I remember I had a very good friend when I was in college who went to WVU and he used to tell me that wherever West Virginia would play, no matter where it was the "Mountaineers fans would just take that [spot] over......."
Well, get ready Indianapolis because the Mountaineers fans are getting ready to take that spot over because the Mountaineers are headed to the Final Four.
What else can be said about the West Virginia win over Kentucky other than -- this is a great night for the Mountaineers, their fans, the people of that state and frankly it is yet another testament to the fact that when it comes to winning in the NCAA Tournament, there is no more often than not no substitute for experience provided the talent level is somewhat equal.
And while Kentucky clearly has more NBA-level talent than West Virginia ---- though the gap isn't nearly as large as some people would make it out to be as I think in Kevin Jones and Devin Ebanks there are two legitimate future NBAers (though Ebanks should come back for one more year) and while Da'Sean Butler isn't likely to be a high draft pick (if he is drafted at all), he certainly plays the game at a very high level --- there is no question that the Wildcats really came unwound quickly when the Mountaineers defense got them frustrated.
Meanwhile, West Virginia's kids played with poise, maturity and got the job done down the stretch when they needed to.
As for what this means for the program, well, it means the Mountaineers are closing in on becoming a member of the elite under Bob Huggins, who needed just three seasons to get this program to the Final Four and who will no doubt recruit the kind of talent that he'll have a shot at several more before he retires. Huggins is a hard-nosed coach but in covering him this year and these past four days I've come to realize this - he cares deeply about his players and they respect him because he is genuine.
Here is one last thing -- don't be surprised if West Virginia wins it all because from where I am sitting, they are the best team left standing - and frankly they may have beaten the only team who is better than them on paper tonight.
One other thing -- getting back to the start of this blog -- the Mountaineers fans certainly took this spot over tonight as it was loud and rowdy, just like you'd expect it to be.
Now if we could just get them to understand that annoying John Denver song was written about a road in Maryland and a valley in Western Virginia, we'd be onto something.......(joking, well, sort of.....)