MORGANTOWN - It was a year ago when Bob Huggins faced a similar state of affairs. Faced with a handful of days to practice for the next opponent, but not entirely sure who that opponent might be, the West Virginia coach made an educated guess.
He crammed the Mountaineers for two days on all things Notre Dame, which was the highest-seeded team his squad might face in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. Then, roughly 22 hours before putting all that work to practice, the Irish lost to Cincinnati.
"That was really intelligent, wasn't it?'' Huggins asked Monday.
This time around, West Virginia doesn't have a bye into the quarterfinals. But with a first-round bye in the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden, the Mountaineers aren't sure of their next opponent. WVU is the sixth seed and plays late Wednesday night against either Marquette or Providence.
Those two teams meet in tonight's late game (approximately 9:30 p.m. on ESPNU), with the winner advancing to play West Virginia. Marquette (18-13) is the No. 11 seed and Providence (15-16) No. 14.
If Huggins was to make another educated guess this time around, chances are he would gamble on preparing for Marquette. If he's gambling, though, he's not saying.
"At the end of the day, everything's going to come down to a ball screen anyway,'' Huggins said. "So we're going to work on guarding ball screens.''
That's probably the wise choice.
Still, it would be an upset of sorts if West Virginia's first-round opponent is not Marquette. The simple fact is that the Golden Eagles might be playing for something this week that none of the other 15 league teams face.