Well, OK, so maybe that's a stretch to consider. After all, a win tonight against the Red Raiders - WVU is 2-0 against them this season - puts West Virginia into the unenviable position of facing top-seeded Kansas only a few hours later in Thursday's 3 p.m. quarterfinals.
The point that the Mountaineers are trying to hold on to is that this isn't a team that has been easily swept aside by almost anyone this season. It's a team that has shown flashes of potential and, on occasion, even brilliance.
If they can show those signs again, then why does their fate in the Big 12 tournament have to be a foregone conclusion?
"I'm hoping we play a little bit more consistent,'' coach Bob Huggins said. "We just have spells where we just kind of don't do anything and get down and we then we play pretty well in spots. We just have to be able to put that together for an extended period of time.''
That time, though, is running out. West Virginia's next loss will almost certainly be its last, and then it will be time to step back, re-evaluate things and make changes before next season.
"We've got the tools and pieces to win,'' sophomore Jabarie Hinds said. "We just didn't put it together. I don't know why, but I know we have the tools.
"We just have to have a new attitude and leave the season behind us. We can start over again.''
Again, unlike that 2002 team, this one hasn't just given up. It's not content to just play out the string.
"It's not over,'' said Deniz Kilicli, the only fourth-year senior on the roster. "If we quit, it's over. But if we don't quit, you never know. You never know.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at twitter.com/dphickman1.