Most significantly for the Mountaineers, it would make them feel better about a blemish on their resume. They started Big 12 play with back-to-back wins on the road against TCU and Texas Tech and lost to Oklahoma State when the Cowboys made a late 3 and Staten missed a layup at the buzzer.
The players believe the heartache from that loss cost them at the start against Texas. Then Kansas State happened, and it doesn't fit with what came before it with the thrilling overtime win against Texas Tech, the spirited effort on the road against Oklahoma State and the win against the Bears that followed.
"This is a real big game because Kansas State the first time, we went out there and we definitely got stepped on," forward Remi Dibo said. "We never came close to making it a game. Everyone on the team is really looking forward to this one."
It's the beginning of the final homestand of the season for the Mountaineers, who alternate playing on the road and at home in their final eight games. They play host to Oklahoma on Wednesday and that starts a streak of four in a row against ranked teams. WVU has lost 16 consecutive games to ranked opponents. The school record is 20 in a row.
"I told them in the locker room, 'Enjoy this one until we get off the plane. Then you start to get ready for Saturday,'" Huggins said after Tuesday's game.
If nothing else, WVU is better now at following orders. After Saturday's loss to Oklahoma State, the Mountaineers reminded one another the first loss to the Cowboys cost them the following game against the Longhorns. They challenged one another to make sure a second loss to Oklahoma State wouldn't cost them against Baylor.
There were three lead changes in the first five-plus minutes, but WVU didn't trail in the final 34:34 and kept control despite four ties, three in the second half. Just for added drama, the Mountaineers used defense and rebounding after halftime to have its lowest point total in a win this season.
"It feels a lot better to head into this game with a win," Staten said. "You always have more pressure on yourself going into a game after a loss and you press because you want to win. We definitely need to start winning games in this conference. It's big for us. A lot of people are writing us off, saying we're the same team from last year, but that's far from the truth."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu.