West Virginia Basketball: Kansas Win was Greatly Needed


Morgantown, W. Va. became “upset city” Monday night as No. 23 West Virginia beat No. 8 Kansas in dramatic fashion.

This huge win for head coach Bob Huggins’ team could not have come at a better time. Before upsetting Kansas, the Mountaineers lost three of their last four games. Those three losses also came in the form of blowouts.

A skidding West Virginia team entered a matchup with Big 12 leader, eighth ranked team in the country Kansas with little momentum. To pick up this win was beyond needed and should boost the momentum moving forward.

Dating back to the loss at Oklahoma, that arguably started the toughest span of games for West Virginia and the remainder of the season was going to be a tough test for the Mountaineers.

That held true, too. Blowout losses to Oklahoma, Baylor and Iowa State had many scratching their heads and wondering if the fast start for West Virginia had come to a screeching halt.

But, we can’t write West Virginia off as legitimate Big 12 contenders just yet. With a huge win over Kansas we have to give credit where it’s due.

While West Virginia has suffered some ugly losses, the Big 12 conference is too deep, and

Feb 16, 2015; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers guard Gary Browne (top) and guard Juwan Staten (bottom) celebrate on the court after defeating the Kansas Jayhawks at the WVU Coliseum. West Virginia won 62-61. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

unpredictable to say the Mountaineers have no chance of claiming a conference crown.

With this win, WVU improved to 20-6 overall and 8-5 in the Big 12. West Virginia sits only behind Iowa State and Kansas. Kansas is still leading the conference at 10-3, making West Virginia two games behind the Jayhawks for first place.

While it seems likely Kansas will claim the Big 12 regular season, the conference tournament is a whole different discussion.

Wipe away the embarrassing defeats. West Virginia has the weapons to win in this conference. One of those weapons, Juwan Staten is proving to be a leader for this squad.

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“Since we lost our last game, we knew this was a must-win game,” said Staten. “We talked about how tough this stretch would be, talked about how we needed a top-ten win.”

Staten’s game-winning layup was phenomenal and what he’s been able to provide this team with all season has be greatly appreciated by Huggins and company.

While his play as of late hasn’t been jaw-dropping, overall he’s the staple of this team and his heroics on Monday had to have installed confidence in his team as they journey further into stiff competition.

The win, however, won’t alleviate pressure and Huggins knows his team has to stay on track.

“Why would it take the pressure off of us,” said Huggins following the Kansas game. “The whole point is to have a high seed in the tournament.”

Big 12 basketball is one of, if not the best conference in the country, but don’t throw in the towel on West Virginia’s chances of claiming a tournament title just yet.