CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Rick Greene and Carl Clark have both been coaching a long time, and neither has seen a season like this one.
If it isn't having a game or a practice scrubbed because classes were called off by snow, then it's a long stretch of idle time caused by the Kanawha Valley's water crises, or schedules thrown into chaos by a below-zero cold snap.
In other words, a lot of hoopla and very little hoops.
"No, I've never seen anything like this at all,'' said Greene, who's in his 21st season as George Washington coach. "Now we've had snow days, and all of the sudden it hits you with bad days, but never a streak like this. It's like a preseason now. It's almost like you're starting over if you've been hit by water, cold and snow.''
The Patriots (7-2) are one of the harder-hit teams by this winter's copious complications, having been forced to reschedule six games so far.
They played just their ninth game on Saturday, beating Class AAA No. 2 Huntington 65-60. Last season, they played their ninth game on Jan. 10 and had 14 games in by Jan. 24.
With the Mountain State Athletic Conference's vital divisional games just starting - the games that decide who plays for the conference championship - time is of the essence.
"It's been terrible,'' said GW senior guard Jon Elmore, the team's leading scorer and VMI recruit, "because you'll have school and have practice, then go three days without practicing. So it's hard to stay in condition. Guys have been getting into the gym on their own and trying to stay in shape, and keep getting better.''
Conditioning has become the buzzword no coach likes to use at this point of the season, when teams should be at or near their physical peak.
At least three different times during Capital's 63-60 win against Riverside on Thursday, players from both teams stormed downfloor after a missed shot - and then all 10 almost came to a complete and awkward stop as the ball remained in play. It was apparent they were catching their breath.
"It's hard when you get tired," said Clark, the Cougars' 20th-year coach, "and people say, 'Keep going,' and 'Do something.' Your mind says 'yes,' but your body says 'no.' And it's a difficult situation when you're [usually] conditioned to be able to handle those-type situations.''
Capital (6-1) has played just seven games, the same as Riverside (4-3), with only five weeks remaining in the regular season. Like most Kanawha Valley teams, they've also missed plenty of practice time.
"I think the whole non-practice, non-game thing is just killing us,'' said Warriors coach Ryan Carter. "Our conditioning is shot.''