basketball-men-d1 flag

Justin Jackson | The Dominion Post | December 19, 2016

‘Press Virginia’ cutting down on points, fouls

  West Virginia has mastered the art of pressing without fouling this season.

While Bob Huggins celebrated his 800th victory with a 112-67 win Saturday at the WVU Coliseum, it was not a day to remember for Missouri-Kansas City backup guard Dashawn King.

The senior played all of five minutes and committed five fouls during that time.

He fouled out with 16:03 remaining in the game, at which time the 12th-ranked Mountaineers (9-1) had been whistled for just eight ... for the entire team.

"We've focused on not fouling a lot more and we're sliding our feet better," WVU forward Nathan Adrian said.

Of all the stats that WVU's "Press" Virginia style of play has helped produce — WVU leads the nation in turnovers forced and steals, while also being ranked in the top five nationally in both scoring offense and defense this season — none may be more eye-popping than fouls.

Or in the case of the Mountaineers, not committing them.

"I think it is our emphasis," Huggins said. "We are trying to emphasize it more."

RELATED: AP Top 25 rankings

While Huggins' unrelenting and chaotic full-court pressing system has always caused a high number of turnovers, it also brought with it a high number of fouls.


WVU committed the most fouls in the nation during the 2014-15 season (821), while nine different players fouled out a combined 23 times.

Last season, WVU was ranked No. 345 (of 346) teams in fouls committed, while six different players fouled out a combined 18 times.

As the Mountaineers prepare to host Radford (4-6), at 7 p.m. Tuesday, they will do so as a team ranked 111th in the nation in fouls committed (185), and no WVU player has fouled out of a game this season.

"We're getting in front of people more instead of reaching out and fouling like we used to," Adrian said. "We used to run beside guys too much, instead of getting in front of them."

Or, as WVU forward Esa Ahmad out it, the Mountaineers made some slight adjustments to how they work on the press in practice.

"I feel like it was more uncontrolled effort last year. We were just running around everywhere," he said. "We've made it a big point of emphasis to try not to foul while we're pressing this year."

There is another factor, too — the referees have had two seasons of officiating WVU's press and are seeing things maybe a little differently than they did two seasons ago.

"I'd like to have a seminar with the officials," Huggins said.

The NCAA has made a point of emphasis to its officials that an offensive player has a make-believe cylinder around him that can not be violated by a defender, which is meant to cut down on hand-checking and holding.

Huggins has always maintained — especially when a team full-court presses — that an offensive player shouldn't be permitted to reach out of his cylinder, meaning they can't push and shove their way out of traps.

"If we are going to have a cylinder, it has to work both ways," Huggins said. "If we can't reach into the cylinder, then they shouldn't be able to reach out the cylinder. That's my biggest pet peeve of the year."

After a recent game, an official went up to Huggins and admitted to seeing what Huggins had been stressing.

"I saw him afterward and the guy said, 'You were right.' " Huggins said. "I'm like, 'Really?'"

This article is written by Justin Jackson from The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network.


The college football teams, conferences and coaches with something to prove in Week 1

These are some of the best storylines in week 1 of the 2022 college football season, beginning with the Backyard Brawl between West Virginia and Pittsburgh.

2022 MLB All-Stars' best NCAA baseball postseason highlights, moments

Here are some of the best highlights and notable college baseball moments from the 2022 MLB All-Stars.

Jerry West: College basketball stats, best moments, quotes

Here's everything you need to know about Jerry West's career at West Virginia.

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from and our partners