It's probably pretty obvious by this point, but in case you weren't aware Friday's match-up between No. 10 West Virginia and No.24 Iowa State means a lot. More specifically, it means a lot for two reasons: if West Virginia defeats the Cyclones it will earn a No.2 seed in the Big 12 tournament (meaning the Mountaineers get a first day bye and avoid playing Kansas until the championship game) and of course, the stakes are always high on when trying to earn a victory on senior night.
Bob Huggins, who recruited many of the seniors on the heels of a 13 win season in 2013 (the second lowest win total of his career), took some time to discuss his senior class and said he'll remember the five seniors for the work the ethic they displayed while bringing West Virginia back to national relevance.
"They have been great," said Huggins in respect to his seniors. "Nathan Adrian has had one heck of a career and done so many things for us for four years, James Long led us in work ethic and has been an unbelievable teammate, Brandon (Watikins) has had a tough career just from an injury standpoint but I thought he came back this year and really did a heck of a job, Tarik (Phillip) was part of the deal that got this program going and got it in the national conversation and he has great work ethic as well, and Teyvon (Myers) is the same. Those two guys (Myers and Phillip) really have good work ethic and I think that's the thing that we'll miss more than anythings from these seniors."
Aside from the group's outstanding work ethic Huggins also commended the group on its ability to compete in the Big 12, a conference that Huggins has stated is the best conference he has coached in on multiple occasions.
"They compete and they have competed at the highest level," said Huggins. "I think this league is harder than the Big East. There is no bottom to this league. They have done it against the best out there. We have probably played more games vs. ranked teams than any time in school history and those guys have beat the No.1 ranked team in the country a couple of times and a lot of it is because they play together and they play so hard."
Anyone who has spent time around West Virginia's group of seniors will tell you that there is a special bond among them and when Huggins observes the group's camaraderie he sees a group that truly cares about each other.
"They really do like each other and they really do care about each other," said Huggins. "There's a huge difference between liking somebody and caring about somebody and when something happens with one of the guys or their families or whatever they all bond together. They're all there for whomever it is that's going through it and I think that's a special kind of quality that they have had for the last three years."
In order to earn a win on senior night the Mountaineers will have their hands full with Iowa State, which has reeled off six straight wins to falling to the Mountaineers few weeks ago. When asked about the Cyclones recent success, Huggins put it pretty simply: they're shooting well and they have one of the best point guards in the country.
"I think in the last six games they're shooting 50 percent from the field, 49 (percent) from three and 78 (percent) from the foul line and they have the guy with the best ball security in America handling the ball. Any time you shoot it like that and get those shots you're going to do pretty good."