Mountaineers strive for consistency prior to NCAAs
Published: Thursday, March 10, 2011
Updated: Thursday, March 10, 2011 22:03
Players inside West Virginia's locker room spent much of their time with media following the game, explaining how it will bounce back.
Like head coach Bob Huggins has preached throughout his career, these players aren't looking in the rearview mirror.
The Mountaineers are trying to quickly forget their 67-61 loss to Marquette in the second round of the Big East Conference Tournament.
"We looked like a whole different team out there," said WVU junior forward Kevin Jones. "We've got to come together as a team, again."
WVU has been forced to work through adversity this season, already. So, this won't be any different.
It will just be longer, as the team will have more than week before it plays another game. It's a break the team didn't have last year because it advanced through and won the Big East Tournament.
"It's a break we didn't want," Jones said. "We want to go out the right way, and the way that we're headed, it's not going to happen."
West Virginia has been forced to come together this season due to adversity.
The Mountaineer men's basketball team has used team meetings to recover following an 0-2 start in Big East Conference play and a troublesome loss in Charleston, W.Va. They used negative critics to motivate them to a 4-1 finish to the regular season, including wins over Notre Dame, Connecticut and Louisville.
This time, it's no different.
"We've got to put it all together," Jones said. "Once we do, we'll be fine. We've got a week until we play our next game, and we have to get it together."
WVU will find out Sunday who its opponent will be in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Mountaineers have an impressive NCAA Tournament resume, which should help them when their name is brought up by the Selection Committee.
WVU has five wins over top-25 teams, five wins over top-25 RPI teams and a 8-6 record against top-50 RPI teams.
West Virginia finished the regular season in the top 20 of the RPI, had a No. 2 strength of schedule behind Big East foe Georgetown and had a top 25 finish.
The team's worst loss was against Marshall, which is No. 51 in the latest RPI.
"We need to make sure that we're ready to go, and we put this behind us," said WVU senior forward Cam Thoroughman. "We have to come out with more energy."
With Wednesday night's victory over West Virginia, Marquette likely assured itself a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
That means a record 11 teams from the Big East Conference are expected to make the big dance
"You get so caught up in the melodrama of what happens during this time of the year that you have to win this, you don't have to win that, ESPN says this, Fox Sports says that. I don't think any of them know," said Marquette coach Buzz Williams. "The best thing is to continue to win, because the teams that are continuing to play this late in March are typically going to play next week. Our guys are smart enough to deduct all of that."