The Mountain State’s TRUSTED news source.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.


Learn more about HD Media

Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.

Here are the opinions of the season.

n Anyone who is expecting West Virginia University basketball coach Bob Huggins to throw a pity party for struggling big man Oscar Tshiebwe is looking for the wrong caterer.

And then some.

Huggins made that very clear during a Zoom meeting Monday. All it took was asking the iconic coach why the 6-foot-9, 260-pound sophomore is struggling with averages of only 8.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 19.9 minutes of playing time.

“He’s not running the way he ran before,” said Huggins, whose Mountaineers host Northeastern at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the WVU Coliseum.

“He and I were just talking. I think the play that everybody would remember is the ball is going out of bounds and it’s almost out of bounds and Oscar runs the length of the floor, picks the ball up and goes in and dunks it before anybody else is really past half-court.

“ I said, ‘Oscar, you kind of screwed yourself because now everybody saw you can do it. Once people see what you can do, they expect you to do it all the time. And you haven’t even come close to doing that.’

“And he understands.”

Tshiebwe was one of WVU’s biggest disappointments in a recent 79-65 loss at Kansas. He contributed only three points on 1-for-5 shooting from the floor and 1 of 3 at the foul line, five rebounds and three turnovers in 18 minutes of playing time.

Could Tshiebwe be ill, perhaps?

“He has had a little bit of a cold, but we all do,” said Huggins. “I told him, I’ve had guys get out of bed and go get 20 [points] and 13 [rebounds]. I thought one of my guys one time had a hangover, and he really had the flu. He was throwing up in the [trash] can and I just kept running him. He talks about it to this day as one of the experiences of his life that made him a man.

“I’m not joking. He went to my house — it was Thanksgiving — and Jackie jumps down and says, ‘Dad, Eric is in my bed. He won’t get out.’ He slept over 24 hours. He talks about it to this day.

“So, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Oscar right now. I’ve seen a lot worse.”

Point taken, Huggs.

n Just when everyone thought Conference USA couldn’t embarrass itself any worse, the beleaguered league managed to find a way.

C-USA lost every bowl game in which it competed in 2020.

Every. Single. One.

Conference USA’s bowl game record was a humiliating 0-6. What’s worse, the only league member that even gave a good account of itself was UTSA, which was tied 24-24 with No. 19 Louisiana in the fourth quarter of the First Responder Bowl. The Roadrunners eventually lost 31-24, but considering head coach Jeff Traylor wasn’t present due to COVID-19, it was a strong showing.

The rest of C-USA?

Uh, not so much.

The only other game that even was close was Marshall’s 17-10 loss to Buffalo in the Camellia Bowl. Otherwise, Georgia State whacked Western Kentucky 39-21 in the LendingTree Bowl; Memphis defeated FAU 25-10 in the Montgomery Bowl; Georgia Southern humbled Louisiana Tech 38-3 in the New Orleans Bowl; and Appalachian State pulverized North Texas 56-28 in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.

Count ’em. Six bowls. Six defeats.

There’s nowhere to go but up.