You gotta love it when ESPN eats crow. It looks like after winning 14 straight, with victories over the No. 3 (Virginia and No. 14 (Oklahoma), ESPN takes notice.
With a win over ESPN’s superhero Trae Young, ESPN realized that maybe there is something to this Mountaineer team. It doesn’t help that the game was broadcasted on ESPN. They had no choice but to acknowledge that Bob Huggins’ boys can play ball.
On Monday ESPN released their weekly college basketball power rankings and they gave the Mountaineers a massive spike from 13 to 2.
What was their reasoning? Defeating the Trae Young-led Oklahoma Sooners. Here is what ESPN had to say about the team they had ranked #2:
“Maybe we underrated the Mountaineers before last week, but we’ve rectified that — and their win over Trae Young and Oklahoma helped in a big way. Jevon Carter is a legitimate All-American candidate, by the way. He’s posed back-to-back 10-assist efforts, averaging 16.6 points on the season, and is the best defender in the country.”
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Welcome to the party, ESPN. Jevon Carter is great. What took you so long to figure that out? It’s funny they notice this after a game where Carter sat for a large part of the second half. Do they even watch the games?
Perhaps they could have mentioned Teddy Allen getting 20 points off the bench on 9-of-11 shooting.
They made sure that Young got his due. SportsCenter tweeted this Saturday night right after the game ended:
Got his 13th straight 20-point game, but couldn't get the W in West Virginia. pic.twitter.com/Ve8GB2z9fK
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 7, 2018
Sure he had his worst shooting game of the season to go along with a season-high turnovers. Those five assists? His worst of the season. They passed on mentioning that, though.
At least ESPN picked up on the fact that Trae Young alone is not enough for Oklahoma to compete in the Big 12. On their power rankings, ESPN had this to say about the Sooners, who they now have at No. 7:
“Trae Young needs more help from his teammates if the Sooners are going to win big games in conference play. Getting a combined 17 points from Christian James, Brady Manek and Kameron McGusty is tough to overcome, especially against a defense like West Virginia’s that was geared to make life difficult for Young.”
At this point it’s almost impossible for anyone to overlook the Mountaineers. That said, it’s only going to get tougher from here.
In January the Mountaineers have games left against No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 12 Kansas, No. 16 TCU and No. 21 Kentucky. Outside of those four games against ranked contests, the Mountaineers take on Baylor, Texas and Iowa State. It’s never easy in the Big 12.
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