Huggs: Big 12 "hardest league I've been in"

West Virginia is getting a quick taste of just how difficult the Big 12 Conference is going to be on a nightly basis pretty quickly.

In the span of eight days, the Mountaineers faced three teams that were ranked in the top 20 of the AP poll - finishing that stretch 1-2 with a close loss at home to No. 11 Iowa State before being routed on the road by No. 20 Texas, with a blowout victory at home over No. 18 Oklahoma in between.

And the rest of the season will be much of the same when it comes to the constant challenges that will come at them from a league in which 80 percent of its teams are either in the top 25 or receiving votes. Even for West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins, the league is like something he has never seen before.

"It's the hardest league I've ever been in," the veteran head coach said Monday during the Big 12 teleconference. "You've got 10 teams and you've got 10 really quality coaches and 10 teams that are obviously very good. In most leagues you've got an upper level and a lower level.

"That's not the case in this league. This league is so good from top to bottom and so well-coached from top to bottom."

Huggins reiterated again how much he liked his Mountaineer team this season. West Virginia currently sits at 15-3 with a 3-2 mark so far in Big 12 play.

For the first time in a few seasons, Huggins has a team that fits with the type of style he wants to play and - even better, perhaps - brings the same type of energy to the court every day in practice and games even after games in which it struggles.

"They come with enthusiasm every day. It's not like some guys you've got to motivate constantly," Huggins said. "These guys have been very good in that regard. They've also been very coachable, they've been fun to be around."

After falling to Texas, the Mountaineers have a week to prepare for their game on Saturday against TCU at the Coliseum. It will be the last time this season that West Virginia will have a full week between weekend games with no game in the middle of the week, and much of the time this week will be spent in the gym and in practice in preparation of bouncing back with a victory against the Horned Frogs.

"We’re obviously going to practice. We’ll practice today and tomorrow, take Wednesday off, practice Thursday and Friday and gear more toward what TCU is going to throw at us," he said. "Monday and Tuesday, we’re going to work more on us."

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