WVU should have beaten Xavier. A Joe Alexander free throw away from an Elite Eight appearance. But instead, the game goes into overtime and someone leaves BJ Raymond open for a game-ending 3-pointer. Sound familiar?
If Alexander doesn't foul out, maybe WVU wins. If West Virginia makes some free throws, maybe WVU wins. The Mountaineers had many chances to win the game but just couldn't finish the job. Yes, it's very disappointing but who would have guessed WVU would be in the Sweet 16. I was going to be happy with any post-season play this year. And instead of sitting in the NIT or worse, Bobby Huggins led his team to the Sweet 16 on the strong play of Alexander and Mazzula.
So, what does the future for Mountaineer basketball hold? Probably not many more players like Ruoff or Alexander. Probably not many more players like Smalligan either. Instead we'll get some questionable characters that are going to be a little harder to cheer for but, as long as they win, we'll find a way. Is that right? Probably not but everyone likes winning. But I think we'll still miss the days of the Beilein players who were just plain likeable. Gansey, Beilein, Herber and, to a lesser extent, Pittsnogle seemed to be good people on and off the court. Traditionally Huggins' players haven't necessarily been that way.
Maybe Huggins has changed a bit and will look for players that can play basketball and also have a higher moral fiber. I don't think that will happen but I can hope. In the meantime, I can enjoy this Sweet 16 run and think about what might have been if only a free throw or two had fallen. And there's always North Carolina remaining...so all can't be bad. Right?