After a disappointing season, Coach Bob Huggins looks to take the West Virginia Mountaineers back to the tournament and grow his hall of fame resume.
CBB Review is once again ranking the top 100 teams heading into the 2022-23 season. Each day we will reveal the next team until we reach the team slotted at number one. Coming in ranked number 60 are the West Virginia Mountaineers.
In a Big 12 conference that was as tough as we’ve ever seen it, the West Virginia Mountaineers found themselves as the bottom feeder, going just 4-14 in conference play, yet still only finished one game under .500. Huggins immediately made sure that wouldn’t happen again, bringing in some extremely quality transfers and priming the West Virginia Mountaineers to compete in a Big 12 that looks to be just as good, if not better than last year.
To those who have not, click here to learn more about our preseason top 100 teams heading into the 2022-23 college basketball season.
Head Coach: Bob Huggins (16th season at West Virginia)
2021-2022 Record 16-17 (4-14)
2022 Postseason Finish: No postseason
Notable Departures: Taz Sherman (Graduated), Sean McNeil (Ohio State), Malik Curry (Graduated), Jalen Bridges (Baylor), Gabe Osabuohien (Graduated), Isaiah Cottrell (UNLV)
PG: Joe Toussaint (6-0, 190, Sr.)
2021-2022 stats: 4.3 points, 1.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 steals, 42.3 FG%, 83.9 FT% (Iowa)
SG: Kedrian Johnson (6-3, 185, Gr-Sr.)
2021-2022 stats: 5.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.6 steals, 42.2 FG%, 75 FT%
SF: Erik Stevenson (6-4, 205, Gr-Sr.)
2021-2022 stats: 11.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 36.9 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 98.4 FT% (South Carolina)
PF: Emmitt Matthews Jr. (6-7, 215, Gr-Sr.)
2021-2022 stats: 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.5 blocks, 43.4 FG%, 75.5 FT% (Washington)
C: Tre Mitchell (6-9, 225, Sr.)
2021-2022 stats: 8.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.7 blocks, 47.8 FG%, 80 FT% (Texas)
6: Mohamed Wague (6-10, 225, So.)
2021-2022 stats: 14.8 points, 11.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 65.1 FG%, 102 total blocks (JUCO)
7: Kobe Johnson (6-3, 210, So.)
2021-2022 stats: 1.5 points, 0.7 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.3 steals
8: Seth Wilson (6-1, 215, So.)
2021-2022 stats: 1.9 points, 0.8 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.4 steals
9: Josiah Harris (6-7, 210, Fr.)
247Sports Composite #155 overall rated recruit
10: Jimmy Bell Jr. (6-10,295, Sr.)
2021-2022 stats: 9.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 59.1 FG%, 1.5 blocks (JUCO)
Team MVP: Tre Mitchell
Last season’s stats with Texas undermine how spectacular he was at UMass his first two seasons of college basketball. He averaged over 17 points and 7 rebounds both seasons, and was an all A10 first team member before going to Texas. Now, back in a situation where he is the primary mouth to feed, he should do what he does best once again and that’s score early and often. Mitchell can shoot the three, taking 40 the last two seasons, but he’s really dominant with his back to the basket, something Bob Huggins is so good at maximizing as we saw with Derek Culver.
Make-or-Break Player: Emmitt Matthews
Matthews actually spent his first three years at West Virginia, where he averaged roughly 6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game across three seasons. Then, he transferred to Washington where he broke out and averaged 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds on much better shooting splits. The question is which Matthews are we going to get. If he remains a double-digit scorer, he will be a huge help for Mitchell in the frontcourt and make the offense flow at a much higher level. If he goes back to the first three seasons of Emmitt Matthews, not only will he probably lose his starting spot, but that makes the team with really weak bench depth even weaker.
Analytic to Know: 15th in Transfer Points
According to Barttorvik, the West Virginia Mountaineers are ranked 15th in Division 1 in transfer points, meaning that they recruited some high-level scorers and really utilized the portal. At the same time, they are 342nd in returning minutes. So, for Bob Huggins and West Virginia fans, chemistry might be a struggle in the beginning, as these guys really haven’t played with each other and discovered tendencies. Huggins is one of the best though, and he should be able to get them meshing before conference play starts.
— WVU Men's Basketball (@WVUhoops) July 6, 2022
There are a lot of pros and cons for this team. Let’s start with a few pros.
First, they killed the transfer portal. Mitchell has the potential to be the best big man in the Big 12, and Stevenson, Mitchell, and Toussaint provide good scoring options for the West Virginia Moutaineers. They also have a ton of experience in the starting lineup, with all five projected starters projected to be seniors or players who used their extra year of eligibility. Experience matters in college basketball, so having that will be huge in what projects to be a really rigorous Big 12 schedule.
Now for the cons. First, the bench. The bench setup is either guys who barely played last year or JUCO players. Not having a true contributor off the bench may lead to problems, especially at the guard position. They really need one or two guys to step up and become a main contributor before that Big 12 schedule. The other con as mentioned before is the lack of chemistry. It’s expected this won’t be too big of a dilemma, but in that non conference schedule where every game counts, some chemistry issues can lead to an unnecessary loss that can hurt their March Madness hopes.