If things had played out the way they were originally planned, the West Virginia men’s basketball team would still be in the state of Texas on Wednesday and Thursday. Those plans changed, however, when the Big 12 announced conference schedule changes yesterday and the Mountaineers were able to head back to Morgantown following their win over TCU Tuesday evening.
The Big 12’s schedule revision canceled WVU’s game at No. 2 Baylor scheduled for Thursday. After playing Texas in Austin on Saturday and TCU in Fort Worth on Tuesday, the Mountaineers would have taken a bus to Waco for their final game on Thursday. WVU coach Bob Huggins said the entire team was happy when they heard they would be heading back to West Virginia a couple of days early.
“I think we’re all happy to go home,” Huggins said. “We’ve only played two games but it seems like a lot more. It’s just good to be able to get home and sleep in your own bed.”
In addition to the cancelation, the Big 12’s new schedule also added three home games for the Mountaineers for next week, against TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma State. West Virginia is now scheduled to finish the regular season with four straight home games, against Kansas State, Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State.
Senior Taz Sherman said the team was excited when they learned they would close the season with multiple games in the WVU Coliseum.
“Finishing at home is a great thing for us. We love our fans and just being able to play four straight home games is a blessing for us,” Sherman said. “Of course, we wanted to play [Baylor] out here because we would have had something to gain from that game, but going home and playing four straight games is definitely a win for us.”
“I think they’re happy to go home,” Huggins said of his players. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that they’re happy to go home and they’re happy to be able to play in the Coliseum in front of some home fans. This crowd here and some of the other crowds are really good at heckling them and it’s nice to be able to go home and have people cheering for you.”
One of the downsides of the new schedule is that WVU will now play four games over the span of eight days. Huggins said might concern him given the Big 12 tournament starts just four days after their final game and the NCAA tournament begins almost immediately after that.
“You wonder about the cumulative effect, in terms of the conference tournament and the NCAA tournament. That would be my only concern,” Huggins explained. “Can we play four games in six days? Yeah, we can. It’s how does that affects us the next week and, more importantly, the week after that.”