Agonizing Wait

West Virginia's NCAA hopes are on the thinnest of bubbles, which has the Mountaineers on pins and needles as they await Sunday evening's selections. Hopefully, those pins won't get too close to WVU's bubble.

"There's nothing we can do now," center Jamie Smalligan said after West Virginia lost a double-overtime decision to Louisville in the NCAA tournament. "Taking the No. 12 team in the nation to two overtimes is pretty close to a win. Hopefully the committee sees that we're 22-8, and that we've played pretty well. We're just going to see what happens.

"I've never been in this position. My first two years, I was in a position where as soon as we lost in the conference tournament, our season was over. I'd much rather be in this position, knowing that if we are definitely going to the NIT. We'd rather go to the NCAA, but whatever happens we want to give Rob and Frank a farewell to remember."

Smalligan's running mate at center, Rob Summers, shared some of the same thoughts.

"Just the waiting to find out what is going to happen is the toughest thing, but we'll accept whatever happens," the senior said. "Hopefully the way we played against Louisville will affect some people."

Losses by some conference favorites over the past couple of days have severely affected West Virginia's chances of being picked, and that's solely due to the fact that at-large picks are graded on the curve, not a standardized scale. While West Virginia hasn't done anything to hurt itself over the latter part of this week, other teams have jumped the Mountaineers by earning unexpected automatic selections, thus lessening the number of bids available for deserving at-large teams. So while the Mountaineers are holding out hope, the situation looks even worse that it did following Thursday's loss.

It being a Sunday, perhaps the most appropriate outlook is held by freshman Da'Sean Butler.

"I'm going to be praying," he said seriously. "Coach says to keep faith, and have faith in what we did this year. We've had a good season, and played a lot of good teams. Other people don't look at some of them as good teams, but they're good teams that played everybody tough this season. I'm just going to pray and hope that they let us in."


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