A perfect start to conference play combined with losses by four of the top five ranked teams last week has pushed the West Virginia men’s basketball team to No. 2 in the newest AP Men’s Basketball Top 25 Poll, receiving 12 first-place votes. This is the highest the Mountaineers have been ranked since the 1959-1960 season.
Bob Huggins’ team has not lost since losing its opening game to then-No. 25 Texas A&M in October. Since, the Mountaineers (14-1, 3-0 Big 12) have defeated Missouri, then-No. 15, Virginia (now at No. 3), Pitt and then-No. 7 Oklahoma. This impressive record also includes an Advocare Invitational championship.
WVU sits behind Villanova, who is also 14-1, but 1-1 in the Big East. The Wildcats received 52 first-place votes, mainly because they were ranked No. 3 last week and were the only top-five team that did not lose. Villanova’s resume, though, could be called into question. Jay Wright’s team lost to unranked Butler on the road just before the New Year. Notable wins include defeating then-No. 12 Gonzaga, but the Bulldogs are currently ranked No. 15. That is the only ranked team Villanova has played. They did beat Tennessee, now ranked No. 25, in the Battle for Atlantis over Thanksgiving.
If WVU wants to continue to stay near the top of the polls, they will have to battle four other top-25 teams in the Big 12. Texas Tech is No. 8, Oklahoma is No. 9, Kansas is No. 12, and TCU is No. 16.
This week, the Mountaineers will host Baylor on Tuesday, Jan. 9, and then travel to Lubbock to play Texas Tech, who just knocked off Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse.