West Virginia coach Bob Huggins thinks college basketball’s power conferences need to embrace a controversial but financially rewarding idea.
Speaking at Big 12 Media Day on Wednesday, Huggins advocated for the sport’s elite conferences to break away from the NCAA and form their own tournament in order to earn a greater share of the profits.
“They’re doing it in football,” Huggins said, via Myron Medcalf of ESPN. “Why wouldn’t they do it? The presidents and athletic directors that have all the juice, why wouldn’t they do it? Makes no sense why they wouldn’t do it. I think it’s more ‘Why wouldn’t they?’ than ‘Why would they?’ And then, the other people, they can have their own tournament.
“Those Cinderella schools are putting 200 people, at best, in their gym. We’re putting 14,000.”
If you’re a stakeholder with one of these programs, the idea makes sense. The NCAA has an $8.8 billion TV deal for March Madness, and a good portion of that does trickle down to conferences and schools. However, Huggins’ concern is that much of the basketball money ends up being spent on football programs due to college football’s greater reach and viewership. A breakaway tournament, at least in Huggins’ mind, would ensure greater financial relevance and a bigger share of the financial pie for the schools involved.
Fans, however, would take some convincing. A playoff was an easy sell in college football because of the unpopular BCS system. College basketball already has a system that lets smaller teams earn the chance to compete, and sometimes beat, bigger schools. Those games have produced some of the tournament’s most memorable moments. Taking that away would likely be hugely unpopular. After all, few people have major complaints with the existing format of the NCAA Tournament.
Photo: Oct 20, 2021; Kansas City, MO, USA; West Virginia coach Bob Huggins during the question and answer session during the Big 12 Basketball Tipoffat T-Mobile Center. Mandatory Credit: William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports
West Virginia’s season is off to a rough start, and the Internet isn’t showing them any mercy either.
The No. 13-ranked Mountaineers were upset at home Friday in their opening game of the season, losing to Buffalo in overtime by the final of 99-94. An image of West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins looking unenthused in the closing stages of the loss quickly got the meme treatment on Twitter.
West Virginia was beaten at their own game on Friday night, and Bob Huggins wasn’t happy about it.
The famous “Press Virginia” defense was outdone by the Lumberjacks’ aggressive half-court traps and tight man-to-man defense, and the Mountaineers turned the ball over 22 times while forcing just seven from Stephen F. Austin. This came after a 20 turnover game in the Big 12 Tournament defeat against Kansas, and Coach Huggins wasn’t pleased.
In fairness, West Virginia averaged 14 turnovers per game all season, so this problem is relatively new. Still, the Mountaineers threw the ball away a lot at the worst time of year and paid dearly for it. Their matchup definitely didn’t help, though.
Daxter Miles Jr. is a West Virginia freshman who has become a household name for all the wrong reasons. Before the Mountaineers were blown out by Kentucky in the Sweet 16, Miles predicted his team was going to end the Wildcats’ undefeated season.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was not upset with the 18-year-old for providing bulletin board material. After the game, Huggins was asked if he thought Miles was partially responsible for Kentucky’s energy level.
“No. You know what, honestly, I think that’s a bunch of BS. I think once you throw the ball up, you play,” he said, via Elton Alexander of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It was a freshman that said it and I’m kind of happy he had some confidence. I’m kind of happy he wasn’t hiding under a chair somewhere, you know? There’s nothing wrong with having some confidence and wanting to go out and compete. They just were way better than we were.”
Thinking it — and saying it within the locker room — can breed the type of confidence Huggins was referring to. Saying it with a microphone in his face resulted in Miles becoming a punching bag on Twitter.
Maryland senior Dez Wells is used to being heckled about his checkered past during games. In 2012, Wells was kicked out of Xavier University after a fellow student accused him of rape. He claimed he was wrongly accused and later reached a settlement with Xavier after a federal judge ruled that the school used Wells as a scapegoat.
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins’ daughters, Jacque and Jenna, don’t seem to care about the judge’s ruling. During the Mountaineers 69-59 win over Maryland on Monday, they reportedly yelled some stuff at Wells from the crowd and later called him a “rapist.”
Bob Huggins' daughters are yelling at Dez Wells from the crowd at every chance (you can look up what they tweeted; I'm not getting involved)
Bob Huggins has coached his West Virginia Mountaineers squad to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, which is pretty impressive. Excuse him if he’d like to celebrate that for a second before beginning to worry about the death sentence of having to face Kentucky next.
After leading his team to a 69-59 win over Maryland, Huggy Bear was interviewed and asked whether his team has put together a blue print to beat the vaunted 36-0 Wildcats. He wasn’t interested in answering that question.
“I dunno, can I just enjoy this and not worry about that?” he asked rhetorically.
Huggins then went to say that Kentucky coach John Calipari actually called him three weeks ago and predicted they would end up in the same bracket.
