The Final Week

WVU's four game losing streak, combined with Rutgers' home upset win over Notre Dame, has put the Mountaineeers in a precarious position for postseason play.

A week ago, everything looked solid for a WVU trip to the postseason, be it the Big East tournament, an NIT appearance, or both.

All WVU needed to do was to grab a split in their two game series with Seton Hall, and the Mountaineers would be just about home free.

As we know, that didn't happen, and now Rutgers has crawled back into the race for the final tournament spot in the West. With two games to go for each team, here's how the standings look.

Georgetown 5-9 RU 1-1; WV 1-0 2-8


4-10 RU 2-0; GT 0-1 2-9
Rutgers 4-10 GT 1-1; WV 0-2 3-8

Georgetown has games left at WVU and at home against Notre Dame. Rutgers is on the road for games at St. John's and at Syracuse, while the Mountaineers host the Hoyas and Virginia Tech to close the season.

WVU still controls its own destiny, but suddenly that destiny looks much more shaky than it did just a week ago. With the Mountaineers wearing down, will they be able to stand up to the rugby-like play of the Hoyas? Virginia Tech also figures to provide a challenge, as the Hokies are fighting for a Big East tournament trip of their own.

Although Rutgers is tied with WVU, the Mountaineers still hold the tie break advantage, but if the Knights can win one more game than West Virginia down the stretch, they will pass WVU and lock up a bid. If WVU simply matches the Knights' record over the final two games, however, WVU will be traveling to New York.

Georgetown, although holding a one game lead over Rutgers and WVU, is still vulnerable as well. Should the Hoyas lose to WVU and Notre Dame, they would be in danger of finding the West basement, depending on the outcome of Rutgers' final two contests.

There are scenarios in which any of the three teams can finish fifth, sixth or last in the division, so it's a wide open race going into the final week. That makes the final Big Monday game of the year even more important. WVU can put the pressure back on the Knights and Hoyas by recording a streak-snapping home win. Conversely, a Mountaineer loss would bolster their opponents' hopes even higher than they are already flying.

A possible NIT tournament bid brings even stranger ramifications into play. With WVU currently at 13-13, they must win at least one of their final two games, plus an opening round Big East tournament game, to qualify for an NIT bid. However, WVU could also sneak out a bid by going 1-1 over their final two games and missing out on the Big East tourney. That's not a scenario that the Mountaineers are hoping for, obviously, but it could still occur very easily.

The only certain thing is that this race is going right down to the wire, and may not be decided until the horn blows on Sunday at the conclusion of the Rutgers-Syracuse contest.

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