Jeremy Hazell is probably the scariest scorer in the Big East and he had it going in back-to-back wins to end the regular season. Hazell scored 31 in an upset against St. John’s and then 21 in another upset against Marquette. In the two games, he was 8-for-11 from 3-point range.
And a few minutes ago he drilled a 3-pointer at the top of the key to tie the score and force overtime against Rutgers when everyone knew he was going to shoot it.
So you wonder not if momentum matters, but how much momentum matters. Believe it or not, WVU’s three-game winning streak is the second-longest in the Big East right now (Syracuse and Notre Dame have one a game longer).
In this league, hold on to what you can. The Mountaineers are because they believe in themselves once again.
“We did this one practice at a time and one game at a time. It was a great job not only to stay tough physically, but to stay tough mentally and follow scouting reports and do what we do.”
What WVU did was go 4-1 with home wins against ranked Notre Dame, Connecticut and Louisville and a win at Rutgers. The loss was at Big East champion Pitt and that fate fell upon a bunch of other teams this season.
Only St. John’s, Notre Dame and Louisville beat the Panthers in Big East play, and the Mountaineers topped two of those.
If you believe in the concept of momentum – and WVU Coach Bob Huggins does – then these now 20th-ranked Mountaineers have a couple things going in their favor as they return to the scene of their prime to defend the Big East title it won last March.
“We played Georgetown last year for the tournament championship and we win and they lose and they played four games and they came out flat in the NCAA Tournament and they lost,” Huggins said. “I think it gave us a great deal of momentum and I thought we played with a lot of confidence and a lot of swagger.”