Huggins: Rebounding Key vs Texas

Bob Huggins said West Virginia rebounded nicely from the emotional loss to Oklahoma State – which is a key, as the Mountaineers play host to Texas tonight at 7 p.m.

"They were great in practice yesterday," Huggins said. "We are going to shoot around and I totally expect they will be ready to go."

WVU, 10-6 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12, will lock horns with a Texas team which is 12-4 overall, but already with a pair of conference losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and the same three-point margin of victory over Texas Tech the Mountaineers enjoyed. The Longhorns rank 11th in the nation in rebounding (41.8 per game) and 69th in scoring (77.8 ppg), but have struggled in distribution despite mostly even scoring across the line-up.

"I think they've got great balance," Huggins said. "Their bigs have gotten a lot better. They've gotten better at the offensive end. They've always been a great rebounding team. But I think they have more balance. They have more guys who pass and their shot selection has been terrific."

Texas, which was swept by West Virginia last season in the home-and-home series by a combined six points, has some exceptional nonconference victories, including over then-No. 14 North Carolina 86-83 in Chapel Hill on Dec. 18. The ‘Horns have also topped Temple, Vanderbilt and DePaul. UT lost to No. 5 Michigan State and BYU.

West Virginia, 30th in the country points per game at 80.6, must be cognisant of Texas' ability on the boards. WVU is 103rd in rebounding at 37.3 per game, with 6-1 point guard Juwan Staten ranking second on the team with 6.1 boards per contest. Forward Devin Williams leads with 8.1. No other player averages more than 3.6.

"We've challenged our guards to go help us rebound," Huggins said. "They accepted that challenge. (Juwan) is a great athlete. He's not very big, but he's a great athlete.

Huggins was also again asked about the final seconds of the loss to Oklahoma State.

"We got what we wanted," Huggins said. "We wanted a switch and we got a switch. Juanny got to the rim and we have Devin coming for the rebound. Honestly, (OSU guard) Marcus (Smart) made a hell of a play. He's over there on the wing. A lot of guys would just have quit playing. But he came and kept Devin from getting it on the rim. It's a tremendous tribute to his ability to continue to play through plays."


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