The West Virginia Mountaineers (13-14, 6-8 Big 12) have struggled this season. Maybe it is just a down year before Bob Huggins gets some better players in there, or maybe the Big 12 is getting better and deeper than we have expected. Other programs in the conference have been getting stronger as the Mountaineers seem to be in a mini-rebuilding mode, but that doesn’t mean Huggins will allow his team to finish the season on a bunch of sour notes.
Currently riding a two-game losing streak, West Virginia will be looking to bounce back against the Baylor Bears on Wednesday night. While steady, Baylor (16-11, 7-7 Big 12) hasn’t been setting the conference on fire themselves. The Bears are in the midst of a losing streak of their own, with three losses to some of the better teams in the conference.
Both programs will be looking to finish their regular season strong. While Baylor is still playing for the remote possibility of earning pair of NCAA Tournament slippers, West Virginia is left playing for their coach, their pride, and a feeling of self-worth.
The question for West Virginia going forward will be how they react to playing for something that isn’t tangible. It would be easy for Huggins to spout off about a Big 12 title or NCAA Tournament ramifications, but none of that is probable in the scheme of things. Instead, Huggins is going to be forced to motivate his players by asking them not be a running joke.
If anyone can motivate, or fear, a team into playing better down the stretch despite not having any realistic goals to obtain, it is Huggins. Whether or not his players have the same winning drive as Huggins though, is yet to be seen.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Joe on Twitter @JosephNardone