"I think the biggest thing we've done is gotten some rest and kind of healed up,'' said coach Bob Huggins. "I think everybody's got bumps and bruises and nicks and this was probably a good time for us to hopefully get healed up for a good stretch run.''
What is ahead for the Mountaineers is certainly a stretch run. Sitting squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble, West Virginia has five regular-season games remaining, plus the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo. Not every game WVU plays is a must-win, but realistically if there aren't at least three or four wins out there in the regular season and at least one or more in the league tournament, those NCAA tournament hopes will quickly fade away.
Saturday's home game against a Baylor team that is also fighting for its postseason life would seem imperative to win. The Mountaineers have already done that once, beating the Bears 66-64 in Waco, Texas on Jan. 28 on Juwan Staten's tie-breaking layup, but the second time might be even more difficult, even if the game is in Morgantown. Baylor was in the midst of a slide when the teams met earlier (the loss to WVU was its fifth in a row and the skid would reach seven of eight), but the Bears now have won three straight to revive their NCAA tournament prospects. The last two were both in overtime, against Kansas State and Oklahoma State.
Harris, for one, doesn't remember much about that first game except the most important aspects.
"I don't even remember it,'' he said. "All I remember is [Staten] hit that shot and we won.''
Following Saturday's game, the Mountaineers continue alternating home and road games until the end of the regular season, all rematches of earlier games. Including the game with Baylor, West Virginia beat four of the five remaining opponents in the first game between them.
Next up is a Wednesday trip to No. 17 Iowa State, followed by a home game with TCU, a trip to Oklahoma and a home game with No. 8 Kansas to round out the regular season. Only Kansas beat West Virginia the first time the teams played.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.