It looks like Bob Huggins has gotten West Virginia back to the point of being relevant nationally.
The Mountaineers are currently ranked No. 14 nationally, have lost just one game this season and are already 2-0 in the Big 12 this season. Those Big 12 wins are not overly impressive — TCU and Texas Tech, even on the road, aren’t season-defining wins — but they’re notable nonetheless given the fact that Juwan Staten had the flu on the Mountaineer road trip.
He didn’t play against TCU.
He did play against Texas Tech, but he wasn’t 100 percent.
“When I first went out there, my body felt a little weird, a little jittery, and my wind was all over the place,” Staten said. “I think I was tired right after the jump ball. The first possession I was tired. The first half, I tried to find a rhythm and juggle my conditioning. Halftime gave me a chance to sit down and rest and I feel like I came back out in the second half fresher.”
Huggins? He was a fan of this.
“When I walked in the locker room (after the game), they said, ‘Wanny’s in there throwing up in a trash can,’” Huggins said. “I said, ‘Good. That’s a good thing. That’s what men do. Men go out and do their jobs.’ That’s what men do. Don’t let a little cold bother you. Go out there and play. Sweat it out.”
It’s that kind of mindset that has turned the Mountaineers into a factor this season. This is a throwback Bob Huggins team, albeit one that is pressing full court. They’re not all that skilled and there may not be an NBA player on the roster, but they’re big and athletic and tough, and they’ll play as hard as any team in the country. You’re going to be in for a fight when you play West Virginia this season, and if there’s one thing we know about Huggy Bear, it’s that he hasn’t lost many fights in his life, and neither have his teams.
And a little cold isn’t going to bother them.