Yesterday the Mountaineers edged out the Baylor Bears with a 57-54 victory, in which both teams mightily struggled shooting from the field.
With the win and Texas Tech falling to Oklahoma last night, Bob Huggins’ squad is now in sole possession of first place in the Big 12 conference. Come Monday they just might be number one in the country.
Two things have to happen: West Virginia beats Texas Tech and Villanova loses to Xavier tonight or loses at St. John’s on Saturday. Both games could spell trouble for Villanova as they do not have much depth. Xavier is ranked 10th for a reason and has been a headache for teams all year long. St. John’s is always a tough venue and you can expect the fans to be loud and rowdy this weekend when they welcome in the nations top ranked team.
One can make a case that if the Mountaineers win in Lubbock Saturday that they should be number one regardless of what Villanova does because it will be another top 10 win for the resume.
First and foremost, West Virginia just needs to win. Yes, it would be nice to be the number one team in the nation, but we have to focus on winning games and everything else will play itself out. No one remembers what you did in December or January, everyone remembers what you did in March/April. This is why I say never take a win for granted, especially when it comes in league play.
If you want to have a shot at dethroning Kansas from its Big XII crown you have to continue to find ways to win games even if it is a poor shooting night, like last night. There are 14 games left in conference play and one would assume you will probably need to finish somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-3 or 14-4 in conference to oust the Jayhawks.
What would a number one ranking mean for the program? Well, it would mean a lot to the program and its prestige, but it does not stop there. West Virginians have been longing to see their team recognized as the nations best in either football or basketball. It also helps with national prowess and gaining attention from recruits and even the AP voters.
Along with that number one ranking comes adversity, every team is going to give you their best shot in attempt to knock you off. Keep in mind, this is basketball and you are going to lose games, the key is just to limit the damage as much as possible. A loss hurts, but it’s not the end of the world in college hoops, get ready for the next one and erase that loss before one game beats you twice.