“Cal called me about three weeks ago and said, ‘You know they’re going to put us in the same bracket, don’t you?’ The last three times we’ve been in the NCAA Tournament we’ve had to go through Kentucky to go anywhere, so we’re used to it,” Huggins said.
That’s not entirely correct — West Virginia did not face Kentucky in the 2012 tournament — but they did match up in 2011 and 2010. Huggins’ team did beat Kentucky in the Elite Eight in 2010 to reach the Final Four, though they lost to the Wildcats in the second round the following year. Something tells me they’re going to be tasting defeat once again this year.
West Virginia’s 68-62 win over 12 seed Buffalo in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday a statement game for Bob Huggins.
The Mountaineers were picked by many analysts as a team that would fall victim to the vaunted 12-5 upset. Analysts like CBS’ Doug Gottlieb, Seth Davis and ESPN’s Jay Bilas were all about the Bulls, who trailed most of the game and lost 68-62.
In the week leading up to the game, Huggins was asked about Gottlieb and Davis predicting an upset and had a great response. From the WV Metro News:
Huggins said he didn’t put much stock in predictions from “a guy who couldn’t shoot 50 percent at the free-throw line and another guy who played intramurals at Duke.”
Huggins must be a stat head because he was right — Gottlieb was a career 45.3 percent shooter from the line at Oklahoma State.
He continued his rant against analysts in his postgame news conference. He was asked whether he was motivated by people predicting the Buffalo upset.
“I’m really going to have lost my mind when I start paying attention to what Jay Bilas and those people say,” Huggins said via ASAP Sports. “Jay always does those tweets, gotta go to work, I’m trying to wonder what that is. But I don’t pay any attention to those guys. I mean really, honestly, if they knew everything they probably would have a pretty good coaching job making a lot more money than they’re making sitting there in the studio. So we don’t pay any attention to that.”
Scoreboard says: Bob Huggins 1, Analysts 0.
I have to admit I was part of that Buffalo hype, but it was clear during the game who the better team was. The Mountaineers were vastly superior to the Bulls and overwhelmed them for most of the contest. The game didn’t get close until the final few minutes when WVU stopped attacking and just started trying to waste clock, which nearly cost them.
As far as the analysts go, beware: Pick against Huggins at your own risk. That guy will go off on his own fans; you shouldn’t be surprised when he rips you!
West Virginia fan, rival fan or some random dude who really had to take a leak? That is what Mountaineers basketball coach Bob Huggins was left asking himself after looking at his surveillance footage earlier this week.
On Thursday, Huggins took to Twitter to ask if anyone can identify the balding man who appeared to be relieving himself on the side of the veteran coach’s house.
Thank goodness for gates and security systems, right? Hey, if someone can scale the White House fence and walk up to the front door of the most important residence in the United States, it can’t be that hard to pee on Bob Huggins’ house.
There was a quite bizarre occurrence during the West Virginia-South Florida game Sunday. The Mountaineers won 56-46 to improve to 13-5 and did so a man down. Sophomore Danny Jennings did not play in the game, and actually left the team about two minutes into the second half. Coach Bob Huggins didn’t know what to make of the situation after the game, saying “It’s unexcused. Inexcusable, he’ll never be seen again, I guess.”
It’s quite possible that Jennings got into a fight with his coach at halftime, because leaving his teammates during a game doesn’t make much sense. Huggins has been unhappy with Jennings’ attitude the entire season. If you recall, Danny and Truck Bryant were not invited to travel to the team’s game against VMI in November. Huggins was disappointed with the players’ practice efforts and disregard for the coach’s instructions.
The 6’8″ sophomore forward from Staten Island seemed to have plenty of talent but a bad attitude. If you can’t get along with Huggins — who generally has an excellent relationship with his players — then something must be wrong with you. Just leaving his team during a game probably says enough about Jennings’ attitude in itself. At least now the equipment team won’t have to worry about screwups anymore.
Man, this is the second time in a week that we saw a basketball version of a rivalry take a turn for the worst. First it was the Holy War on the hardwood, now it’s the Backyard Brawl. With a packed house of 15,419 — third most ever at the Coliseum — things got rowdy in Morgantown. West Virginia went wire-to-wire for the easy 70-51 win but there were two notable moments of tension. One was when the fans started throwing stuff on the court and the other was when a mini-brawl broke out. Check out Bob Huggins addressing the crowd after they started throwing crap on the court:
In case you can’t watch the video, here’s what Huggy-bear said:
“Hey, don’t throw anything on the floor. You could hurt someone. You could hurt one of the players. That’s stupid. If you see someone throw something on the floor point them out. Throw ’em out.”
I’m glad Huggins set a good example and tried to diffuse the problem. That’s probably much easier to do when your team is winning the game — by a comfortable margin no less. If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, things got worse when later in the game, one of Pitt’s assistants was pelted in the face by a coin.