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West Virginia Vs. Kansas State: Huggins Faces Old Team For The First Time

Bob Huggins squares off against Frank Martin as he faces his old team, the Kansas State Wildcats.

Before Bob Huggins was named head coach at his alma mater, but after he was run out of Cincinnati, he made a brief stop over in Manhattan, Kansas as the head coach of the Kansas State Wildcats.  Huggins only coached the 'Cats for one season, but he represents a paradigm shift for the purple and grey, as the 'Cats have been to the NCAA's every year since.  When the Mountaineers square off against the Wildcats tonight at nine o'clock, here's what's worth watching:

  • Bob Huggins vs. Frank Martin.  As is often the case when Huggins squares off against a coach he admires, both head coaches have been singing each other's praises in the papers for a week.  In Frank Martin, Huggins faces a man who is essentially his better dressed doppelganger.  Martin's teams, like Huggins', are tough defensive minded squads who put a premium on rebounding and all out hustle.  Both teams are young and both have yet to reach their full potential.  This one will be like those old Bizarro-World issues of the Superman comics where each will face an opponent who is a mirror image of themselves.
  • Can WVU defend the paint?  In the Mountaineers' last contest, they were eaten alive down low by Mississippi State forward Arnett Moultrie.  Kevin Jones spent much of the game mired in foul trouble, and the Mountaineers just didn't have an answer for the Bulldog's inside game.  WVU fans can expect more of the same tonight against Kansas State as the WVU front court will have it's hands full with senior forward Jamar Samuels, KSU's leading scorer and rebounder.  The Mountaineers have showed that their lack of front court depth can be a problem, so it will be crucial for Jones and fellow upperclassman Deniz Kilicli to hold their ground without getting into foul trouble.
  • Can any of the WVU freshmen help carry the load?  Against MSU, with Jones in foul trouble for most of the game, the Mountaineers were forced to go with lineups that included three or four freshmen at a time.  WVU looked disjointed and struggled to get good looks at the basket, settling for long jumpshots which, when missed, gave up quick points the other way.  For the Mountaineers to have success, newcomers Jabarie Hinds, Gary Browne and Keaton Miles will have to contribute consistently.  None of them need to fill the scorebooks, but they can't allow the team to flounder when Jones, Kilicli and Truck Bryant are ineffective.

Check back to SBNation Pittsburgh for more on the West Virginia Mountaineers.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.