West Virginia basketball is permitted to play 27 regular season games during the 2020-21 season but for now the Mountaineers are one game short of meeting that total.
That’s because a previously scheduled contest with Buffalo set for Dec. 29 was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols in the Bulls basketball program. That has sent West Virginia into scramble mode in order to try to find a replacement in a relatively short period of time.
Fortunately for the basketball program they have experience doing this after replacing Robert Morris over a 24-hour period with North Texas earlier this month. Josh Eilert, director of basketball operations, handles that aspect of the program and again is in position where his skills are necessary.
That means contacting many different programs in order to try to secure a game through digital and old-fashioned means. It isn’t a perfect science, but persistence is the greatest ally.
“Josh has been working like crazy to try to get someone in there,” head coach Bob Huggins said. “But it’s tough now.”
Eilert is tasked with looking at all of the postponements across the country and which could fit in with geography concerns. Then he moves onto using his contacts in the industry to secure a game.
He’s a big proponent of scheduling posts where he can go online and look to see what’s available but just because it makes sense on the court and travel wise, doesn’t mean that it will occur.
The plan is to fill that gap in the schedule, but some things have made going about doing that more difficult than just a few short weeks ago.
“It’s tough because of the testing. It’s tough because everybody is trying to get league games in,” Huggins said. “They’ve canceled league games in a lot of those leagues and they’re meeting trying to figure out a way to get their league games in because obviously they’re a priority.”
Any team that comes to the Coliseum must adhere to the Big 12 testing policies which again becomes a hurdle for some teams, and it has made finding an opponent for more a challenge.
But the work is still ongoing.
“It’s tough to get a game in, but we’re trying,” Huggins said.
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