The ball is tipped…

That’s my jam. Forever.

A reminder to you to remind other people that there’s still time left to join our bracket.

Password: itwasaredjacket

Scoop & Score starts at 9 a.m. and I need not tell you what we’ll be talking about today. Randy McClure from Rush the Court will be with me to preview the tournament. I’ll cover some conspiracy theories and how to literally grow the game and then we’ll put a ribbon on WVU’s season. Listen live!

(Update: Podcast! This was fun.)

Speaking of, when the end arrived Tuesday night and we sought some answers, we got some answers about how WVU went from 14-9 to 17-16. One more or less proves the Mountaineers were not ready to be better than what they turned out to be.

“I think we stopped listening,” said forward Kevin Noreen. “Coaches question that every day: ‘Are you guys listening?’ That’s probably the main problem. I still think guys listen to the scouting reports. They listen to what’s expected and what to expect in games. But at the end of the day, when Huggs tries to talk to someone one-on-one, sometimes it went in one ear and out the other with a few guys.”

I’ll buy it as an explanation and as the outcome. As Bob Huggins put it, your relationship with the game is a lot like your relationship with your girlfriend. If you don’t pay attention to her, she’s not going to be around very long.

Absolutely unrelated … I’m sure a lot of us are digging in for several consecutive hours of basketball today. We’ll open the post for that and for any other comments. Enjoy!

22 Responses to “The ball is tipped…”

  1. pknocker40 says:

    I still prefer this version:

  2. hoot says:

    Basketball is a lot like a clothes dryer…what you get out of it depends on what you put into it. I’m wondering if we still have an Aaric Murray (or two)on this team..i.e.
    will they ever get it?

  3. 50yrfan says:

    Players may not be listening to Huggs or has he reached a point in his career where he can’t get through to this generation of players. He couldn’t get through to Murrey who went on to lead his conference in scoring, best player of the year, best defensive player of the year etc. Murrey didn’t face the same level of competition this year as the B12 but even at that if Huggs could have get him to half that level it would have helped. Mike Davis found a way.

  4. jtmountaineer says:

    I don’t think it’s fair to compare anyone on this current roster to Aaric Murray. Dude’s 25 and on his third chance, counting the various chances previous coaches gave him as only one each, and his problems were motivational and attitudinal. I don’t see that with anyone on this team. Aside from Noreen, Browne, and Staten, I see youth. Harris was better this year than last, but having been asked to do much more this year, the holes in his game were more obvious. If next year he’s the same defensive liability and turnover threat when doing more with the ball than shooting, and if he’s the same weight, we can rightfully call him out for being stubborn. I don’t think you can say as much about Terry this year due to injuries and illness. And of course, the others are freshmen and Dibo, who’s only in his first, and unfortunately last, year in the program. With all of them, we’ll see what happens.

  5. I love you, Doug! says:

    Didn’t we tip out a 40 for Doug Rigg here a few months ago on the end of his football career? Or was it only his college football career? I see he’s prepping for a pro day.

  6. Rugger says:

    Huggs’ primary problem has been recruiting though that has improved a bit the past year or two. He proved he can still coach by getting this limited group to .500 in a tough Big 12.

    It must be real difficult getting top talent to come to Morgantown as compared to UC when you consider former Huggs asst. Mick (stand up when I’m talkin to ya) Cronin has some studs on his team and he’s only half the coach (literally) that Huggs is.

    Personally, my expectations for Huggs when he came in were way too high knowing what I know now. I’ve now adjusted those to expect an NCAA Tourney run every four or five years.

  7. smeer says:

    Noreen gave us a small hint into motivation/mental make-up of the team

    my wife works at a title-1 school – kids who are starting behind the starting line in terms of home life, etc. some of these kids get so much verbal and physical abuse at home that when they come to school, a screaming teacher doesn’t faze them

    My ONLY point (for Mack’s benefit) is that IF Huggs only has one volume at practice (and this I do not know), the players will eventually get used to volume and not be motivated by it.

    obviously, we’d like all these kids to be (not Bill) self-motivated like Staten. But some don’t wake to this until upper-classman. and others rely on that external motivation (how many kids on signing day say they came here because Huggs would make them a better player?)

