MORGANTOWN - Bob Huggins has never been one to shy away from changing horses in midstream, especially when the first one was about to drown.
Take his first few years at West Virginia, for example.
Try as he might, he had a difficult time teaching a roster full of players he had inherited from John Beilein to play the kind of challenging man-to-man defense he likes. So in an if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em moment, he tried letting them play the 1-3-1 zone they had drilled almost solely under Beilein.
Huggins had never much thought about the 1-3-1 at all during his coaching career, but six years after that experiment he still keeps it as at least an option in his game plans.
We bring that up because it seems that Huggins might be on the verge of another significant shift. This one, though, he didn't have to borrow from anyone. He'd done it before, almost under identical circumstances.
"You know, a long time ago when I was first at Cincinnati, our guards couldn't make shots and I got tired of watching them miss,'' Huggins said. "So during a game I said, 'Why don't you guys go inside and rebound and let the big guys shoot it. They can't make any less.'
"And they started making shots, so we really kind of changed to where our bigs shot the ball a lot more.''
Call it déjà vu, but it might be about to happen again.
It certainly happened Saturday. With his three primary backcourt players - Juwan Staten, Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne - shooting a combined 3-for-25 against Virginia Tech, Huggins said why not again and let his bigs throw up shots that the Hokies never bothered to contest. Kevin Noreen and Aaric Murray did it six times. Four of them went in. And it was what kept the Mountaineers hanging around long enough to be in position to win the game at the end.
And so now? Does Huggins keep on allowing - even encouraging - those shots?
Well, why not?
"I'm all for it,'' Huggins said. "I mean, they can't miss any more than our guards have.''
Still, it would be a dramatic departure from what had become the norm this season. Consider that it was less than a week ago that West Virginia attempted only six 3-pointers in a game against Marshall. Only one went in and almost all were attempted by traditional shooters. Murray hoisted one, but almost as a dare from a Marshall defense that considered the prospect laughable.