MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Lake effect snow is expected to take over Western New York this weekend, so the Buffalo Bulls men’s basketball team is taking refuge in sunny Morgantown. (Or, at least, not-as-snowy Morgantown.)
Bob Huggins spoke with members of the media on Friday. Here’s what he had to say:
Staying in shape during finals week
Finals week in Morgantown means that the team had plenty of time away from competition. When WVU faces the Bulls on Sunday, they will have had eight straight off days.
So what does Huggins focus on with his team with such a long break between games?
“I think the biggest thing was just try to maintain conditioning,” Huggins said. “We did a lot of transition things, and just tried to keep them in shape. Get a lot of shots.”
Luckily, he says, it’s not hard to do that with this group.
“We’re blessed, I think in that fact that the majority of our guys — not all of our guys, but the majority of our guys — like being in the gym,” Huggins said. “So they’re in there regardless. Now, they’re not running up and down, but they’re working on their craft.”
Scouting the Bulls
Buffalo travels to Morgantown with a 5-5 record, but the Bulls have taken wins over local rivals, like Canisius and St. Bonaventure.
The Bulls have plenty of talent, and their unique composition of sizes could be a difficult matchup.
“They’ve got big guards and they don’t have real big inside guys,” Huggins said. “You look at them, they’re from whatever, 6-7 to 6-4 or 5.”
WVU has some experience with the Bulls. Buffalo last came to Morgantown in 2018, handing the Mountaineers a 99-94 loss in the Coliseum. A few years before that, the two programs squared off in the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulls have become a big player among the mid-majors in the last decade despite hosting a carousel of coaches. Their last two, Bobby Hurley and Nate Oats, had so much success that they moved on to power programs.
“They’re in a great area. Buffalo’s a great area. When you look at the players that they can get from not really that far away, it’s quality basketball there,” Huggins said. “They can dip into Canada. Basketball’s really a good basketball town. I recruited a couple of guys from Buffalo when I was at Cincinnati, and they were good. They had great careers for us.”
WVU’s areas for improvement
Huggins hopes to see an improvement in his team’s transition offense. Besides the physical shape of his players, that was his biggest focus for the off-week.
“I don’t think we’ve been very good in transition,” Huggins said. “I think that’s an area where I think we could get a lot better and maybe we could flourish in.”
It’s not hard to see why he feels that way. The Mountaineers are No. 13 in the country in offensive efficiency, scoring 1.118 points per possession. They are also armed with an arsenal of athletes and shooters, which typically lends itself to a deadly transition game.
“We’ve got guys that can run, we’ve got a bunch of guys that can handle the ball,” Huggins said. “We should be better than what we are.”