Out-Classed In Every Way

It doesn't take a genius to watch West Virginia play basketball and realize that it's nothing like it's supposed to be.

It's not pretty. It's not efficient. It's not successful this season for many, many reasons.

However, it's not until you put the Mountaineers up against a team like No. 6 Kansas in a venue like Allen Fieldhouse do you realize just how ugly it has been this season at WVU.

On Saturday, that happened, and West Virginia fell to the Jayhawks 91-65. It was an embarrassing display, particularly in the final 30 minutes of play. WVU was outscored 46-34 in the second half, and it seemed much worse than that.

"We knew they were a good team coming in," said forward Dominique Rutledge, who was a faint bright spot for the Mountaineers on Saturday. "We are just disappointed in ourselves … We're a young team, and we have a lot of growing up to do on and off the court."

Kansas is just at a different level than West Virginia, and Saturday's game proved that.

KU is sitting pretty for the NCAA tournament of course. The stress of struggles and losses doesn't show, because it's not there. The Jayhawks have nothing to worry about.

Maybe that's why you couldn't find a frown in the building on Saturday. It really was a magical place.

The venue was filled up with about 20 minutes to go before tip, and the student section was packed long before that. The chants, the pre-game entrance video that showed all of the impressive KU tradition and the hallways around the lower level that showcased the great players were one-of-a-kind. It's the type of stuff you dream your school could be like.

Kansas is like that. It's where basketball is meant to be played.

"It lived up to what I expected," said WVU guard Terry Henderson of the environment. "It was pretty great. It would've been better if we came out with a win."

It makes a whole lot more sense to me now why the Jayhawks program has been so successful for so many years. It all works.

It doesn't all work for West Virginia, and it hasn't all year.

"We can't a couple unforced errors. We can't take a couple of bad calls in a row," said WVU head coach Bob Huggins. "That's our team. We're not good enough to do that stuff against a team that's as good and as experienced as Kansas."

The Mountaineers went to a Final Four less than three years ago, and they can't find a way to beat a team with a winning record – and hasn't done so since December.

West Virginia was actually up 16-9 early in the first half and had a chance on a fast-break opportunity by guard Jabarie Hinds to go up by nine points. However, Hinds attempted a layup instead of a dunk, and it was blocked away. From that point, it seemed to go all KU's way.

"That was a huge play," Henderson said. "It brought the whole crowd together, and that energized their players to player harder."

In the second half, it was hard to watch West Virginia – and that's why so many media members talked Kansas up so much. The Jayhawks were seriously so much better.

With about 11 minutes left, Kansas was treating this game like an NBA all-star performance – throwing ally-oop passes and just flying down the court for easy buckets. The worst part might've been that the Mountaineers just allowed it all to happen.

With 3:39 to play, KU guard Elijah Johnson grabbed an ally-oop pass and slammed it home with one hand over Hinds to the applause of the 16,300 fans who stood and cheered their loudest at any point when WVU's fans would've already been in the car heading home.

Even when WVU tried to stop the Jayhawks, it wasn't meant to be.

Simply stated, Kansas is high-class basketball. Everything about its program is. Right now, West Virginia is in coach, and it's going to take a lot of work to get any better.

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