The West Virginia men’s basketball team is currently ranked second in the country, marking the team’s highest ranking in over fifty years. With that being said, the team is also on the cusp on taking early control of the Big 12 conference. Typically, teams face a series of games throughout the month of February that helps to shake out conference standings and post-season ramifications. This year it seems that the scheduling powers of the Big 12 have given us a post-holiday treat; the middle of the month of January.
West Virginia has played four of their conference foes thus far, sitting at the top of the conference rankings. The next week of not only West Virginia’s schedule, but the rest of the conference included, will likely have ramifications for the way the rest of the season will play out. The Mountaineers travel to Lubbock, Texas this weekend to take on the number eight ranked-Texas Tech Red Raiders. This will be the Mountaineers’ second ranked match-up in the last week after taking down Oklahoma at home.
Following the Texas Tech game, the team sets their sights on Kansas back in Morgantown. Playing Kansas at home is usually the end all, be all game as the Jayhawks are often ranked in the top tier of teams. The Jayhawks will be looking to take down the higher-ranked Mountaineers in Morgantown, a location that needs no explanation. A win for West Virginia says so much for their season, a win for Kansas leaves the door open for the Jayhawks to creep back up to the top.
Rounding out the month of January, the Mountaineers take on Texas, ranked TCU, and play host to familiar March Madness foe the Kentucky Wildcats the last Saturday of the month. The Mountaineers are at the point where they can create their own destiny. Keep winning and you are sitting at the top, the team to chase toward.
Over the past several seasons, the Mountaineers have been the ones doing the chasing as the Big 12 is consistently one the more competitive conferences, and Press Virginia has kept up with its competition. Now, the role is reversed and all eyes are on the men in Old Gold and Blue as they work on taking an early lead in conference play. Take a second and imagine what it would be like for the Mountaineers to finish out the month of January without a loss because that would really be something. If the Mountaineers are able to just keep winning, this season will hopefully turn out to be one for the record books.