It’s tough to find the positives in West Virginia’s Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal round loss to Oklahoma State, but I think there is one: West Virginia is still playing in the NCAA Tournament.
As head coach Bob Huggins said postgame, it makes it a lot harder for a team like West Virginia to win games when its big man, Derek Culver, isn't at top-notch health. Culver was clearly not at 100% for this game and yet he nearly earned a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Yes, I was definitely disappointed after the game, but still very proud of how close WVU came to winning that game. The Mountaineers were lacking defensively — as they have been all year — and dealt with a beleaguered Culver and Gabe Osabuohien in constant foul trouble.
Despite the early exit in the Big 12 Tournament, West Virginia is still going to play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2018 next week in Indianapolis, Indiana. The best thing that could happen for WVU is that it won’t have the potential of facing another Big 12 team until late in the tournament if it makes a run.
The Big 12 is always a battle and it just depends on who limps out of the pile by the end of the season to be crowned conference tournament champions. This year has been one of the most competitive Big 12 seasons since West Virginia joined in 2012. Everyone has beaten each other up over the past couple of months to where everyone is trying to piece together small runs to be competitive for the national championship.
Baylor has remained at the top throughout the season and Kansas and Oklahoma State have become two of the hottest teams over the past month.
The Mountaineers will more than likely be a No. 4 seed when the committee announces the seeds on Selection Sunday. West Virginia needs to get rest this week and gear up for a competitive NCAA Tournament. WVU can still make a run, but it's just waiting on things to all click at the perfect time.
Right now, the Mountaineers only have one confirmed game left to play in the 2020-21 college basketball season. If there was a time to go 110%, it’s right now for West Virginia heading into the NCAA Tournament.