MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Bob Huggins said Friday that who his team is playing against will largely dictate if he keeps his vow to downsize his West Virginia lineup.
"Obviously it's going to depend on matchups,'' Huggins said. "But as we continue to play people that play one big, we're certainly going to have to do that.''
Figure on today being one of those days.
West Virginia (8-8) faces Purdue (9-8) this afternoon in the Mountaineers' final non-conference game of the season. The 2 p.m. game at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind., tips just after 2 p.m. and will be televised nationally by CBS.
Purdue is one of those teams that will play one big, at least in the starting lineup. A.J. Hammons, a 7-foot, 280-pound freshman who leads the Big Ten in blocked shots, is joined in the Boilermakers' starting lineup by three guards and a wing player, none of whom are taller than 6-5.
So count on Huggins to go away from playing two big men and settle into a rotation that more often than not includes just one. That's what he promised he would do after watching his big men struggle once again during a 69-67 loss Wednesday night at Iowa State.
"We're going with a smaller lineup. I'm not doing that anymore,'' Huggins said a few moments after his team had lost for the third time in four Big 12 Conference games. "I'm done. They've had ample opportunity. They've had over half the season.''
In the final minutes of that Wednesday night loss in Ames, Iowa, Huggins primarily used a lineup that surrounded 6-foot-10 sophomore Kevin Noreen with guards Juwan Staten, Jabarie Hinds and Eron Harris, along with wing player Matt Humphrey. Gary Browne might have been in that rotation, too, but for a sprained ankle he suffered earlier in the game.
The lack of more than one big man certainly did not hinder West Virginia's play. During those last eight minutes the Mountaineers erased an 18-point deficit behind the shooting of Humphrey, Harris and Hinds.
Noreen finished with 10 rebounds and the Mountaineers actually outrebounded the Cyclones 41-35. Staten, Hinds, Harris and Browne - the four smallest players in the rotation - combined for 19 rebounds, or 10 more than Deniz Kilicli, Aaric Murray and Dominique Rutledge.
"I don't know that it's going to be the norm, but I thought Kevin Noreen did a great job rebounding the ball,'' Huggins said. "He lost a couple of them that he rebounded, but he did a really good job.
"And there's absolutely no reason that Deniz or Aaric Murray or whatever couldn't do the same thing [if they were playing as the lone big man]. We've got to do a better job after we get the ball, but I think we can rebound it and get second shots with that lineup.''