MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - It was the $25,000 question.
Could West Virginia pull off a huge upset?
For WVU coach Bob Huggins, it was literally that. A win over No. 1 Kansas would mean Huggins would pocket $25,000, per his latest contract.
For most, though, the simple question was, could the Mountaineers even stay in the game? The Jayhawks had, perhaps oddly, just been named the nation's No. 1 team by the coaches. (The Associated Press poll has Michigan No. 1.)
Could the hosts hang?
The answer on this Monday night was yes.
The Coliseum was rocking - and that was for the opening scoreboard videos. Even the WVU student section - the student section! - was alive. They waved cutout heads of Oprah, President Obama, Holgorsen, Luck and Manti Te'o, along with a faceless cutout, supposedly Te'o's fictitious girlfriend.
The cutout was faceless. And early WVU was mindless.
Kansas went out to a 15-point lead. The Mountaineer comedy of errors took center stage.
An interior pass to WVU's Terry Henderson, who was then surrounded by three Kansas trees - leading to a walk. Deniz Kilicli barely grazed the rim on a shot, then fouled. He threw the ball away.
Out of a timeout, the Mountaineer inbounds pass was stolen, leading to a Travis Releford dunk. Aaric Murray threw a pass into the hands of Jeff Withey - who was an inch away.
Huggins hit the water bottle early and often.
But then there was a spark, courtesy of Murray, who had nine points in the first half. A foul-line jumper. A steal and a jam. A bucket and free throw attempt after a sweet pass from Gary Browne, who had stolen a pass.
At half, hey, it was a game at 38-30 Kansas.
In the second half, Murray looked absolutely terrific. He camped out behind the 3-point arc. He lit a fire by hitting from there.
The 6-foot-10 junior from Philadelphia caused a Kansas turnover. He blocked a Kevin Young shot from behind.
Browne stole the ball and made a layup. He was on the floor battling. Point guard Juwan Staten flashed some speed and hit jumpers. (He almost hit his first 3-point bucket of the season, but a review wiped it out.)