Bubble Watch: West Virginia Drops Key Road Game

By Jack Dooley
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The West Virginia Mountaineers have played their way back into the bubble conversation with their recent play in the Big 12 Conference. After a loss Saturday to Kansas, West Virginia finds themselves with a pedestrian 14-10 record. The loss snapped a nice three-game winning streak for the Mountaineers, who had toppled three potential tournament bound teams in succession. A road win against Kansas would have put West Virginia is a good position heading into March, but it was not meant to be as Kansas paced the Mountaineers 83-69.

West Virginia held their own as Kansas did not pull away until the waning minutes of the second half. The loss seems like a squandered opportunity for the Mountaineers, but there are several chances for the Mountaineers to pad their resume heading into the conference tournament. In order for West Virginia to have a chance at making the field of 68, there are several things that have to happen. West Virginia has to manage to split with Iowa State.

The Cyclones are poised for a big leap in the polls after a big week, and a win on Big Monday would be the signature win that the Mountaineers need to force the issue. Even if West Virginia manages to beat Iowa State in Morgantown on Monday, the Mountaineers would only be 2-5 against the top 25. West Virginia would need to defeat Texas on the road as well.

West Virginia would also need to win their remaining games at home, which include a game against Kansas. Without splits with Iowa State, Kansas and Texas, the Mountaineers would need to win the conference tournament outright. West Virginia has vastly improved as the season progressed, and are realistically a year away from being in the NCAA Tournament. While it seems like a long shot, head coach Bob Huggins has his young squad in position to potentially squeak their way into the Big Dance.

Jack Dooley is a Big 12 Basketball writer for Rant SportsYou can follow him on Twitter @JackDooleyRS

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