It’s safe to say we are past the point of asking whether Press Virginia is sustainable. It’s also safe to say that WVU is a serious contender for not just the Big 12 Championship but the National Championship. The best question to ask is whether Bob Huggins deserves to win Coach of the Year.
As for that answer… it’s an obvious yes. Of course there’s still a lot of games to play and who knows what could happen in the next two months. However, as long as this team doesn’t fall very far in the rankings, he deserves it. If for nothing else, Huggins should receive the award to make up for the honor he should have won last year. Last season, he took a squad of relative unknowns (other than star guard Juwan Staten) and turned them into a Sweet Sixteen team. Not to mention, his star player, Staten, wasn’t nearly as good as he was the year before. He introduced the world to Press Virginia and found a way to win games by throwing a wrench in the framework of how college basketball was played.
I go back to last year to explain why this year is even more impressive. This team does have more talent and more experience with the press than last year’s team did. So you might think that it’s obvious that Press Virginia would run better this year, but you’d be wrong. Part of the appeal of last year’s Press Virginia seemed to be the fact that it was unknown and no one was accustomed to it. That is no longer a problem, especially for the rest of the Big 12 who now plays against it at least twice per season. Coach Huggins has found a way to keep it fresh and different so that Big 12 teams still find themselves flabbergasted by it. However, he also keeps it similar enough to his own players that the experience they gained from it last year is interpreted into success on the court. That is an amazing feat by a truly amazing coach.
Not only has this strange formula for success resulted in a good team. At this point, it has resulted in a great team. It’s not farfetched to say that this is the best team in college basketball right now after defeating Kansas handily and falling to Oklahoma in the closing seconds on the road. It’s obvious to anyone that knows anything about Kansas or Oklahoma, that the talent level between those teams and West Virginia is hardly comparable. That’s not to say the Mountaineers aren’t talented, but they aren’t able to consistently bring in the highly recruited players that end up going to Kansas or Oklahoma. But, behind coach Huggins, WVU is able to make it look like they are. In my dictionary, I call that coaching. There is no other reason for why this team is so good.
Bob Huggins is a legend of this league, and college basketball in general. He is in the midst of his best year of a head coach, in what has been an impressive career. I think it’s time to give the legend a little trophy for his closet. Heck, if all keeps going well, maybe it will be joined by a Big 12 and NCAA championship too. We’ll see.