MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Time is running out for West Virginia, but Bob Huggins and his team have plenty of opportunities ahead of them.
WVU travels to Lawrence, Kansas on Saturday to face the third-ranked Jayhawks at KU’s Allen Fieldhouse, a venue at which the Mountaineers have never won. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. ET on ESPN.
The Mountaineers eye revenge after losing at home in January. WVU hung with the Jayhawks in the first half, but a dismal second half on offense by the Mountaineers allowed KU to coast for a 14-point victory.
“I think it’s a given that we’re going to try to guard better, I think we have guarded better,” Huggins said. “I thought we guarded very well [against Oklahoma State]. We made shots.”
Both teams have had roller-coaster rides in the seven weeks since, but clearly, the Jayhawks have come out the other end relatively unscathed. They returned to the No. 3 spot in the AP poll this week after falling as low as No. 9 following a three-game skid in the middle of January.
The Mountaineers, on the other side, have taken to consistency on the court like oil to water, winning half of its 14 games since that meeting. That stretch has included blowout wins over teams like Auburn, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, but it is also dotted with disappointing a disappointing loss to Texas Tech and a 34-point defeat to No. 5 Texas. (That was the team’s biggest margin of defeat of the Huggins era.)
The Jayhawks are riding two streaks into this game. First, they’ve one four straight games over the Mountaineers dating back to 2021. In fact, despite some early success in the series for WVU, the Mountaineers have won just two of its last 15 meetings with Kansas.
KU also has a hot bit of form going, having won its last five games. It also has just one loss in 14 home games this season.
“I think their shot-making ability affects everybody. They make shots,” Huggins said. “They make shots, but they’ve also gotten a ton of breaks. If you want to look back over the history of the deal, they’ve gotten incredible breaks that nobody else has gotten, nobody else gets outside of [Allen Fieldhouse].”
WVU’s bracketology picture
The Mountaineers’ most recent blowout over Oklahoma State gave the team a well-needed boost for its NCAA Tournament resume as it wrestles with over a dozen other teams on the bubble. According to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi (as well as several other bracketologists), the Mountaineers are now one of the “First Four Bye” teams with an 11-seed.
With 16 regular season wins, WVU must pull off two wins in its last three games to earn its target number of 18 wins, which the team identified as the golden number for a postseason bid. All three of the Mountaineers’ games are against top-25 opponents, and two of them are on the road.
That, of course, starts Saturday in Lawrence. A win at Allen Fieldhouse would be a significant boost to WVU’s resume and might even solidify their place in the field of 68 (depending on outside factors), as it would be without question the Mountaineers’ strongest win of the season thus far.
WVU at No. 3 Kansas game information
The Mountaineers and the No. 3 Jayhawks tip off at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN. Before the game starts, though, get prepped with an all-new Mountaineer GameDay, airing live on affiliated Nexstar stations at 10 a.m. ET.