The frustration oozes from Bob Huggins.
That’s why West Virginia University’s Hall of Fame basketball coach needed a victory so desperately Wednesday night at Texas Tech.
Yes, the right word is “desperately.”
No other word could possibly sum up 13 consecutive road losses in Big 12 play. That’s where the Mountaineers’ losing streak away from Morgantown in league play stood entering Wednesday’s game — 13 in a row.
Mull that over for a moment. Thirteen straight road Big 12 losses during the course of the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons.
That’s albatross material.
And, yes, it has been hanging from Huggins’ neck recently.
“It’s frustrating,” said Huggins after a 69-61 loss to Texas in the WVU Coliseum. “What kills me is I sit here and said, ‘We’ll fix it.’
“The people in the state of West Virginia, I told them that we’ll fix it and I thought we were on that road to fixing it. Obviously, we’re not. It’s frustrating.”
Huggins obviously doesn’t handle frustration well.
“I’m not the kind of person that wants to let people down,” he said. “It hurts me to let people down. I feel like I’ve let the great fans in this state down. We had 14,100 and something people here … to play like that. I would have thought we would be really jacked up for it. I didn’t see a lot of emotion or enthusiasm.”
That is only one of a myriad of problems that have been troubling Huggins.
“There are issues I’m not at liberty to talk about,” he said recently. “You know, we’ve had opportunities in other games that we’ve lost, too. We didn’t seize opportunities. You can’t turn the ball over 20 times. We talked about that earlier in the year and said we were going to fix it.
“We had it down to where we were turning it over maybe six times a game, which wasn’t good, but it’s way better than 20. Now we’re back to 20 and not even playing against pressure. We just throw the ball to the wrong team.
“[You] can’t miss free throws, particularly free throws when you’re trying to catch up. We did that. If you want to make a recipe for losing, just go back and look at our last 10 minutes, because we just dropped balls. They didn’t take them from us. We dropped them.”
Is all the losing getting to Huggins? You betcha. Of course, that also raises this question: Who wouldn’t be frustrated after WVU compiled consecutive Big 12 records of 4-14 and 1-6 during the last two seasons?
“We had no bounce,” Huggins said as he continued the monologue. “We didn’t run through balls. We didn’t rebound the ball the way we are capable of rebounding the ball.
“I don’t know what to do, man.
“It seems like we play every other day, and if we work them the way I would like to work them, they’re going to say they’re dead, whether they are or aren’t. They probably are.
“We have some guys that are pretty good film guys. We have other guys who it doesn’t mean a whole lot to.”
The frustration and all the other emotions that go with it seem to be taking its toll.
“I don’t know the difference between frustration, disappointment and guilt of telling people that we’re going to fix this,” Huggins said, “then turn around and do this. I’m not sure exactly what that’s called. I don’t care for it much, whatever it is that you call it. I guess frustration is a part of it.”
It has been a long two seasons for Bob Huggins.