PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 15: Gary Browne #14 of the West Virginia Mountaineers walks off the court after losing to the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Consol Energy Center on March 15, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
The inconsistencies that had plagued the Mountaineer basketball team all year were all too apparent in their NCAA opening round loss to Gonzaga. Too many forced shots, quick shots, missed shots, turnovers, defensive lapses, and so on and so on... It was a sad ending to a great career for Kevin Jones, the player who put this team on his shoulders throughout the year notching double-doubles night in and night out, only with little support most nights.
By this time of year, freshman are virtual sophomores with a full season's worth of experience under their belts. Yet, the freshman mistakes were still evident as the season came to an end tonight for the Mountaineers. This was a season that appeared to have great promise in mid-January when this Mountaineer squad was 2nd in the conference, only to have several games slip through their fingers, limping down the stretch to an end tonight that some might say was inevitable.
Country Roads and I were talking the other day about how this is a disappointing season. Disappointing in that there were several very winnable games that the Mountaineers just couldn't finish off and the inconsistencies of 2 of the three WVU upperclassmen.
2012 was a disappointing season. Think about that for a second. Five years ago we would have been ecstatic with a NCAA tournament bid. Expectations have been raised, and rightfully so. But, knowing the youthful nature of this team heading into the season, most would have admitted, back then, that an NCAA bid and likely early round exit was about what most would hope for realistically this season. That's not making excuses for tonight's loss or any other. I'm just trying to put some perspective together on the season as a whole.
What happens next? Tommie McCune has already left the team. Will there be more attrition? I'm not saying I think it's necessarily likely, but I wouldn't be surprised by a few more defections. Aaric Murray and Juwan Staten will be finished with their year long transfer rule non-game participation. So there's that influx of talent joining the squad on the floor. Huggs also has a fairly highly regarded incoming class of players as well, with Elijah Macon and others. Who's to say if he won't try to get another player or two. Whatever happens, it will surely be an interesting off-season to follow for the WVU men's basketball team.