With the thrilling finish of the Mountaineers victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders on February 16, West Virginia possessed a 13-12 record. While it was certainly not the record that coach Huggins had expected from his team, there was still some optimism that the team could finish strong and at least make a push to qualify for the NIT.
Since that game, the Mountaineers have rattled of 5 consecutive losses (at Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Baylor, at Kansas, at Oklahoma). Over the past 20 days of futility, the Mountaineers have assured themselves of the first losing record the school has seen since the 2002-03 season and the first losing season for coach Huggins since his first season as a head coach for Walsh University in the 1980-81 season.
This kind of lengthy losing streak is pretty foreign to West Virginia fans. The last time WVU had suffered through such a streak was in the 2004-05 season when the Mountaineers hit the skids in 5 straight games (vs Marshall, Boston College, Notre Dame, at Syracuse, Connecticut).
West Virginia has an opportunity to break the losing spell and finish the regular season on a high note with one more home game left on the schedule. Unfortunately, the opponent is an NCAA Tournament bound team, Iowa State Cyclones (20-10). The Mountaineers narrowly lost to the Cyclones in Ames, IA back in January (69-67).
The Mountaineers will be seeking to avoid the longest losing streak the program has seen in 12 years.
Yes, we are referring to the abysmal 2001-02 season in which the Mountaineers went 8-20 for the season. That season featured not one, but two 9 game losing streaks wrapped around a lone win. In the stretch from December 28 to March 2, the Mountaineers won only once, an 89-81 home victory over Providence.
While the 2012-13 version of the Mountaineers are nowhere near as terrible as the 2001-02 squad, they are certainly going to capture the title of worst team of the Bob Huggins era and of the past 12 years. A title I’m sure they would be more than willing to give up if they could.