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One-day preparations become the norm for mountaineer basketball

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia is reaching the climax of its regular season with back-to-back road contests coming against third-ranked Kansas on Saturday and 23rd-ranked Iowa State on Monday night. This will be the fourth time this year the Mountaineers (16-12, 5-10) have doubled games in the space of two days. They did so early in the new year when they went on the road to games at Kansas State and Oklahoma State. They did it two weeks ago with Saturday and Monday games at Texas and Baylor, and they did it last week with Saturday and Monday home games against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The TV exposure is great for the show, of course, but the trade-off is less prep time for the next game. It’s part of the deal if you want to play Big Monday, which West Virginia will play Iowa State for the third time this season. It’s also part of the deal as the Big 12’s anomalous school is in a different time zone. It makes sense to double down on some of these long road trips, especially those in Texas, to reduce flying back and forth. However, long travel and short preparation times only add to the difficulty of playing in the No. 1 basketball conference. 1 in the nation. “Going in and out of hotels and getting on and off planes, it’s tough on you and it’s tough on the kids,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins admitted today. “I think we’ve answered it pretty well, but it takes a while to recover when you come back at 5am. It takes a while for you to feel like yourself.” Since 2020, West Virginia has had at least three instances a year of playing consecutive games on only one day off. WVU won two of three in 2020, won all three in 2021, lost all three last year, and lost their first two this season before winning Monday night’s game against Oklahoma State. For the record, Baylor is also doing it four times this year. The Bears have already doubled-up games in Oklahoma and at home against Kansas two nights apart. They played Arkansas at home and then a road game at Texas two nights later and went to TCU two nights before playing a home game against West Virginia earlier this month. This weekend, Baylor has a home fixture against Texas tomorrow afternoon before traveling to Oklahoma State to play Monday night. Some will argue that this is no different than what teams face when they play in the NCAA Tournament, but that’s not the case. The difference is that teams stay at one site during the NCAA Tournament before advancing. “After the first game, you go back to the hotel, get dressed, watch a movie, have a bite to eat, sleep, wake up, walk around the place, and then play.” Huggins explained. “The most important thing is to let them rest a bit and then we’ll watch the movie and do some things, but there’s not much you can do.” Earlier this week, Oklahoma State got a little taste of what West Virginia faces on a regular basis when it played TCU last Saturday, hopped on a charter to Fort Worth, Texas, and flew in a different time zone across the country to play Morgantown, West Virginia two nights later. The Cowboys went 2-for-19-for-3 and shot just 38.5% for the game in an 18-point loss to the Mountaineers. There’s no question that Oklahoma State’s trip played a part in the outcome of Monday night’s game, and the trip will play an even bigger role in college basketball once the conferences finish expanding their footprints across the globe. parts of the country. Next year, the Big 12 will span three different time zones when BYU joins the league. This means that West Virginia is no longer the outlier. It will be Provo, Utah on one side and Orlando, Florida, where Central Florida is located, on the other. And, keep in mind, not all Big 12 campuses are located near an airport suitable for team travel. “Let’s be honest, for all the BS you hear about us not having a convenient airport, there aren’t many convenient airports in this league,” Huggins pointed out. “There isn’t one in Kansas, and there certainly isn’t one in Ames. So, you’re talking about another hour in one case and an hour and a half, an hour and 45 minutes, in another case – after you land “And, and it’s not like flying to Clarksburg,” he continued. somewhere else. They think you need to fly to Pittsburgh. Well, you don’t. Clarksburg is a little closer than where we’re getting ready to fly.” Therefore, the coaching staff needs to be extremely organized with their schedule to maximize the limited amount of time they have with their guys on the field between these short games of turnarounds “We haven’t gotten close this hard or this long in practice,” Huggins noted. “I don’t know what else you do?” Meanwhile, West Virginia’s attention is on the college’s third-ranking basketball team, The Kansas, who played as the No. 1 team.” Huggins said of the 22-5 Jayhawks, tied with Texas atop the Big 12 with 10-4 records. “(Jalen) Wilson will probably be the league MVP. They shot the hell out of it when they came here, and they’ve been shooting well all year. “They’re not as big and imposing as they used to be, but they can really make shots,” he said. added.As for Iowa State, which arrives just 48 hours later, the veteran coach said his boys will take care of the Cyclones once Saturday’s game in Kansas is over, around 6:15 ET. they will be leaving Lawrence around 7:30pm ET for a 50 minute bus ride to Topeka to board their charter for an hour plane ride to Des Moines, Iowa.From Des Moines, they are waiting another hour in bus to Ames, which means the travel group will likely arrive at their hotel around 11:30pm ET, provided there are no delays. This makes for a rather long day. Saturday’s match will start at 4:00pm and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN (Mark Neel y and Chris Spatula). Mountaineer Sports Network radio coverage with Tony Caridi and studio host David Kahn begins one hour early at 3 p.m. on stations throughout West Virginia and online via WVUsports.com and the WVU Gameday and The Varsity Network mobile apps. Satellite radio coverage is on Sirius/XM channel 382.

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