Tough to answer that without the benefit of tonight’s game, but this is the beginning of the end. The past three games almost feel like the conclusion of the non-conference schedule and WVU closes with seven of the final eight games against teams in today’s RPI top 55.
The Mountaineers are 1-9 against the top 100, thanks to that white-knuckler against Eastern Kentucky.
Anyhow, Baylor is not unbeatable and the Bears have of late struggled. It’s certainly possible and WVU has one of three winning road records in Big 12 play — though that’s a touch misleading considering who those three wins are against, much the same as WVU’s five Big 12 wins are worth exploring.
But the Mountaineers are better, certainly offensively and probably even defensively, too. I just wonder how that projects to this next part of the schedule.
“They’ve got a couple guys now making more shots and playing a little more than they did earlier in the year,” Baylor Coach Scott Drew said. “Add that offense to a good defense and good rebounding team and that’s what gets you wins.
“Coach Huggins is always gong to have his guys ready and in position to win. Normally, that comes down to making shots.”
That was WVU’s fatal flaw earlier in the season. As recently as Jan. 27, the day before the loss to Kansas, the Mountaineers ranked 314th out of 345 teams in field-goal percentage (39.5) and 272nd in 3-point field-goal percentage (29.2) – and that was even an improvement upon previous numbers.
WVU is now at No. 291 in overall shooting percentage (40.1) and No. 268 in 3-point percentage (31.5). The Mountaineers shot a season-high 56.5 percent against Texas Tech, 46.2 against Texas (sixth-highest this season) and 51.2 percent against TCU.
They’ve also averaged seven 3-pointers per game in the past three games. WVU made seven 3s only five times in its first 20 games. Wins against Texas Tech (10-for-18) and TCU (7-for-10) saw the best two 3-point percentages of the season.
“We didn’t do that earlier in the year,” Huggins said.
So if you think WVU can win tonight, are you of that opinion because it’s your team or because your team is improving and thus able to keep this going?