    Carrot or stick or both? my assumption is Huggs uses a stick (treadmill still around?) far more than the carrot (NCAA birth)

    the carrot will only serve as an incentive if:
    The donkey is hungry enough.
    The carrot is sweet enough.
    The load is light enough.
    A combination of the above.

    And I would add – the carrot is attainable.

    The team was 14-9 and all was right in the world and the kids saw visions of The Dance. But then a mini-losing streak . . .

    My guess is when the NCAA bid (carrot) started to fade, the stick stopped working as well.

    I also wonder if Huggs is trying to figure out what will motivate these kids. He’s trying it all. But some of that has to come from the players – they have to self police and put pressure on one another to put in the work. No Seniors on this squad didn’t help. Last year, Rutledge and Kilichli . . . (didn’t help). Two years without senior leadership

    I asked this question last year about this time. Who will lead this team? Noreen has the right attitude, but without production on the floor can he lead? Staten stepped up in a major way on the floor, will he become more vocal – positive and negative – as a Senior? Eron wants to lead . . .?

    Winning cures a lot. Being in the hunt. And that ultimately has to translate into winning the half, winning the next five minutes, winning the next possession. What others have spelled out, when Eron or Dibo lose on the O end, they forfeit on the D end as well. And that is very un-Huggs-like. This team could not overcome a ten point deficit all season. Partly that was athleticism and experience. But part of it was mental too.

  8. Fake Mack says:

    I have no idea what you just said, but you could have said it in a hundred fewer words.

  9. Faux Mack says:

    Nice post but have you ever won the bracket here?

  10. SheikYbuti says:

    Thank you, Dayton; off on the right foot.

  11. jtmountaineer says:

    Ah, yes. Brings back memories from five years ago when we were the 6 getting upset by 11-seed Dayton.

  12. hershy112 says:

    Totally forgot to get my bracket in, so I guess I’m sitting it out this year. Unless Mike will take an emailed version.

    For the record, I’ve got Florida, Michigan State, Creighton, and Wichita State in the final four. I also had Dayton to kick things off, and have Harvard over Cincinnati.

  13. smeer says:

    fake (lol)

  14. eer81 says:

    Saw a clip on the Houston Fox sports affiliate about Aaric Murray. Rest of the story is John Lucas got involved with his rehab, that is what “changed” him. Did find this article online which covers some of the same things – not sure it would have happened for him in Morgantown…

    “At West Virginia, I probably partied too much, went out too much, got into too much trouble,” Murray said. “I feel like everything I did at La Salle or West Virginia was all based on me making bad decisions.”

  15. Ccteam says:

    Huggs can still coach. Recruiting has been an issue. Too many recruits have not made it to the court or leave. If Holton and the other big (his name escapes me) had been eligible this year Dibo and Watkins would have redshirted and Williams would not have been counted on so heavily. It would have been a much better team. Harris would have consistently committed to better defense or he would have given up playing time as well because he and Henderson wouldn’t have been on the court at the same time nearly as much.

  16. glibglub says:

    Well, Warren Buffett’s billion is safe from me.

  17. Rugger says:

    I’d be a mess with a billion dollars.

  18. Bill says:

    JT—why do you say Dibo is in his last year? He has another year of eligibility.

  19. jtmountaineer says:

    Bill, I misspoke/typed. Meant this was his first, and next year’s his last.

    Didn’t get my bracket into the competition, but for the sake of posterity and bragging rights, let me say I picked Oklahoma State to go to the Final Four.

  20. jtmountaineer says:

    And let me add that I also had Duke in the championship game.

  21. smeer says:

    bracket challenge – coming around the far turn, it’s a three horse race

    Yolo, rickb and B12eer

    Wisconsin, Florida or Michigan State?

    whoever wins the NC determines Tier4 bragging rights

    Mike C – led from the gate but faded down the backstretch

  22. smeer says:

    and then there was two . . .

    B12err pulled up lame down the stretch

    rickb has the lead, while yolo, back in the pack, is the only one with closing speed to catch rick.