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WVU Basketball: the Ball is in Their Court

by Alex Kimble

West Virginia basketball is giving fans a reason to believe. West Virginia opened up as the second best team in the country by the AP and Coaches poll. Not to mention, the Mountaineers started the year ranked 11 in the country for the 2017-2018 season.

Besides an 88-65 loss against Texas A&M on opening night, the Mountaineers have been on a winning streak. They have won 15 games in a row. Even more, the Mountaineers have been defeating some quality teams. These teams are not just from their conference, but they are top teams in college basketball. That includes a win against the Oklahoma Sooners.

Despite all the excitement of the winning streak, the schedule gets tougher. This has been proven with back-to-back losses against Texas Tech and Kansas. Two out of their next three opponents are all ranked in the top 25 AP poll. These games will be key to seeding when March Madness comes around. Their opponents include: Texas, TCU (16) and Kentucky (21). They play everyone, other than Kentucky, twice before their season ends.

Everyone knows Kentucky’s reputation in the college basketball world. John Calipari is one of the best coaches in of all of college basketball. That game won’t be a cakewalk for the Mountaineers.

The biggest weapon for WVU this year has been senior guard Jevon Carter, who has been leading the Mountaineers during their 15-game win streak. He leads the team in scoring with 16 points per game. He averages almost 40 percent from the beyond the arc. This guy can impact the games in other areas as well, becauseCarter averages around 3.6 steals a game. He plays with a lot of heart, and he gets his teammates involved as well. He could be up for college basketball player of the year if he keeps it up.

By talking to Mountaineer fans, thoughts of March Madness and a national championship are simultaneous. I don’t believe anyone thought they could do it until now. There was a smell of victory in the 2009-2010 season when WVU made the Final Four. Coach Huggins was there with players, Devin Ebanks and Da’Shaun Butler. It was only the second time they got to the Final Four in the program’s history. Sadly, Butler went down with an injury in an unforgettable moment.

Right now, West Virginia ranks sixth in the country; the highest the Mountaineers have been ranked since 1959 during Jerry West’s senior year.  Like every team, West Virginia will have their share of doubters. The ball is in the Mountaineers court to make history. Their journey began at the start of the season, and it doesn’t end until the March tournament.

Photo credit: Justin K. Aller

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