2013-14 Preview: West Virginia

Bob Huggins' new-look Mountaineers will need to improve on offense

Updated: October 24, 2013, 8:09 PM ET
By Ken Pomeroy | ESPN Insider

Juwan StatenCharles LeClaire/USA TODAY SportsJuwan Staten, who averaged 7.6 PPG last season, will start at point guard for the Mountaineers.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Last season: 13-19 (6-12)
In-conference offense: 1.00 points per possession (7th)
In-conference defense: 1.05 points per possession (8th)

Bob Huggins went with a total of 14 different starting lineups during West Virginia's 32 games last season. In all, 12 different players started, of whom seven have departed, including three seniors and four others who transferred in the offseason. This leaves Huggins with a mostly fresh slate to work with, but it won't make it any easier for him to find a reliable set of starters.

The new-look Mountaineers will have to put the ball in the basket more consistently than they did last season. The 2012-13 version was the worst shooting team in terms of effective field goal percentage that Huggins had coached since his 2002-03 Cincinnati team. West Virginia made 44.9 percent of its 2-point shots and 31.6 percent of its 3s, both figures ranking outside of the nation's top 250.

WVU has seven new players on scholarship, and the fresh faces most likely to immediately contribute reside on the front line. The backcourt rotation will look familiar with Juwan Staten handling the vast majority of point guard duties. As with every player not named Deniz Kilicli, Staten's playing time fluctuated during the season, going from being the undisputed starter in November and December to spotty appearances after injuring an ankle against Texas in early January. Staten can be a disruptive defender and he's a quality distributor even though he didn't come close to matching his outstanding assist rate as a freshman at Dayton. The hole in his game is a missing jump shot. He's taken just 35 3-point attempts in his two college seasons, making only four.


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