WVU Hoping to Stay Hot vs. Texas

Staff Writer
Posted Feb 13, 2014

As this weekend's showdown against No. 19 Texas continues to approach, head coach Bob Huggins has had a simple message for his team.

With West Virginia playing as well as it has over the last couple of weeks, another win against a top 25 team that is among the top 50 in the RPI will provide the Mountaineers with another much-needed quality win for their resume.

Since starting the current streak it's on, a streak that has seen WVU win four out of five, it has shot up the ranks - turning into a potential bubble team that, with a couple more good victories down the stretch, could steal an at-large bid in this year's NCAA tournament. Heading into the game. West Virginia is 15-10 with a 7-5 record in Big 12 play, but has beaten just four of the 12 teams it has faced that were ranked in the top 100.

"It's a great chance to move up in the RPI," Huggins said. "In the history of the Big 12, I think there have been six teams or something like that that haven't made it to the tournament if they're (higher than) 50 in the RPI. We're moving in that direction now."

Throughout this recent run of success, the Mountaineers have went away from their usual starting lineup and have started experimenting with a different five to start the game. Huggins has inserted junior forward Remi Dibo into the lineup has started the last four games, usually in place of either freshman Devin Williams or junior Kevin Noreen in the frontcourt.

Huggings admitted that the switch could, perhaps, cost WVU at times in the rebounding category, but it has undoubtedly given it an advantage that is a little more important.

"I like to win more than I like to rebound," Huggins said. "That gives us the best chance to win. We can keep the floor spread better that way."

As things have continued to turn around, the Mountaineers have talked about the improved chemistry among this year's group - something that had been evident at times early on in the season. But what has happened as the season has gone on is the evolution of a young team that enjoys playing with one another and is getting better with each game.

"We made some mistakes due to lack of knowledge that cost us games early, but in terms of camaraderie I think they've had that from the beginning," Huggins said.

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