WVU Preview: Beware the Huggy Bear

I’ve been waiting for tomorrow night’s basketball game for a long time, just like the first time I ran a marathon or my first battle with the devil.

I want K-State to win this one more than any other game this season outside of KU, and even that’s close. While I realize my reasons for hating Bob Huggins may be a little petty, that doesn’t make the hate any less real.

We all know the story by now, but if you need the traditional telling here’s a story from the Charleston paper, and here’s one from TDWMNBN. I think it’s best to instead use an analogy to the pettiest of all popularity contests — high school — and as the BOTC author most recently in high school, I feel the most qualified to write this post.

Follow the jump for the KSU and Bob Huggins story as teenage drama, followed by a short game preview.

In 2006, a hot girl named Bobbi transferred to a new school.

She had been near the top of the popularity food chain at her old school, and it was inevitable that she would return to that position here, but she had gotten expelled following an embarrassing drunk driving incident that revealed she had some alcohol problems and made her damaged goods while at the same time gaining her more popularity among rural West Virginians.

A young man with an oversized head named Willie was the coolest kid in the FFA group in the big city school — lots of smarts and coolness potential, but always held back by superficial perceptions and the people he hung out with.

He couldn't attract the hottest girls and didn't have rich parents with a huge house where he could host killer parties, but he probably could give girls what they wanted if somebody would just give him a chance.

When Bobbi came along, Willie was looking for some new friends and had decided to be one of the school's ambassadors for new students. The two really hit it off and he was just what she needed to get her life back on track.

After they started dating, she said a lot of really nice things about him and helped him work his way into the popular group, which meant a lot more Yearbook pictures and invites to parties.

Then one day, with Bobbi's status steadily rising back to what it once was thanks in large part to Willie, her second cousin, Davy*, broke up with his girlfriend and starting flirting with Bobbi. Davy was a starter on the football team that was quickly becoming the best team in the school, but not quite popular enough to be a Homecoming King candidate.

*Ideally, this would have been a link to a side-by-side of this picture and this picture. Maybe our intern can make this happen?

Willie knew that Bobbi had been a bit of a catty bitch who cared a lot more about herself than others before they started dating — this is, after all, the easiest way to get popular in high school and big college coaching.

But he was hoping she would be grateful he had helped her significantly clean up her image, so he was crushed and could barely hide his anger when out of nowhere she broke her commitment and left him stranded, offering only empty-sounding apologies.

In the end, the most positive thing that came out of the relationship was the friendship Willie had forged with Bobbi's little brother, Frank.

He had some occasional anger management issues, he wasn't that popular or well respected by his peers, and he refused to compliment anyone early in the first semester, but Frank was a lot smarter and cooler than Bobbi and had some really awesome friends, even if some of them smoked too much weed.

As time went on, Frank's popularity grew and he proved to be extremely dependable. Willie was doing fine, but he often wondered about what could have been if Bobbi hadn't left him.

Still, Willie's popularity continued to grow and even surpassed Bobbi's in some ways, though the fact that the football team was more popular than FFA was never going to change since the Yearbook staff was in bed with the football players.

Willie knew he never would have gotten where he was without Bobbi, but he had helped her just as much and she was the selfish bitch who left him just one month after he'd been nice enough to buy them two expensive tickets (five months in advance!) to the big musical she wanted to see.

Like most high school couples, they basically avoided each other as much as possible after they broke up, but since Frank and Bobbi were always close, it was a little different.

Eventually, Frank and Willie decided they should invite Bobbi and Davy along for a couple hunting trips, just to make dinners and video game sessions at Frank and Bobbi's house less uncomfortable.

The potential for awkwardness increased when Bobbi decided next year she's going to quit football and join FFA, since football is losing players and FFA is doing a lot better with its fundraising under a new leader.

When the four kids go on their hunting trip tomorrow, I'm joining some of Willie's friends who are stopping short of encouraging Willie to pull a Dick Cheney on Bobbi, but really hoping he bitch-slaps the hell out of her and punches Davy in the face.

***

I'm not going to give a long preview because I haven't watched WVU this year and I really don't have a lot of nice things to say. The Mountaineers were picked to finish seventh in the Big East, just ahead of Villanova and Notre Dame, who look terrible so far.

Obviously, the playing styles are very similar, so this is going to be an ugly, physical defensive struggle. Think KSU-Wisconsin with a few more fast breaks minus a Jacob Pullen/Jordan Taylor type talent and big white Americans.

Unlike K-State, West Virginia has failed its only two tests this year, which came at home against Kent State and on the road against a surprisingly good Mississippi State team.

From what I remember, past WVU teams have relied more on guard play for scoring, but with the graduation of guys such as Casey Mitchell and Joe Mazzulla, it's been 6-8 forward Kevin Jones who's picked up the slack, averaging an impressive 19.8 points and 11.7 rebounds per game.

He and 6-9, 260 pound forward Deniz Kilicli — the rare 6-9 European who doesn't shoot the 3 — should provide a nice early-season test for K-State's big men, who need to prove they can handle a tough, bigger front line.

I think Jamar will be fine as long as he stays focused (never a given), but I'll be watching closely to see if Thomas Gipson and JO play a little more tentatively against tougher opponents.

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