On Thursday the WVU men’s basketball team was shown a great sign of respect. Bob Huggins was surprised by their No. 10 national ranking in the USA Today Coaches poll. That makes 57 straight coaches’ poll the Mounties have been a part of.
— WVU Basketball (@WVUhoops) October 19, 2017
Also that day the Mountaineers were picked to finish as a runner-up to Kansas for the third straight season. The Big 12 coaches voted on this poll.
Big 12 preseason basketball poll is out. pic.twitter.com/ducE2uJqtx
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The No. 10 ranking surprised Coach Bob Huggins.
“We were?” Huggs asked. “That kind of shocks me. With the losses we had and Esa [Ahmad] not playing the first half of the year, that shocks me. I don’t know what else to say.”
Esa Ahmad, the second leading score last season, is suspended. Key contributors from last year, Nate Adrian and Tarik Phillip, have used up their eligibility. Big-time recruit Derek Culver went to prep school. Brandon Knapper of South Charleston suffered a knee injury and is out for the season.
“We have guys back,” Huggins said. “Dax [Miles] is back. Beetle [Bolden] is back, so now the only one out is Brandon [Knapper]. We have 12 guys. Sags [Sagaba Konate] should be back [Friday]. He had to go get a passport. We need him to go to Germany with us.”
The regular season will get under way when the Mountaineers head to Ramstein, Germany to take on Texas A&M on November 10.
The rest of the poll went like this: Kansas and WVU were followed by 3. TCU, 4. Texas, 5. Baylor, 6. Oklahoma, 7. Texas Tech, 8. Kansas State, 9. Iowa State and 10. Oklahoma State.
Huggins raved about the great depth of the conference.
“That’s the hard part about this league: There is no bottom,” Huggins said. “There really isn’t a bottom. Oklahoma State is picked 10th and Oklahoma State is good. How are you picked 10th when you have a unanimous first-team, all-league player?”
Huggins was referring to senior guard Jeffrey Carroll of the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
What would it take to knock Kansas off the top? Huggins weighed in on that.
“Kansas has the best home court in the country,” he said. “Until a couple teams beat them at their place they’re going to continue to win the league. It’s incredible what they’ve done, but nobody has that home court advantage either.”
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