MORGANTOWN - It was in the immediate aftermath of West Virginia's 102-77 rout of No. 11 Iowa State last Monday that Bob Huggins was asked about his team's upcoming schedule.
It seemed an issue because at precisely the time the Mountaineers were playing their best basketball, they were scheduled to face just one team in the following 11 days. That was Saturday night's contest at No. 19 Texas.
"Yeah,'' Huggins cracked, "it'll be a long week if we don't win that one.''
Well, welcome to a long week.
Saturday night's 88-71 loss to the Longhorns in Austin was what the Mountaineers didn't want for so many reasons. The most obvious is that in playing what was by far West Virginia's worst performance in a month - certainly since a 22-point loss at Kansas State - the Mountaineers lost the momentum they built in winning four of five.
But also gone is a chance to move into a tie for third place in the Big 12 standings, a mere half game out of second. Instead WVU is in sixth, only 1 1/2 games clear of falling into the unwanted bottom four (the teams that must play an opening-round game in the Big 12 tournament).
At least temporarily gone is the buzz. After going 4-1 in a demanding part of its schedule and climbing into the conversation for an NCAA tournament bid, now West Virginia moves to the back burner for a bit. The Mountaineers' chances of reaching that goal are really no worse now - they weren't going to win out - but they won't have a high profile for a while.
And finally, there is that layoff and the long week Huggins talked about. West Virginia (15-11, 7-6 Big 12) doesn't play a weekday game this week, instead returning to action on Saturday with an afternoon home game against Baylor (16-9, 4-8).
That's a long time to stew over a loss, so the Mountaineers will try not to do that.
"You can look at it two ways,'' said point guard Juwan Staten. "You can look at it and say this is going to be a long week and hang your head and feel sorry for yourself. Or you can use this week to get better. You can look at film, get in the gym, shoot the ball and prepare for the next game. That's the way I'm looking at it.
"This [the Texas game] was a bad loss, but I'm trying to find the positive in it.''