Flu crushing West Virginia program

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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America is trying to get through flu season right now. One of the worst seasons in recent memory has people all over the country getting hospitalized and seeking relief.

This also applies to college basketball locker rooms. And West Virginia is getting crushed by the flu right now.

Head coach Bob Huggins spoke to reporters on Friday, including Matt Keller of Blue Gold News, as Huggins described a Mountaineers locker room that has been incredibly sick. Five players are currently dealing with the flu and flu-like symptoms on the eve of West Virginia’s Saturday Big 12 game with Kansas State as Huggins is working with a low-energy roster that could be missing a few players.

Two West Virginia players were hospitalized to receive IVs — including senior starter Daxter Miles Jr. The Mountaineers only had nine fully-healthy players before practice on Friday as they struggled to field two groups to go against each other.

“Dax is really feeling bad. He’s still sick. That’s been five or six days. He hasn’t practiced or played and still sounds and looks terrible. We are just trying to survive,” Huggins said to reporters Friday.

“Honestly I am just worried about having enough guys to play. I don’t know what all we can do. We are going to dummy through a bunch of stuff, but I don’t know what we can do. I don’t think we have ever had this many guys sick at one time. I don’t think there is any doubt the Iowa State game we had no legs. Try to save as much energy as we can. Hopefully some of them get better.”

The Mountaineers started this season 15-1 as they were the No. 2 team in the country three weeks ago. Recently in a tailspin, West Virginia has lost five of its last six games — including Wednesday night’s blowout loss to Iowa State. Looking tired and depleted, the Mountaineers gave up 53 first-half points to the Cyclones in that one. Knowing that West Virginia is dealing with a rare case of the flu spreading to this level, it makes sense why the Mountaineers didn’t look more like themselves in the Iowa State loss.

Even though the Mountaineer locker room is lethargic and sick, they have an important Big 12 game against Kansas State on Saturday. And the flu isn’t the only reason West Virginia has been struggling to pick up wins lately. Regardless of health and energy level, the Mountaineers’ defense has been inconsistent the last several weeks. And they still haven’t gotten junior forward Esa Ahmad rolling since his return to the rotation.

Kansas State, on the other hand, has won five of its last seven games. With only losses to in-state rival Kansas during that stretch, the Wildcats are playing with a lot of confidence right now.

West Virginia could really use a win to get its season back on track. But the Big 12, like the flu this season, is relentless. It’s going to be an uphill battle for the Mountaineers until they are healthy again.