After what seemed to be possibly a season-changing win in overtime over Providence Sunday, West Virginia fell once again to Notre Dame, 55-51.
The Mountaineers have now lost four of their last five games, and are 6-6 in Big East Conference play with six games remaining on the schedule. Assuming they need nine or 10 conference wins in order to have a pretty good chance of getting an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament.
So, that means WVU will need to find a way to win at least three of the final six games, which includes road trips to Notre Dame and Pittsburgh (two teams it has lost to in the last two weeks) and home games against Louisville on Saturday and Marquette next Friday before wrapping things up with DePaul and South Florida (on the road).
Will it be tough for the Mountaineers to build a good enough resume for a bid? Yes.
Are they dead yet? Let’s see what junior forward Deniz Kilicli had to say after last night’s loss:
“We’re not dead yet. We lost the battle … but still, we’re not dead.”
Kilicli also had some good things to say after the game about what Bob Huggins told them in the locker room about the importance of wearing the West Virginia jersey:
”In this state, there’s nobody else other than us. There’s no pro team and people love us. Half of those guys (in the stands) are coming from southern West Virginia – that’s about three hours that they’re travelling (to get to Morgantown). Coal miners go down into the mines and come back up to watch us play. Everyone is the state works so hard to get what they deserve and when we don’t dive to the ball … it looks bad. I think it’s disrespectful to the fans and I apologize for that.
We should think about that tonight, everybody should. Some fundamental issues, you can go over it and you can change it, but when we have issues in our hearts, that’s a bad thing.”
As Bob Huggins always says, the Big East is a hard league. The Mountaineers will have to find ways to win tough games if they want to get back to the NCAA tournament, but it’s definitely still a possibility.
With that said, Saturday’s game against Louisville will be huge.
But more on that later, let’s get to some tidbits from last night’s game …
- First, for those of you on Twitter, WVU head coach Bob Huggins got Twitter today. It took him about two hours after his first tweet to get up over 2,000 followers.
- Kevin Jones had 14 points, which means his streak of 20-point games ends at nine. That’s just one short of tying Jerry West and “Hot Rod” Hundley’s record of 10.
- Jones finished with 14 and 12 rebounds, giving him his 16th double-double of the year and 28th of his career.
- After scoring 32 against Providence, Truck Bryant was held scoreless against Notre Dame. It was the sixth time in his career he failed to score a point, and the second time it has happened against the Irish.
- With that said, Truck needs 77 more points to reach 500 for the season, and that will put him and KJ in the record books …
- With 77 more points, Bryant and Jones will become the 7th duo to score more than 500 points in a single season in WVU history. It will be the fourth time it has happened in Huggins’ five years at West Virginia.
- The other groups to do so were: Fritz Williams, Carl Head and Deacon Reaser (1967); Lowes Moore and Mo Robinson (1978); Kevin Pittsnogle and Mike Gansey (2006); Joe Alexander and Alex Ruoff (2008); Alex Ruoff and Da’Sean Butler (2009); Da’Sean Butler and Kevin Jones (2010).
- After last night’s loss, WVU is 4-3 in games decided by five points or less.
- Deniz Kilicli has now played at least 25 minutes in six-straight games. He’s played at least 30 minutes eight times this season. His career-high in minutes coming into this year was 27 (last season against South Florida).
- Although he failed to score a point, Truck shot just one time in the second half and finished with a career-high eight assists.
- When West Virginia took a 41-40 lead on a Kevin Jones 3-pointer, it was the first time the Mountaineers had led since it was 12-10 (it took 23:54 to get the lead back).
Follow Daily Athenaeum Sports Editor Michael Carvelli on Twitter.