Don’t buy into WVU’s recent success
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 06:02
Unfortunately for the West Virginia men’s basketball team, we live in a world in which, generally speaking, success isn’t achieved by simply doing what we’re supposed to do.
The best example I can think of this is one that happens on campus. If you showed up on time for your 8:30 a.m. class this morning, it definitely took some extra effort. I know how difficult it can be to wake up early on a cold Monday morning and trek to class – especially after a long weekend.
However, your professor probably didn’t stop his lecture and congratulate you on making it to class on time. It’s what you’re supposed to do – what’s expected of you. So why are some fans praising the return of West Virginia when all it has done so far is (figuratively) show up to class?
I know winning on the road in the Big 12 isn’t easy, but Texas Tech and TCU are not wins to get super excited about. Honestly, wins against Seton Hall and Providence would impress me more.
Holding off Texas at home was a nice win, but the game got close when it didn’t have to be, and ultimately, it was a game the Mountaineers should have won.
What impressed me most in the Mountaineers’ recent string of games wasn’t a victory, but a narrow defeat. The amount of fight and energy West Virginia displayed in a five-point loss to then-No. 2 Kansas made me think perhaps the direction of the season wasn’t quite charted yet.
However, Kansas’ back-to-back conference losses, including one at home, have lessened the value of that performance.
It’s okay for West Virginia fans to have a little more hope than they had a week ago. After all, it’s the first time since December the Mountaineers have been able to string together three consecutive wins.
Coach Bob Huggins’ boys have finally found a little bit of a rhythm offensively, and the Mountaineers’ 7-of-10 effort from beyond the arc in Saturday’s 63-50 win against TCU was only the second time in 14 years West Virginia connected on 70 percent or better in a game from three-point territory.
West Virginia is above .500 for the first time since Jan. 5 and holds a modest 5-5 record in Big 12 play.
There’s no denying this team is playing as well as it has all season in conference play, but there are serious hurdles ahead that need to be cleared in order to reach some of the lofty projections some fans are sketching out in their newfound hope.
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of West Virginia’s remaining schedule is the road games. The Mountaineers have two trips to the Sunflower State to tangle with Kansas State and Kansas. They also have to travel to Oklahoma to play a team that has beaten West Virginia twice this season and just knocked off the Jayhawks at home.
Then there’s that whole thing with Baylor. The Mountaineers have yet to play the Bears (15-8, 6-4) this season, but they’ll play them twice in a two-week span starting Wednesday, when the Mounties travel to Waco, Texas.
Excluding Baylor, West Virginia has a 1-5 record against its final six opponents. They’re not supposed to win those games, but can they?
I don’t know.
I have to give West Virginia credit for fighting its way back into the discussion. A mere week ago, it was laughable to suggest the Mountaineers could salvage anything from this season that somewhat resembled a solid year.
Things are different now, and I give you that. I’m far away from being sold, though.
Before I start buying into any postseason destinations, I need to see something I don’t expect – like a West Virginia win when they’re not supposed to.
Or a professor applauding a student for showing up to class on time.