MORGANTOWN — If it was a knockout blow delivered by Texas to the WVU men’s basketball team, then Josh Eilert made sure he took it on the chin.
The Longhorns handed the Mountaineers their worst loss ever in Big 12 play with a 94-58 victory Saturday, and WVU’s head coach pointed the blame at himself and his coaching staff.
“I told our guys in the locker room that I didn’t have them ready to play,” Eilert said after the loss. “One way or another, I didn’t have you all ready to play and that’s on me.”
The disturbing part to that is the Mountaineers (8-15, 3-7 Big 12) were coming off their bye week, meaning they did not have a mid-week game and five days to prepare for Texas.
They now have just one day to get ready for Monday’s 8 p.m. game against TCU (16-7, 5-5) at Schollmaier Arena, where the fast-paced Horned Frogs are 10-2 this season.
WVU hasn’t won there since 2021, which obviously doesn’t bode well for a program that has lost nine consecutive games away from Morgantown this season and is a combined 2-21 over the last three seasons in Big 12 road games.
Eilert said much of the preparation for TCU will be done with film study on Sunday.
What the Mountaineers will see from TCU is a team that likes to get out and run and score in transition.
Led by senior forward Emanuel Miller — he’s scored in double figures in 11 straight games and averages 16.5 points per game — the Horned Frogs are one of the country’s best teams in fast-break points.
“We have to understand TCU is No. 1 in the country in fast-break points and they get downhill,” Eilert said. “They really turn people over. If we are loose with that ball, it can be really ugly in Ft. Worth.”
TCU is third in the Big 12 in scoring (81.8 ppg), but enter the contest on a two-game losing streak.
TCU is coming off a 71-59 loss at Iowa State, in which the Cyclones found a way to slow down the Horned Frogs.
TCU had just six fast-break points in that loss and was just 5 of 17 (29.4%) from 3-point range.
At this point, though, stats and trends may not matter. WVU may have reached a point of no return in Saturday’s loss against Texas.
The Mountaineers, faced with one drama-filled story after another since before the season even began, looked like a team that no longer had the will to fight against the Longhorns.
Few could blame them, but the Mountaineers are now simply in a position where it can only play spoiler against other league teams.
They’ve lost four of their last five games with those four losses coming by an average of 16.3 points per game.
Since the start of January, opponents are shooting 47% against WVU. Texas got off a season-high 70 shots against the Mountaineers on Saturday, while shooting 51% from the field.
Eilert quickly pointed the finger at himself.
“It’s on me, I didn’t have them ready to play,” Eilert said. “I’ll take it on the chin with myself and the coaching staff. One way or the other, we weren’t ready to play.”
WVU at TCU
WHEN: 8 p.m. Monday
WHERE: Schollmaier Arena, Ft. Worth, Texas
TV: ESPN+ (Online subscription needed)
RADIO: 100.9 JACK-FM