"We can't concern ourselves with anything other than just playing each game and trying to win,'' said point guard Joe Mazzulla. "Do that and everything else takes care of itself.
Following Thursday's late-night (9 p.m. tip on ESPN) game at Pitt (24-3, 12-2), West Virginia finishes the regular season with a Sunday noon game at Rutgers (13-13, 4-10 before Tuesday's late game against Louisville), then home games next week against No. 13 Connecticut (20-6, 8-6) on Wednesday and No. 16 Louisville (20-7, 9-5 before Tuesday night) on Saturday.
Perhaps just as significant as boosting its NCAA tournament stock in the final four games is improving WVU's standing in the Big East. The Mountaineers are now in a three-way tie for eighth place in the league with Connecticut and Cincinnati. But the room for movement is tremendous.
West Virginia is just one game ahead of 11th-place Marquette, so a handful of losses could send the Mountaineers reeling. But on the flip side WVU is also just a game out of fourth place in the loss column and only two games out of second. West Virginia also owns tiebreakers against two of the top three teams in the current standings (Notre Dame and Georgetown), but loses a tiebreaker to No. 11 Marquette.
In other words, the Mountaineers could still very realistically finish in the top four and earn a two-round bye in the Big East tournament, in fifth through eighth and earn a one-round bye or in ninth or lower and have to play in the opening round on Tuesday, March 8 at Madison Square Garden.
Trying to predict where West Virginia might finish - even if one were able to predict WVU's record in the remaining four games - is next to impossible because of the 28 Big East games remaining, all but three involve teams still realistically fighting for byes, and 15 are between those teams.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.