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WVU Men’s Basketball: Mountaineers Must Learn From NCAA Tournament

It’s time to look toward next season. The Mountaineers can’t change the past. But they can be determined not to repeat it.

More effort could turn this frown "upside down" next season.
More effort could turn this frown "upside down" next season.

One of the most important things that Bob Huggins' squad can do is watch the NCAA tournament.

What the Mountaineer squad will learn is that the teams that commit themselves to defense and rebounding make the Final Four.

Louisville, Virginia, Florida, and Michigan State have great potential to be playing in Arlington in two weeks because they play defense.  They rebound.  They hustle.

New Mexico, Arizona, Kansas (with Embiid), Villanova and Wichita State do the same.

Teams like Creighton, UCLA, Iowa State, Duke and North Carolina are fun to watch.  But if they don't play defense - if they simply try to outscore their opponents - then they will most likely miss out on the Final Four.

WVU basketball must become more like Louisville and less like UCLA.

The team must learn that when their shots quit falling, they can still win by playing defense and by out hustling their opponent.

Defense gets teams to the Final Four.

If you listened to Coach Huggins' post-game press conference or have seen this morning's sport's sections in West Virginia newspapers, then you know that Huggins believes this team can be special. They'll need to put forth time and effort.

They'll need to "fall in love" with basketball.

Huggins wants his team to work harder than they ever have in the off-season.

The reason is simple.

Like anything else worth pursuing, basketball must combine talent with effort.  Talent needs to be valued and developed.  It cannot be neglected or it will wither.

Talent plus effort brings success.

The men's program has the talent.  They demonstrated that talent in spurts this season.  Now they must work on the effort.  Defense and rebounding come down to effort.

Watch the tournament, gentlemen. Learn from it.

Next season begins now.