Chip Shots – Mountaineers Continue to Struggle

Mountaineers continue to struggle

by Jim Buzzerd

I’m not really sure there is any good news regarding the West Virginia University Men’s Basketball Team. They are on a three-game losing streak after losses to Kansas, Baylor and Texas Tech. If there is a positive takeaway here it is that all three of those teams are in the Top 20. The truth is the Mountaineers weren’t supposed to win those games, so it would probably be unfair to be very critical of the team just yet. WVU was ahead late in the games against Baylor and Tech, but faded down the stretch.

West Virginia is now 13-5 overall and 2-4 in the Big 12 which puts them in seventh place in the league as Iowa State, Oklahoma and Kansas State sit just below WVU with 2-5 league records. Perhaps a litmus test to see how the remainder of the season could be Wednesday’s home game with Oklahoma. The Sooners and Mountaineers are among the four two-win teams in the Big 12. A failure by the Mountaineers to protect the home court in this game will make it difficult to predict many more wins this season.

After Wednesday’s game WVU will host 13-5 Arkansas Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge before heading to Baylor for a Monday night game. Then the Mountaineers will host Texas Tech and Iowa State on a Saturday and Tuesday, followed by road games with Oklahoma State and Kansas State. The latter two teams each posted some nice wins after suffering a loss in Morgantown.

The K State game is February 14 and where the Mountaineers fit in the college basketball landscape this season will be much clearer. Suffice it to say the Mountaineers will need to step up their play get to the NCAA Tournament in March.

I feel the need to comment on the National Football League conference semi finals last Saturday and Sunday. Professional football has always taken a back seat to the college game to me, and that gap has widened in recent years. Of course, the NIL and Transfer Portal threatening to damage college football as we know it, that gap between college and pro football could change course.

Anyway, if you watched the four games last weekend you would have to have been a satisfied viewer. It was the NFL at its finest. In the first three games all three underdog road teams won by three points on game ending field goals.

Top seeds Green Bay and Tennessee went down courtesy of San Francisco and Cincinnati respectively. Defending champion Tampa Bay and the ageless Tom Brady, and all the hype surrounding him, thankfully went down to the Los Angeles Rams. So, the stage was set when Buffalo visited Kansas City in Sunday’s finale. I had no rooting interest in any of the previous games, I was happy with the underdogs winning, and would be happy for a fourth upset.

Without going into all the details Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Bills quarterback Josh Allen had amazing games. The game was back and forth all night and when Allen hit Gabriel Davis for a 19-yard touchdown with 13 seconds left to take a 36-33 lead, the Bills appeared to have pulled the fourth upset of the weekend.

I assume everyone knows that Mahomes was able to utilize the remaining 13 seconds to get the Chiefs into position for a game tying field goal, and eventually an overtime win to advance to the AFC Championship game.

A couple points I have here. I said when Buffalo scored, “Make Kansas City field the kickoff.” They kicked it through the endzone for a touchback and gave KC the ball at the 25. No time came off the clock. OK, Buffalo should still be able to handle the game, but they gave Mahomes so much cushion that he was able to throw for 44 yards in 10 seconds and the rest is history.

Finally, the NFL overtime format is a total farce. A coin is flipped and if the team that wins the toss gets the ball and if they score a touchdown they win. The opposing team does not get a possession! It’s been true since the history of NFL overtime, both teams should get a possession. I don’t even know how that is debatable.