Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 11, 2012

Column: WVU eyes Gonzaga game for answers

Column by MICKEY FURFARI
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

MORGANTOWN — Coach Bob Huggins will be looking for firm answers to some questions he has about the West Virginia men’s basketball team on Monday night.

That’s when the Mountaineers, loaded with size and experience, open the regular season against Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash. The contest is scheduled to begin at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.

Huggins, the nation’s fourth winningest active coach, voiced several reasons for his unhappiness after last Thursday’s 95-53 exhibition victory against Glenville State at the Coliseum.

Huggins lamented, “After today, I don’t know if I want to play. I’ve got some guys if they don’t play harder than what they did today, I really don’t need them to play.

“We went through supposedly trying to grow up. If they haven’t grown up by now, they’re not going to grow up.”

Huggins was especially disappointed by what he considered a lack of effort by some of his players.

Against Glenville State, West Virginia shot 50 percent from the field (37 of 74) and forced 26 turnovers. But there were some areas in which he thought he found there were flaws.

Gonzaga, ranked No. 21 in preseason polls, defeated WVU 77-54 last season to eliminate the Mountaineers from the NCAA tournament.

Deniz Kilicli, who is expected to be a leader of WVU’s team, readily admitted that he saw several mistakes that need correcting. The veteran 6-foot-9 forward had a team-high 19 points in the exhibition game.

He said “If we played Gonzaga (Tuesday), I wouldn’t know what would happen. We are not 100 percent in a ‘go’ mode.”

But the Mountaineers still had three guys to prepare before leaving for Monday’s midnight search for revenge.

Huggins mentions some things that needed fixed. He stated, “We didn’t’ run the floor. We didn’t get the loose balls. We didn’t pass the ball very well.

“There’s a lot of stuff to do.”

However, Huggins remains hopeful that his players will measure up to their potential and go all out against Gonzaga.

“We’re going to go out there and play like crazy,” he said. “At least we’ll know what we have to fix or how food we are or how bad we are.

“I would rather do that than schedule five games that we win by 30 or 40 and we mask our problems. Then, all of a sudden, the reality sets in and you don’t have as much time to fix it.”

After Monday’s game, West Virginia won’t play against until Nov. 22-25 in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla.

The first home game after that will be Nov. 28 against VMI in the Coliseum.