MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia's home game Wednesday will be its third of the season. Only once before in the Coliseum era have the Mountaineers played their third home game later than Dec. 19.
The wait this season was matched only by ones in 1993 and 1997.
This is a little different, though. The third home game on Dec. 21, 1987, was WVU's the seventh game of the season that started Nov. 27. The third home game of the 1992-93 campaign was the fifth game of a season that started Dec. 1. The third home game of the 1996-97 schedule was the sixth game of a season that started Nov. 26.
These Mountaineers play host to Oakland (3-7) at 9 p.m. on ESPNU. It's the 10th game of a season that started at midnight Nov. 12 against Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash.
WVU (4-5) plays the next four games at home in a span of 18 days. There is no class on campus and there is no travel to and from games, which gives a scuffling team off to its worst start since the 1998-99 season a break it has not yet had.
"I think that can be big for us," point guard Juwan Staten said. "Any time we can play at home is a positive for us. The fact we don't have any school and can concentrate on basketball and getting in the gym to put up more shots, plus the fact we're playing for the home crowd, can give us a boost."
After opening the season with worst loss of Bob Huggins' career, WVU had an early-morning cross country commercial flight home and then nine days before the second game. That was in the Old Spice Classic in Disney World, where WVU played three games in four days.
Three days after finishing fourth in the Classic, WVU beat VMI in the home opener. The Mountaineers then had six days off before beating Marshall at the Charleston Civic Center. Next came two days off before a last-second home win against previously unbeaten Virginia Tech. WVU was off two more days, then wasted a 15-point second-half lead in a loss to Duquesne in Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center. That snapped an eight-game winning streak over the Dukes.
Saturday's 81-66 loss to No. 3 Michigan prompted a pointed postgame critique by Huggins, who again vowed to fix what was wrong. After the Golden Grizzlies, WVU plays host to Radford (5-5), Eastern Kentucky (9-1) and Oklahoma (7-2). The Sooners beat the Mountaineers 77-70 in the Old Spice Classic.
"Let me tell you this, which I have always been able to get through to guys, but I haven't been able to get through to these guys: The good players that I've had have here stayed every day," Huggins said after the Duquesne loss. "I can't make them stay. We have a time limit during school, so I can't make them stay, but our other guys stayed.
"I am talking about the Joe Alexanders, the Da'Sean Butlers, the Kevin Joneses. They stayed every day. Every single day. We have guys who stay one day and think it's fixed, two days and think it's fixed. It doesn't work like that."