Morgantown, West Virginia – Look, to be clear, before the West Virginia Mountaineers lost to the hottest team in the nation in really close back-to-back games, they were the #6 team in the Associated Press Top 25 and were well on their way to a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
It’s difficult to remember this after two really disappointing losses, but remember, Oklahoma State – who will likely go on to win the Big 12 Tournament – is playing at an entirely different level than any other team right now, and the Mountaineers only lost by a combined 8 points in the two games against them.
Bob Huggins was rightfully disappointed by his team’s two losses, but this West Virginia team is still a very dangerous team heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Huggins calls this team “his worst defensive team ever”, says that the Mountaineers “can’t guard”, “can’t rebound”, “can’t stop anyone”, but they’ve actually done quite well against every team except Oklahoma State, who is making every team they play look bad right now.
The reality is that despite West Virginia not playing well defensively in its regular season finale at home, their intensity and defensive effort has been quite good all season long.
While it’s easy to focus on the last two games, the Mountaineers have proven time and time again that they can hang right with and even defeat the very best teams in college basketball this season (see: Gonzaga, Baylor, Kansas, Texas and even Oklahoma State). In fact, there hasn’t been a game all season that the Mountaineers have played that they didn’t have an opportunity to win in the closing minutes.
The difference between a 2 seed and a 4 seed is really not that much different, and any team that is unlucky enough to draw the Mountaineers will be in for an absolute battle.
The West Virginia Mountaineers are a hungry, talented, dangerous team headed into the only tournament that really matters!