THERE ARE very few paths over which West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins hasn't walked.
Today, in a 7 p.m. exhibition game against Northern Kentucky, which now has ex-Mountaineer Darris Nichols as an assistant, Huggins will unveil his latest team.
It's a team with low expectations playing within the rugged Big East for perhaps the last season. Fans will undoubtedly be excited to check out fine recruiting land Jabarie Hinds and the rest of the newcomers.
"We're fine," Huggins said Thursday. "When we start going up and down [the court], we go a little crazy. But as long as we're in a controlled situation, we're OK."
Understandably, WVU isn't receiving much love entering the season. Sturdy Kevin Jones returns, as well as Truck Bryant and Deniz Kilicli, but the Mountaineers aren't receiving the attention of conference peers like Syracuse, Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Marquette.
Yet Huggins and his teams have been there before. And in regard to WVU's impending move to the Big 12? Well, Huggins and his teams have been there before as well. Before moving to Morgantown, the coach steered Kansas State.
"Great league, great all-sports league," Huggins said. "There's really good football, men's and women's basketball, baseball ... it's a good all-sports conference."
The coach spoke about his tour of the Big 12.
"Those schools are a lot like West Virginia," Huggins said. "Their fan base is a lot like [that of] West Virginia. Go to Lawrence, Manhattan, Stillwater ... they will all be sold out, and they're really, really into basketball."
Huggins has pointed out that a big difference between leagues is those within the Big 12 play in their own arenas. That isn't always the case within the Big East. But sometimes, like playing at Madison Square Garden, it can be a plus.
Huggins and his assistants have capitalized on that plus in the past by hitting New York's fertile recruiting ground hard. One question amid many concerning the move to the Big 12 is how WVU's Big Apple connection will be affected.
"I don't know," Huggins said. "We'll have to see. Kansas gets into New Jersey and recruits. We went into Chicago and got Jake Pullen when I was at K-State."
Huggins doesn't wish to publicly delve into the move from the Big East.
"It was time to get out," he said. "But I don't want to get into that with the lawsuit [pending]."