February Wins Necessity, Not Luxury

West Virginia looks for a home sweep over visiting New Jersey schools on Sunday as the Seton Hall Pirates invade the WVU Coliseum.

The goal for West Virginia over the regular season's final seven games is very, very simple says head coach Bob Huggins.

"We have to win," Huggins said without a hint of hesitation. "I don't know that we have to win all of them but we certainly have to win some ball games."

Or else, for the second consecutive season, the Mountaineers could find themselves on the wrong side of the bubble come selection Sunday. In the deep and rugged Big East Conference, the jockeying for a top four seed and first-round bye doesn't look like it will be ending anytime soon. And so long as upwards of nine teams contine to vie not only for a first-round bye but a berth in the big dance, each and every win that West Virginia can grab becomes even more important.

"Look at the league," Huggins said. "If we can win tomorrow it puts us at 7-5. Marquette is 8-5 and Georgetown (lost to Syracuse on Saturday).

"That (gives) Georgetown three losses," Huggins continued. "We're right in the thick of things but we've got to take care of our business. We can't control what other people do but we can control what we do."

On Sunday, the only thing the Mountaineers can control is how they play against the struggling Pirates. Bobby Gonzalez's club has been streaky since the beginning of league play, opening with two losses, followed by five wins. Seton Hall is currently in the midst of a four-game losing streak entering Sunday.

Despite the downward spiral, the Pirates are not lacking in talent. The dynamic duo of Brian Laing and Eugene Harvey are enough to give any Big East coach fits, and Huggins is certainly no different.

"They are pretty good and they surround them with other guys that can make shots," he said. "They basically play one big guy and four guards. Laing plays like a guard even though he's 6-foot-5 and a big strong guy.

"They all have good ball skills and they can all beat you off the bounce," he continued. "They all spread you because they have guys that can make shots."

Slowing down Laing, Harvey and the rest of the Pirates would no doubt go a long way in a second consecutive win for the Mountaineers. Regardless of the opponent though, the goal for the next few weeks remains the same. Win, win and win some more.

"I don't have any idea (on the amount of Big East wins it would take to get in the NCAA Tournament)," Huggins said. "I just know if we keep winning we are going to get in."


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