MORGANTOWN - Bob Huggins has now coached 928 games during his 28-plus years in college basketball. Wednesday night's 75-71 loss to Marshall at the Charleston Civic Center was loss No. 246.
Those numbers are relevant not so much as an illustration of how successful West Virginia's fourth-year coach has been over the years (682 wins, fourth-most among active Division I coaches), but in how often even the best coaches have to put up with defeat.
This isn't football, where no coach in history (college or pro) has ever lost 246 games. Of course, it's not Major League Baseball, either, where anyone who has ever coached the game more than three years managed to rack up 246 losses in short order, guaranteed.
But in a sport where games come twice and sometimes three times a week for more than four months, coaches expect to lose. That doesn't mean they like it, but they understand that it's going to happen.
All of which is a roundabout way of explaining that Huggins, despite his anger and frustration immediately afterward, quickly got over Wednesday's loss to Marshall. By Thursday he was back out on the road recruiting, and today he will begin preparing the Mountaineers for Sunday afternoon's home game with South Florida.
Still frustrated? Sure. But also realistic.
"We'll be fine,'' Huggins said Thursday. "We just need to get their feet back on the ground and we'll be fine.''
That doesn't mean, however, that the No. 21 Mountaineers (12-5) will simply write off a game in which they trailed by as many as 24 points. But neither is it time to start making any drastic changes because of a disappointing loss that ended a four-game winning streak and came just three days after a win over a top-10 team and two days after breaking into the Top 25.
"We came off a big win against Purdue on Sunday and we just didn't play with intensity and we didn't take care of the ball and [Marshall] played well,'' Huggins said. "They made shots and they made some big shots down the stretch when we made a big run at them. [First-year Marshall coach Tom Herrion has] done a great job with that program, but I think we have to accept full responsibility for what happened.
"We didn't do what we needed to do. They were more ready to play.''