Recently, ESPN basketball analyst Pat Forde penned a column on the 10 teams most likely to win the NCAA basketball championship.
One of Forde's teams was West Virginia.
While that may surprise even some die-hard Mountaineer fans, I couldn't agree more with Forde.
Consider that WVU started out the season ranked No. 9 in the national polls. Following Saturday's win at St. John's, West Virginia is 19-3 and could crack the top five this week.
The Mountaineers are one of the elite teams in by far the nation's best and deepest conference. That alone makes West Virginia a serious contender.
But what West Virginia has that no other team on Forde's list possesses is incredible potential to get much better by the time March Madness rolls around.
In just two games, Deniz Kilicki has made an impact on the Mountaineers. No, he's not a superstar, but he's a rock-solid competitor who -even while wearing off the rust -gives WVU another big, athletic body.
Just the presence of Kilicki already has made West Virginia a better team than it was to start the week.
But the Mountaineers have the potential to get much, much better. Consider:
Saturday's win over St. John's typified both the frustration and the elation Mountaineer fans have felt this season.
The first half was dreadful. A highly-inferior St. John's team was taking it to the Mountaineers, and had built up an 11-point halftime lead.
The second half was incredible. West Virginia was so thoroughly dominating, I'm sure coach Bob Huggins would love to bottle up that performance and bring it out for all of the remaining games.
This West Virginia team well can be like last year's squad - one that enters the NCAA Tournament with great potential and never lives up to it, exiting in the first round.
Or it can make Forde look like a genius and win that elusive national title every Mountaineer fan craves.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org