The WVU basketball team ends the 2015-16 season ranked in the Top 10.
The Mountaineers checked in at No. 8 in the Associated Press poll on Monday morning.
Under head coach Bob Huggins, the Mountaineers have now finished in the AP Top 10 in back-to-back seasons. The last time this happened was on the heels of the Final Four season in 2010, also under Huggins.
The work Huggins has done with the West Virginia program is nothing short of remarkable. Yes, the Mountaineers have had some great history on the hardwood with a national championship appearance in 1959 and legendary players like Jerry West and Rod Hundley, but this new age of hoops has carried WVU to new heights.
This is the golden age of West Virginia basketball.
"“West Virginia is going to be up into you, you know that,” said Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger. “You just have to work a little harder away from the ball and work – as a group you have to work harder to get open. It’s a combination of doing things with a little more conviction and staying after it.”"
Huggins had to adapt to his personnel and change some of his game play philosophies.
This year’s team is different than the 2009-10 team that won the Big East Championship and went to the Final Four. The core group of guys like Da’Sean Butler, John Flowers, Kevin Jones and Wellington Smith had played together and developed together.
Talent and offensive helped advance the Mountaineers through the tournament.
Placing a priority on defense has taken the WVU basketball team this far.
Huggins has also gotten the most out of his players this season.
Jaysean Paige has developed into the team’s go-to scorer, Daxter Miles and Tarik Phillip have grown to be the key defenders, Nathan Adrian has become a tough dual-threat and Devin Williams grew into a tenacious inside threat.
Then, with point guard Jevon Carter improving, forward Jonathan Holton stepping up on the defensive end and Esa Ahmad grooming himself to be a standout player in a couple of years.
Huggins has allowed for a strong bench and the added depth has been an important attribute.
Huggins is one of the smartest basketball minds in the college game. The proof of that is in the Mountaineers’ No. 8 finish in the country, after they were picked to finish sixth in the Big 12 Conference at the start of the season.