MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - When Bob Huggins was asked late Wednesday night about the significance of West Virginia beating a Top 25 team for the first time in more than two years, he was quick to put it in perspective.
His descriptor can't be printed verbatim, but suffice it to say that it involves cattle excrement.
"I think that's all [BS], to be honest with you,'' Huggins said.
When you get right down to it, perhaps that's true. The fact that West Virginia managed to beat No. 21 Oklahoma 91-86 in overtime Wednesday night at the Coliseum means little except that the Mountaineers are now 14-9 overall, 6-4 in the Big 12 and tied for third place in the conference with the Sooners behind Kansas and Texas.
They would be the same had they beaten TCU or Kansas or anyone else.
In truth, though, what Huggins was saying was only a matter of semantics. Wednesday's win was, in fact, significant, and in a way he admitted so.
No, it doesn't matter all that much that Oklahoma was in the Associated Press Top 25. That's subjective. Polls mean nothing.
But the Sooners were still just the type of team the Mountaineers needed to beat.
"That [beating a team in the Top 25] doesn't matter. RPI matters,'' Huggins said, referring to the Rating Percentage Index. "When they sit down and start looking at who's in and who's out, it's all about RPI. It's all about who you beat RPI-wise.''
Therein rests the significance not only of Wednesday night's win, but of the two that preceded it in what is now a three-game WVU winning streak. It might not matter that the Sooners are a Top 25 team in the polls, but even after losing to the Mountaineers, Oklahoma was still No. 21 in the RPI.
If the goal is to get into the conversation about an invitation to the NCAA tournament - and it always is, realistic or not - beating a team among the top 25 in the RPI does matter.
The win over Oklahoma followed victories over a Baylor team that is now No. 55 in RPI and a Kansas State team that is No. 38. The win over Baylor in a way illustrates what Huggins was talking about regarding Top 25 wins. Those poll rankings tend to fluctuate greatly, and beating a ranked team at one point in the season could be relatively meaningless later on if that team wasn't really worthy of a ranking.