At one point this season the WVU basketball team climbed to the No. 2 spot in the national rankings. After the recent struggles, that seems like a lifetime ago.
But after the WVU basketball team lost four of its last five games, the national rankings have still been kind to head coach Bob Huggins. West Virginia is No. 15 in the AP Poll and No. 11 in the Coaches Poll, according to ESPN.com.
West Virginia is the highest rank five-loss team in the Coaches Poll. Oklahoma comes in three spots behind Oklahoma in the AP Poll, but the Mountaineers beat the Sooners earlier in the season.
The fact that West Virginia is still in the top 15 in both polls should excited even the most cynical fans. There is still a lot of hype surrounding this team and the national media and some of Huggins’ peers still see the potential in the WVU basketball team. Once the Mountaineers can put it all together for a whole game, they really could be unbeatable.
The WVU basketball team still faces some tough tests the rest of the way, most notably road contests at Kansas and Oklahoma. The Mountaineers have shown that they could be among the best in the country but they have also shown that they are the worst second-half team in the country.
There is still plenty of time to get back on track. The only wins that really matter are the ones that come in March. West Virginia could still win the Big 12 Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. The WVU basketball team could even win the regular season Big 12 slate with a few more wins.
This season is not lost, despite more rough losses that should have been wins. West Virginia has 10 games left. A few more wins will lock up the NCAA Tournament berth, which is really all that matters at this point. Playing for a higher seed is nice and all, but just getting into the tournament is an accomplishment in itself.
Anything that happens in March could be a crap shoot, but it’s important for the WVU basketball team to realize that there are no second chances after that. There is time to correct the mistakes and reshape the identity that has gotten the WVU basketball team this far.