When West Virginia University's basketball team beat Cincinnati on Jan. 21, the Mountaineers raised their record to 15-5 overall and 5-2 in the Big East.
WVU appeared to have smooth sailing in its quest to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, and was being mentioned for a regional seeding as high as No. 4.
What a difference three weeks makes.
Since that win over the Bearcats, coach Bob Huggins' team has lost five of six games, all in the Big East Conference. If not for an overtime win over Providence, WVU would find itself with a six-game losing streak.
It now stands at 16-10 overall and 6-7 in the Big East.
Of its five remaining regular season games, three are on the road, two against teams that beat the Mountaineers in the Coliseum.
It's now a distinct possibility -especially if WVU continues to lose -the Mountaineers won't make the NCAA Tournament.
Three weeks ago, that was unthinkable.
It's been downright frustrating watching West Virginia of late.
Both Wednesday's loss to Notre Dame and Saturday's loss to Louisville came in the friendly confines of the Coliseum, where WVU rarely falters.
But it wasn't Notre Dame or Louisville that beat West Virginia.
The Mountaineers beat themselves.
This team can't protect a lead because it can't make its foul shots.
Yes, it's a young team, but after 26 games, freshmen no longer are considered freshmen.
We've watched Bob Huggins' past teams get better as the season progresses.
That's not happening this year. It's taking its toll on Huggins, who seems as frustrated as we are.
It would be downright criminal if Kevin Jones -who is the best player in the Big East -doesn't get to end his career at WVU in the NCAA Tournament.
But Jones can't do it all.
The other senior, Truck Bryant, can show flashes of brilliance a la his 32-point performance against Providence. But those flashes have been few and far between.
He got shutout on Wednesday against Notre Dame. He was just 3-for-17 on Saturday against Louisville.
This team seems to lack the intensity of its head coach and its fans. It doesn't play with a sense of urgency. Both Notre Dame and Louisville seemed to want it more, a factor that often decides the outcome in close games.
It's still not too late to right this ship. In addition to five regular season games, there also is the Big East Tournament.
But the next two games are at Pitt and Notre Dame, not exactly places where one goes to get well.
This team is running out of chances. The smooth start has turned into a turbulent ride.
It's almost time for the landing, and the only runway that won't be a disappointment is the one that leads to the NCAA.
Contact Dave Poe at email@example.com