Maybe it’s the homer in me that has me punchy today. Perhaps it has something to do with my perception of a backlash against the Big East’s dominance in basketball (akin to why polls show that SEC football is now a hater favorite). Maybe I’m just disappointed and feeling that Coach Huggins and Kevin Jones aren’t getting their due.
How are we not in the Top 25? We just beat last week’s media darling (Cinci), Kevin Jones is the front-runner for Big East Player of the Year, we have the 9th most difficult schedule (SOS) in the country, the 14th highest RPI, and we’re tied for 3rd place in the nation's toughest conference.
Yet, in spite of this, WVU is still "others receiving votes" behind a Louisville team with four conference losses, a Kansas State team we beat on the road, and Harvard (#121 SOS & #48 RPI). We're not as good or experienced as Syracuse, but not in the Top 25? Then Monday Penn State grad Dana O’Neil at ESPN feels compelled to take a shot at us. I know that Truck played his worst game this past weekend, but is that all this Pissy Lioness took from the game? Did she not see KJ’s dominance? What about the freshman output and Huggs’ coaching?
Coach Huggins has commented a different times this year that NBA scouts come to our games to look at supposed first-round picks from other teams and not his guy. Inevitably, they and media members who get to see KJ play come to the conclusion that this guy is a flat-out stud. However, a very few national media outlets are singing his praises, even though he stands a good chance of being only the third player in Big East history to finish the season leading the league in scoring and rebounding. Props to ESPN's Jason King - he knows what we're talking about.
I hope our players are feeling what I’m feeling today. I hope they feel disrespected and that they believe their accomplishments are being minimized by people with little regard for WVU. I hope they go into Madison Square Garden tonight with an Orange-Bowl-sized chip on their shoulders.
If that’s the case, St. John’s basketball is going to be the latest piece of collateral damage for a chippy WVU team and fan base that simultaneously hates being treated like a mangy dog but loves playing as the underdog.
WVU plays St. John's tonight at 7:00 p.m. on ESPNU.