I got a new laptop! In Waco! And I can bring you the following, which for you is a much better reason to celebrate …
So thankful my x-rays were negative. Going to work hard with Doc in the training room to get back on the court as fast as I can…
— Gary Browne Ramirez (@Gbrowne14) March 1, 2015
I was a hundred feet away when it happened, and I haven’t seen a replay which is purportedly “gross,” but there is relief in the WVU hotel today that Gary Browne didn’t break his left ankle early in Saturday’s loss. A sprain can still be a major set back, and a high ankle sprain is even worse, bit a break would be a season-ender for Browne and a season-crimper for the Mountaineers.
We’re told Juwan Staten is day-to-day, but then again, we were told Friday that Juwan Staten was supposed to be fine Saturday even though his teammates knew he was out before they left Morgantown Friday afternoon. Let’s agree to call Browne doubtful for Tuesday, and let’s consider this, too: WVU’s probably not going to win the Big 12 championship now (the Mountaineers have to win out, Kansas has to lose out and Oklahoma has to lose to Iowa State and beat Kansas) and there’s seriously no way they fall out of the top five in the standings. They’re most likely looking at the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 seeds here, and the 4 and 5 play one another in their first game in the conference tournament.
So, how much thought do you give to resting Staten and/or Browne? If you don’t have a choice with Browne, which seems to be the case for Tuesday, at least, does that affect your call on Staten?
I ask because they’re vital. You saw that Saturday, which, no lie, was the first time all season WVU practiced or played without both. Naturally, it showed.
“Gary went down and we started throwing the ball to them,” coach Bob Huggins said. “We had nine turnovers in the first half, and most of them were live-ball turnovers that killed us. And you had guys out there who hadn’t been out there by themselves before. It was hard to make adjustments. “But that being said, we had guys who are veterans — I guess veteran guys for us are sophomores — who didn’t really do what we needed to do. They were just kind of running around. We didn’t do a very good job overall.”
The Mountaineers trailed by 19 points in the first half and 20 points in the second half after a surge to get within nine points. Their chances of winning the Big 12 championship took a hit, as well, when first-place Kansas survived at home against Texas. The eighth-ranked Jayhawks are a game ahead of Oklahoma and two games ahead of WVU and Iowa State, who both lost Saturday, and now Baylor.
The Mountaineers were rudderless and they cannot afford to be like that this month, and that includes these final two regular-season games and then the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments. How important is Kansas-Oklahoma State? How valuable is seeding, not only for Kansas City, but for the Field of 68? How much do you weigh one or both of those games against the postseason?
Decision time for Huggins?