Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 11, 2013

WVU's Huggins hopes for deep run in Big 12 tourney

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia coach Bob Huggins isn't about to give up on a lousy season just yet.

As unpredictable as the Big 12 has been this season, even Huggins is hopeful that the Mountaineers will do well in the conference tournament.

"I think we can still make a run," Huggins said Monday.

Anything short of a berth in the conference tournament championship game will give Huggins his worst record in terms of percentage in 31 seasons as a head coach and his first losing season since he went 12-14 with Akron in 1984-85. His only other losing mark was 14-16 with Walsh College in 1980-81.

It also would mean West Virginia will sit out the NCAA tournament for the first time in Huggins' six seasons at his alma mater. He took the Mountaineers to the Final Four in 2010.

Eighth-seeded West Virginia (13-18, 6-12 Big 12) will take a six-game losing streak into Wednesday night's opener with ninth-seeded Texas Tech (10-19, 3-15) in Kansas City, Mo. The winner gets Kansas in the quarterfinals.

Huggins is the third-winningest active coach in Division I, but he's been stuck on win No. 723 for quite some time.

"We've just got to be able to put it together," Huggins said. "I think if we put it together, we're not that far away from being able to beat some pretty good people."

Scoring has been the main problem. No players are averaging in double figures. If it ends up that way, it's the first time that will happen at West Virginia since 1944.

Freshman Eron Harris leads the team at 9.9 points per game. No freshman has led the Mountaineers in scoring since Warren Baker in 1973.

Veteran players that Huggins had counted on to be the centerpieces of the team have performed well in small bursts, then disappeared. West Virginia didn't have a player named to The Associated Press all-Big 12 team on Monday.

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