Before West Virginia takes on Texas Tech Thursday night, we all need to stop and reflect for a few moments on the magical ride of the last three weeks.
I'm sure everyone has their own special memories and thoughts about WVU's trip through the Big East tournament and the first two rounds of the NCAA. Although Thanksgiving is well past (or far in the future, depending on how you look at it), I'd like to share a few words of thanks for what has happened so far.
Thanks for a team that doesn't fall apart or melt down when faced with adversity
Thank you, Greg Hunter for allowing me the chance to cover Mountaineer athletics, and this team in particular, up close.
Thanks to the WVU administration for a coaching hire that mixed equal parts of luck and good sense to give WVU one of the most respected mentors in the business. Coaches hyped by the media are one thing. Coaches that are consistently righted highly by their peers are another. And WVU has one of the few that are lauded by both. Thank you, Coach Beilein.
Thanks to Kevin Pittsnogle for showing West Virginia athletes that they can succeed at the highest level at their home state's flagship institution of higher learning.
Thanks to my mom and my mother-in-law for helping take care of my daughter while I am flying and driving all over the country. Even though I do have to reverse the spoiling process when I reclaim her, it's worth it.
Thanks to J.D. Collins, who shrugs off the garbage tossed his way about his supposed deficiencies, and proves game after game that he is a quality Big East player.
Thanks to WVU's outstanding Sports Information and Sports Communications staffs. Every time I'm exposed to their counterparts at other schools, I'm reminded of the excellent work and great service people like Shelly Poe, Bryan Messerly, Michael Fragale, Tim Goodenow and Joe Swan provide.
Thanks for having to make the choice of going to WVU's tournament games or going to the Masters. Despite my love of golf, I gave up my Masters tickets without reservation. Augusta National is special, but it can't compete with the Mountaineers in the Sweet 16.
Thanks to Tyrone Sally for sticking it out. WVU wouldn't be here without you, and you deserve every moment of this Sweet 16 trip.
Thanks for those Mountaineer fans who kept the faith during the rebuilding process. Those of you who stuck with WVU through thick and thin are being rewarded now. And isn't it fun to say that you always believed WVU could win with this system, and these players, in the Big East?
Thanks to Tony Caridi and Jay Jacobs for some memorable calls of the games of March. Listening to the archived broadcasts is almost as much fun as watching the game in person.
Thanks to Joe Herber who shows that you don't have to jump out of the gym or dribble between your legs three times in order to be a valuable player.
Thanks to Mike Gansey, who does jump out of the gym on occasion, for a thrilling succession of reverse layups and dunks. His best jump, however, was the one he took from Olean, N.Y., to Morgantown, W.Va.
Thanks to Juice, Duriel Price, for keeping his team up through the tough month of January. With your attitude, you'll be a success no matter what you will do in life.
Thanks to Chris Richardson for holding down the fort while we have been gone. Without you, I don't think we'd have been able to make every game.
Finally, thanks to my wife, who in the middle of her busiest time of year, still allowed me to spend the better part of three weeks away from home. I promise you that it wasn't just an elaborate plot to cause you more stress. And if West Virginia wins two more games, would it be too much to ask for one more weekend?