Bob Huggins spent one season (2006-07) at Kansas State before returning to take over as coach at his alma mater. Throughout his career, Huggins' teams have been rugged defenders and rebounders. In their first season in the Big 12, the Mountaineers hope to get a boost from three newcomers who sat out last season after transferring from Division I programs. One of those, 6-10 sophomore center Aaric Murray, could combine with 6-9 senior Deniz Kilicli to give West Virginia an imposing front line.
Coach: Bob Huggins, 120-56 in 5 seasons, 710-267 in 30 seasons.
Last season: 19-14 overall, 9-9 in Big East Conference.
NCAA Tournament: Lost to Gonzaga in second round.
Senior center Deniz Kilicli (10.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg), sophomore guard Aaron Brown (4.2 ppg), sophomore guard Jabarie Hinds, (7.4 ppg, team-high 108 assists), sophomore forward Kevin Noreen, sophomore guard Gary Browne, sophomore center Aaric Murray, sophomore guard Juwan Staten, senior guard Matt Humphrey.
Coach Huggins says
"We're going to try and play a little faster. We're going to try to up the tempo and play a little faster and do maybe some of the things that we did when I was at Cincinnati than what we've done. I didn't really like playing as slow as we had to play, but I like losing less. You have to do what you have to do."
West Virginia has three transfers from Division I schools who are eligible this season: Aaric Murray (LaSalle), Juwan Staten (Dayton), Matt Humphrey (Boston College). ... Since Bob Huggins returned to his alma mater, West Virginia has made the NCAA Tournament five consecutive years. That's the best run in school history since 1955-60. ... West Virignia had defeated 20 nationally ranked teams under Huggins. Eight of those victories came over top 10 foes during the last four seasons. ... West Virginia played six overtime games last season, tied for the most in the country. The Mountaineers won four. One of those overtime defeats came against Baylor, an 83-81 loss last December. ... West Virginia was 15-6 overall and 5-2 in the Big East when Kevin Noreen was lost with a broken ankle. The Mountaineers lost eight of their last 12. Noreen, a 6-10 sophomore, doesn't produce individual numbers but he helps a team win.
Nov. 12 at Gonzaga
Top nonconference games
Dec. 5 vs. Marshall
Dec. 8 vs. Virginia Tech
Dec. 15 vs. Michigan
Jan. 19 at Purdue
Jan. 5 vs. Oklahoma