didn’t know how to answer when asked how critical a loss his to Oklahoma State was on Saturday.
“It depends on what happens on Monday and then the Saturday after that,” he said. “It wasn’t just another day. It’s never just another day.”
And Monday is no gimme against TCU, a team that beat WVU, 82-71, on its home court in January.
The Horned Frogs are a hot team, coming off a solid victory over Texas as they vie for an NCAA berth after a slow start in league play. They have overcome the loss of their point guard, Jalen Fisher, and have been improving nightly.
“We knew we had to get better defensively. We’ve known that and we’re getting there. We’ve been better the last few games.,” Dixon said. “We had a horrible first half against Texas Tech. Every other game we have played well. Defense has been our weakness and we’ve shown improvement.”
After giving up 88 points to Oklahoma State, it’s WVU’s turn to show some defensive improvement.