Well, maybe it's not a tournament exactly, but it might well be a double-elimination event for the Mountaineers. At 17-11 overall and 7-8 in the Big East, two more wins would send WVU into the Big East tournament squarely on the bubble and needing another win or two.
Of course, it would help if one of those wins was tonight against Marquette because that counts a whole lot more than a win over DePaul and a little more than a road win at USF. (No, this isn't football where every game counts the same, at least where NCAA resumes are concerned.)
I asked Huggins Wednesday night if his team needed to approach these last three games like a tournament.
"God, I hope not,'' he said.
"Is it a tournament atmosphere? We've got to win some games. I don't know, does that make it a tournament atmosphere? It's not one-and-done, but we've got to win some games. You put yourself behind the 8-ball and we've certainly done that. We've lost some close ones, but usually you lose some close ones because they make plays and you don't.''
OK, so it might not be one-and-done right now, but it will be hard to argue that it isn't such next week if there's not a win tonight against Marquette. Think about it. If WVU loses to Marquette, the absolute best it can do heading into the Big East tournament is a 19-12 record, 9-9 in the league and seven losses in the last 11 games of the regular season. There will be just one win over a Top 25 RPI team and just four over Top 50 teams, while the team's RPI will be down in the 50s or 60s at best. Add it all up and it would mean the Mountaineers would go into Madison Square Garden needing to win at least two and perhaps three or more games.
All in all it's not much different than the situation WVU faced last season, but this isn't last season's team, either, not with only three players who have been through this before.
"Yeah, it is different because of the young guys,'' Kevin Jones said. "We get beat like [at Notre Dame] and they kind of worry and get down on themselves. But we just have to stay together. We have three more games left and we have to find a way to win. That's what it's all about.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.