Last week it was suggested here that the West Virginia University men’s basketball team could be primed for a late season run. Sincere apologies to anyone that took that faulty analysis seriously. Last week’s results indicate that the thought of a three game winning streak could propel the Mountaineers from mediocrity to a run to the top half of the Big 12 was folly.
A 20-point loss to Baylor last Wednesday squelched the thought of a mini run by this edition of the Mountaineers. For a half the Mountaineers competed, but folded up like a cheap suit in the second half.
On Saturday, and perhaps even more disturbing, West Virginia blew a double digit lead to cellar dwelling Texas Tech then held on to win 66-64 as a Tech game winning attempt missed at the buzzer. Saturday’s game was played in the Coliseum and WVU had beaten the Red Raiders by 14 two weeks earlier in Lubbock. So last week’s results don’t resemble progress at all.
West Virginia has not beaten a conference team that is ahead of them in the standings to date. All six Big 12 wins have come at the expense of Texas Tech, Texas and TCU. This turns the current situation into a glass half-full/half empty opportunity. The six games remaining are all against teams ahead of them so WVU will still have ample opportunity to climb out of the bottom five in the league. Of course that means West Virginia will need to beat a higher rated team than they have beaten all season.
As this is being typed, WVU is warming up to play Kansas State in Manhattan, KS and will be an underdog, as they will be in remaining road games against Kansas and Oklahoma. WVU will see Oklahoma State, Baylor and Iowa State visit the Coliseum and there is a chance they could be underdogs in those games too.
Could the Mountaineers finish the season 0-6?
That is certainly an option at this point, though the odds would suggest WVU would pick off at least one of the teams coming to Morgantown. Well, maybe the odds actually don’t suggest that WVU picks up a win in the final six games, that suggestion would be from the same guy that suggested last week that there might be a run in this team.
To that end, this WVU team has been difficult to watch. Sometimes they look like they should, and could, be performing at a much higher level than they are. Even in games where the effort has been good there seems to be at least a handful of head scratching mental lapses. It is those mental lapses that seem to be the one constant with this team, the positives are mostly short lived.