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Offensive Struggles in January a Common Theme for West Virginia Mountaineers

Brian Spurlock-USA Today Sports

Aside from Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim, do you have any idea who the third, active winningest coach in college basketball is?

It’s West Virginia‘s Bob Huggins who has tallied 710 victories in his illustrious career. Huggins knows a thing or two about winning basketball games, so it’s not all that often that you will find one of his teams sitting two games below .500 on the season.

However, that’s exactly where the Mountaineers are currently positioned following a 61-56 loss on Monday night to the Kansas Jayhawks. At 9-11 overall and 2-5 within the Big 12 Conference, West Virginia’s inaugural season within the league isn’t turning any heads.

The main reason behind their lackluster start in Big 12 play and their overall struggles throughout the month of January? It’s their offense.

On Monday night, West Virginia forward Aaric Murray scored 17 points to lead the way and ironically enough that total made him the team’s leading scorer, bumping his season average up to 10.0 points per game. Simply put, prior to his 17-point outing on Monday night, the Mountaineers did not have a double-digit scorer.

Well, now they do (for the time being), but that still doesn’t solve their offensive issues. It’s clearly become obvious this season, that the losses from a season ago were more than Huggins bargained for. Ironically enough, Murray and the team’s second leading scorer Juwan Staten are both transfers. So, think about were things would stand had they not chosen West Virginia when they did.

On the year, the Mountaineers are averaging 66.6 points per game, a mark that currently ranks 198th in the country. Over the month of January, West Virginia managed to score 70+ points only once and it came in a 21-point blow out over TCU, who remains winless in Big 12 play.

The issues for West Virginia are clear and it was probably no more obvious than it was against Kansas on Monday night. In a five-point loss to the second-ranked team in the country, the Mountaineers just simply did not have the offensive firepower to pull off the upset. Not to mention, it came on a night in which they held that second-ranked team to just 61 points total.

WVU will look to snap a two-game losing skid on the road at Texas Tech this Saturday.

 

Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS