MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Right now, 26 games into the season and 26 days from Selection Sunday, we just don't know how things will end for West Virginia's basketball team.
A whole lot can change for the team that was 15-5 overall and 5-2 in the Big East, but has now lost five of six. What the Mountaineers do with the remaining six games they are guaranteed will determine if they end up in a fifth straight NCAA Tournament or in the NIT for the first time since winning it in 2007.
All WVU really has to do with the five games left in the regular season and at least one in the Big East Tournament is march in place, win more than lose, and things should be OK.
The RPI on Monday was 41 and the strength of schedule was No. 6.
That won't change a whole lot as long as the bottom doesn't fall out for the Mountaineers ... though it could with road games left at three tough arenas.
West Virginia seems to believe it needs 10 conference wins to get into the NCAA Tournament, but 9-9 could do it, if coupled with a run at Madison Square Garden.
A Big East team that finished below .500 in conference play hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since Seton Hall went 15-11 overall and 8-10 in the Big East in 1993-94.
The Pirates then won two games in the conference tournament, and that was enough to impress because six of the league's 10 teams made the NCAA Tournament that season.
And while time remains and we might not yet know the story of this season, the hunch here is that it is written.
This season, the last one in the Big East for the Mountaineers, may very well be remembered, if not defined, by officiating.
This isn't a monologue from atop a soapbox. It's not a rant from the bully's pulpit. The truth is I don't have a solution for how fix officiating.
The scheduling system that allows a middle-aged man to work 28 games in 34 days or 77 games before Valentine's Day is absurd. Yet the problem with quality officiating trumps the quantity of games.
Put a limit on games in a week or a month and you limit how often the better officials are available and you incorporate more mediocre officials, which doesn't help.
The fix there is to get more officials who are good at officiating, but that's far easier said than done. Truth is, it's in a bad state right now and everyone has to deal with it.
It's an old story and, again, probably not the one everyone is going to be telling when they talk about these Mountaineers this season.