Huggs Holds Chalk Talk Before Jayhawks - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Huggs Holds Chalk Talk Before Jayhawks


Bob Huggins did not think this is where his team would be when the first of three Big Mondays showed up on the schedule.

West Virginia basketball fans circled the home date with Kansas much the same way as Oklahoma highlighted the football slate. And both games will have come without much of the excitement – and importance – as the teams hoped heading into the season.

The Big 12 on the football side was expected to be a jump, but Huggins and crew did not think it would be so difficult to perform in the new league. When the head coach scoffed at his team's No. 6 preseason conference ranking, he wasn't just doing it for the fans who showed up at the Gold and Blue Debut.

There were hopes – no, there were plans to be a real contender in the Big 12, but they were based on what the Mountaineers had done solely in practice and not against a real opponent.

Now, the best opponent on the schedule is visiting the WVU Coliseum.

Depending on the poll you subscribe to, Kansas enters Monday's game as the No. 1 or No. 2 team in the nation.

"I think we're ready to go," Huggins said Monday during a "Chalk Talk" with WVU students. "We had a really good practice yesterday, we've played very, very well in spots, as some of you know, we just haven't done it for an entire 40 minutes."

Huggins visited students at the Mountainlair and asked them to come out in great numbers and be loud to make the night's environment as exciting as it can be.

"It'd be great to have the Coliseum packed and the student section packed in gold," Huggins told them. "You give us so much. I can remember my senior year, we went on a five-game losing streak and came back and played Notre Dame and I was in there about two, two and a half hours early to get some shots up and – now, don't do this, this was the crazy people when I was growing up – they knocked the doors down and went in because they wouldn't let them in."

Huggins is hoping for a more civil start from the students, but just as big of an impact as those peers of his made back when he suited up in a Mountaineer uniform.

 "The energy that you give the building is incredible," Huggins said. "That building that opened in 1970 just jumps when you guys are excited. So grab about 100 of your friends, drag them in there. If all of you grabbed about 100, we'd have a hell of a crowd."

It would be fitting for the Mountaineers to somehow win it. To turn on something like they did against the only other ranked team to visit Morgantown, Kansas State, and this time run the play that was designed for Da'Sean Butler and connect.

To give the fans, who will likely show up if for no other reason than to see the Jayhawks play their first game at the Coliseum, a chance to charge the court.

"If we win, are you leading the charge onto the court?" one fan asked Huggins in the Mountainlair.

"Am I leading it? Hell no, I'm getting out of the way," Huggins replied. "You know, I'm getting old, man."

It is written in Huggins' contract that a regular season win over Kansas would get him a $25,000 bonus, but that doesn't interest him right now. Monday night is about a lot more than that. It's about that 10th win, and pushing forward from that point on.

The name on the front of the opponent's jersey should be just enough to get his home crowd behind him and try to make some sort of difference in the result.

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