After a sleepless night of two distinct sequences of play waking me up randomly, I’m still not ready to really talk about what happened. However, maybe putting my thoughts down will help.
I want to tackle the statement I saw a lot of WVU fans make after that loss in the Sweet 16: “We should have won that game.”
No. We shouldn’t have. Allow me to explain why.
1) Gonzaga is a team that wins.
The Bulldogs were 34-1. Yes, they did lose once in the regular season, but this team is a decidedly winning team. A group of players who know how to win and did it incredibly well this season. I have discussed that this team isn’t a fluke since about February. You can’t just win that much and not be a good team.
2) It was always a bad match-up.
Since Huggins took his team to the Final Four, WVU has had problems dealing with teams who have size. Gonzaga has size inside and out. This was a bad match-up for WVU in this regard and it definitely caused our guys to not play a typical offensive game. Despite that, WVU wasn’t embarrassed in the paint; the Zags outscored the Mountaineers 22-16 inside. That’s not a huge discrepency.
3) We shot 26.7 percent from the field.
We only scored 16 baskets the entire game. One of our guys scored in double figures. Gonzaga had four. Granted, Jevon Carter led all scorers, but he was the ONLY guy who provided anything offensively. Jevon scored six buckets, Daxter Miles scored three, Nathan Adrian somehow scored two and five guys scored one. Those are not good numbers. You are not supposed to win shooting 16-60.
#WVU shot 16-of-60 yet beat K-State in Big 12 tourney. Also shot exactly 16-of-60 tonight and it wasn't enough vs. top-seeded Zags.— Allan Taylor (@AllanTaylorWVU) March 24, 2017
4) The right guy had the ball in his hands on the final possession.
Carter was the only guy who should have taken the last shot. Was that final possession a terrible display of basketball? Yes. We could have drove to the basket and settled for two, we could have tried a mid-range jumper. We didn’t need a three, but if anyone was going to have the ball in his hands for the final shot, it needed to be Jevon.
I hate all this talk about the last possession, the only player who shot better than 35% for wvu last night made the only shot he took— Andrew Clinton (@andrewkclinton) March 24, 2017
5) We ran into a team who executed better than we could.
This team has out-hustled and outworked just about every opponent this season. We finally came up against a team who also worked extremely hard on defense and did just enough on offense to get the job done. We played the game we wanted, but at the end of the day, Gonzaga just executed slightly better than us. Look, they only took 44 shots. That’s a great defensive effort from our guys, but they made two more baskets than us.
Those not from WV won't get this about WVU sports: it's not just about wins. It's about being represented. This team represented us well.— Patrick Southern (@patricksouthern) March 24, 2017
This is the second season in a row the Mountaineers finished with fewer than 10 losses. That’s incredible. Our teams are feared and our coach is revered. It’s a good time to be a WVU basketball fan overall.
Just remember this:
We will never again have a coach of Huggs' quality at WVU who doesn't use Morgantown as a stepping stone. Soak up these golden years, guys.— Nick Arthur (@NarthurD) March 24, 2017