It is kind of tough overlook what WVU has done to this point in the season. The Mountaineers currently hold the nations longest win streak at 14 and have victories over the No. 3 (Virginia) and No. 9 (Oklahoma) teams in the country.
Despite entering the OU game on a 13 game winning streak I guess it took the Mountaineers beating Trae Young for ESPN to realize that maybe the Mountaineers were as good as advertised.
ESPN released their weekly college basketball power rankings on Monday and the Mountaineers made a surprising 11 spot jump from 13 to 2.
The reasoning? You guessed it, beating Trae Young. ESPN had this to say about WVU at No. 2 this week in their rankings:
“Maybe we underrated the Mountaineers before last week, but we’ve rectified that — and their win over Trae Young and Oklahoma helped in a big way. Jevon Carter is a legitimate All-American candidate, by the way. He’s posed back-to-back 10-assist efforts, averaging 16.6 points on the season, and is the best defender in the country.”
Seems ESPN just figured out that Jevon Carter is a force to be reckoned with. While I do not disagree I’m assuming most at ESPN did not really pay attention to the WVU/OU matchup. Carter sat a significant part of the second half due to being in foul trouble.
I am guessing that 9-11, 20 point performance by Teddy Allen was just an afterthought too.
Beating Trae must be something ESPN just really had a hard time choking down, I mean look what Sportscenter tweeted after the Mountaineers win on Saturday night,
Lowest FG% since the season opener, season-high in turnovers, and tied for season-low in assists. But let’s not talk about that, right?
ESPN did recognize one thing, it is going to take more than Trae for Oklahoma to compete in one of the toughest conferences in college basketball. ESPN had this to say about Oklahoma in this week’s power rankings, where the Sooners currently stand at No. 7:
“Trae Young needs more help from his teammates if the Sooners are going to win big games in conference play. Getting a combined 17 points from Christian James, Brady Manek and Kameron McGusty is tough to overcome, especially against a defense like West Virginia’s that was geared to make life difficult for Young.”
It is getting tougher and tougher for anyone to overlook what WVU has done this season. But the road only gets more difficult from here.
The Mountaineers finish out the month of January against No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 12 Kansas, No. 16 TCU and No. 21 Kentucky. In addition to four games against ranked opponents WVU will also face Baylor, Texas and Iowa State who currently have a combined record of 30-14.
You can see ESPN’s full Power Rankings HERE.