NEW YORK — Now the waiting game begins for West Virginia.
The Mountaineers should have a resume good enough for the NCAA tournament but still didn't do themselves any favors with a 71-67 loss to UConn on Wednesday afternoon in the second round of the Big East tournament. Instead of securing their dance ticket, West Virginia awaits Selection Sunday hoping there is more good than bad in their mixed bag of a season.
The Mountaineers boasted a 9-9 record in conference play before coming to Madison Square Garden for the Big East tournament, a mark that would likely have been enough in most years from this conference. But the 19-13 Mountaineers certainly limped to the finish line losing eight of 12 games to finish the season.
Coach Bob Huggins' team had only one win over a top 25 team this season, yet he believes the totality of their work is enough.
"We played more games against top 100 [teams] than anybody in the country," Huggins said. "They say [to] play a tough schedule — we have. We've played more games against top 50 teams. We've done everything they've asked us to do other than maybe win a couple games."
West Virginia could have solidified its resume on Wednesday had it held on to an 11-point second-half lead in its final Big East game before bolting to the Big 12. Instead, a UConn team that also needed the win to ensure its place in the field of 68 rallied to force overtime thanks to turnovers and second-half foul trouble for the Mountaineers and a handful of key plays from Shabazz Napier.
West Virginia missed all of its 11 shots in the extra session to all but hand the game to the Huskies.
It was another painful loss for the Mountaineers, who have consistently failed to close out games and hold on to leads this season. It was the sixth loss this year by four points or less for West Virginia.
"I think it's just our execution offensively down the stretch," star forward Kevin Jones said. "When coach asked us to run a play, we have to execute it as well as possible and I don't think we do a good job of that and also, we don't do a good job of staying strong with the ball. We let people take the ball from us and it's kind of a matter of getting out-toughed in the last five minutes."
Yahoo! Sports contributor Kristian R. Dyer can be followed on Twitter @KristianRDyer
- West Virginia