WVU outclassed by better Texas team

It was one of the first things that Bob Huggins pointed to following No. 16 West Virginia's loss to No. 20 Texas Saturday night.

It's easy for those Mountaineer faithful watching the game to point to officiating - citing the 30 fouls West Virginia was called for in a game that saw three Mountaineers foul out of the contest before the 77-50 defeat was officially in the books.

But at the end of the day, the truth looked pretty plain to see not long after the two teams tipped off in Austin. West Virginia was just outmanned and outclassed by a Texas team that, at least on this day, was much better than WVU was.

By all accounts this is one of the worst games in recent memory for West Virginia, and one of the worst performances of the Huggins era in Morgantown. West Virginia shot 24.1 percent against the Longhorns, a number that is the third-worst shooting performance in school history, and it hasn't had fewer assists in a game since 1987.

West Virginia came into this game wanting to prove that it really had improved by showing it against a team that had dominated it three times a year ago, including the time the Longhorns ran the Mountaineers out of the Sprint Center in last year's Big 12 Conference tournament. The Mountaineer bigs came in talking about how they were ready to attack Texas' loaded frontcourt that includes the likes of Cameron Ridley, Jonathan Holmes and Myles Turner - among a handful of other very solid contributors. But WVU looked like a team that wasn't able to cut it, and it should be a bit concerning. The Mountaineers didn't make shots, and as a result wasn't able to get into the press that has been able to give opponents fits all season.

The Big 12 is a big and physical league. If West Virginia is going to succeed in conference play and get back to the NCAA tournament and do the things that it has the potential to do, it will have to have guys like Devin Williams and Jonathan Holton match up against opposing big men and go toe-to-toe with them without getting into foul trouble and having to sit on the bench.

Even aside from the way the Longhorn bigs performed against them, the Mountaineers just didn't have it. Even Juwan Staten continued to struggle, finishing just 1-for-7 from the field with three points and had zero assists. It was Staten's first time with no assists in 66 games - dating back to his first season at West Virginia when he was a sophomore against, you guessed it, Texas.

There's a reason Texas has had WVU's number dating back to last year, and it was abundantly clear Saturday night.

At the end of the day, Texas is just a better team. Of course, that doesn't mean West Virginia is a bad team. I'm still convinced that the Mountaineers can be a good Big 12 team, but this is a game that should cause some worry. Teams got a really good look at the recipe to beat West Virginia.

It helps to have bigs as talented as the ones Texas put on the court, but if a team can be aggressive going after WVU's frontcourt and uses a solid zone defense that forces WVU to shoot them out of it, you can get the Mountaineers on the ropes if things don't go their way.

Luckily for WVU, the Mountaineers' next game won't come for another week when they host TCU. By then, I'm sure adjustments will be made, but WVU has to find a way to bounce back and not let this loss get to them too much.

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