(Bob Huggins pregame Zoom conference)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — If all games on WVU’s next road trip are played as scheduled, the Mountaineers will complete their slate of Big 12 Conference road games. The trouble is that Bob Huggins’ crew will have to play three games in a span of six days, starting Saturday afternoon at Texas. Tip time in Austin is set for 3 p.m.
The game will take place despite the aftermath from a historic winter storm that has left Austin and many other areas throughout Texas with massive disruptions in power and water service.
No. 13 West Virginia (14-6, 7-4 Big 12) is scheduled to face TCU (11-8, 4-6 Big 12) Tuesday in Fort Worth and No. 2 Baylor (17-0, 9-0 Big 12) Thursday in Waco.
“We are taking guys out of class for a week. We then have a conference tournament in which they are out of class. And we then have an NCAA Tournament in which they are out of class. That’s a concern. Certainly the weather is a concern. Travel is a concern. There’s a lot of concerns,” said Huggins.
West Virginia opened the season with three games in three days in South Dakota at the BadBoy Mowers Crossover Classic.
“I can’t remember the last time we played three games in six days that wasn’t a pre-conference situation. We did that in South Dakota this year but the difference is the other teams were doing the same thing.
“Playing in South Dakota probably will have helped us because that’s what you do there, you play the game and then you go back to the hotel and you watch film and try to break things down and figure out what we can do to be successful.”
West Virginia has played only five of their nine Big 12 home games. The Mountaineers are scheduled to host Kansas State on February 27. Games at the Coliseum against Baylor, Oklahoma State and TCU have yet to be rescheduled. Only two weeks remain in the regular season, making it unlikely that all games can be played.
“The wish and the expectation of the league is to play as many games as you can possibly play. Television plays a big part of this.
“It is not in anybody’s best interest to play three games in six days.”
Texas closed the first meeting with West Virginia on a 7-0 run to defeat the Mountaineers, 72-70 on January 9 at the Coliseum. Andrew Jones buried a 3-pointer from the wing with 1.8 seconds left to seal the Longhorn victory.
The Longhorns (13-5, 7-4) and the Mountaineers are tied for fourth place in the Big 12 Conference with matching 7-4 league records. This will be UT’s second home game since February 3. Just like the Mountaineers, the Longhorns are coming off a week-long break.
“They are playing about the same way. I think Shaka (Smart) has got seemingly a lot more confidence in his bench. He is playing his bench more than he did at that point in time. I think we all are.”
Huggins says that senior guard Taz Sherman, who was limited to 16 minutes in the Oklahoma game due to a groin injury, is improving with the team having a week between games.
“He was very good yesterday,” Huggins said. “He is shooting the ball pretty well.”