WVU plays at Iowa State on Wednesday and at Purdue on Saturday in its final nonconference game of the regular season. Three of the Mountaineers next four games are on the road after getting two of three at home to start Big 12 play.
“We would rather not do it,” Huggins said of playing a road game in the midst of the league slate. “It’s a combination of television and not being able to find a suitable date in the pre-conference schedule.”
West Virginia essentially forced Marshall to reschedule the Capital Classic to December, or cancel the series. The Big 12 prefers its teams play just one out-of-conference game in the middle of league play, and that game should be a nationally-televised contest. Marshall fit neither bill, and thus that game was moved in favor of Purdue and the 2 p.m. CBS time slot.
Point guard Juwan Staten, who was promptly removed and benched during the Texas game on Wednesday, also did not play in the Saturday’s outing versus Kansas State. The sophomore, who had some control battles with former Dayton and current Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory before his transfer from UD, will travel with WVU to Ames, Iowa and the coaching staff will evaluate his status from that point.
“Everybody has to be on the same page. If everybody isn’t on the same page you don’t have a very good team,” Huggins said. “We all make mistakes. He is going to travel and we have two days of practice before Iowa State. We will see where everything is and what happens from there.”
Huggins also noted that West Virginia might continue to bring Aaric Murray off the bench. The junior has played well as a non-starter, and averages a team-best 10.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Staten averages 10.5 points.
“I’m not sure what we are doing,” Huggins said. “We very well could bring him off the bench. He is getting better. We’ve got to get him to not take some plays off. He is getting better every time out.”
West Virginia, which has filled its class of 2013 but continues to recruit at least one other player in Martinsburg (W.Va.) High’s Dante Grantham, will continue to look at transfers whenever possible, Huggins said. WVU current has a handful of transfers, including Staten, Murray and Matt Humphrey, as well as former junior college players.
“I’ve kinda liked it,” Huggins said of taking transfers. “We haven’t had a whole bunch. We have had a few that turned out really well for us. I had a lot of transfers when I was at Akron. I like it. It’s just that, with us, going from 15 scholarships to 13 scholarships, you’re trying to fill needs and, generally, transfers happen after the season, and we have already filled scholarships.”
On Big 12 travel and the NCAA rules that state teams must return to campus after games: “I think, with conference expansion and the different geography, some rules become antiquated. We just started school today, so we haven’t been in school this whole time. I think it would have been advantageous, at times, to stay rather than come back. So I think you will see rule change as the landscape of college athletics changes.
“I thought we were fine Saturday, I thought we played really hard and had good energy. I don’t think it’s a one-shot deal. I think at the end of the season we will have to take a good, hard look at the cumulative effect and what we can do to make it better.”
On shooting 51 percent against Kansas State: “I thought we got better shots and did a better job of getting quality shots,” Huggins said. “Obviously, we didn’t get enough of them. I don’t know. I’d rather shoot 30 percent and win than 51 percent and lose. We are getting better. We, really, on the perimeter play three sophomores and two freshmen. I think we get better and better all the time. The more experience they get, the better we get.