Another mystery for WVU

Just as one Morgantown mystery apparently has been solved, another has appeared.

Ever since Keith Patterson, the defensive coordinator for the West Virginia University football team, announced he was leaving to join Todd Graham’s staff at Arizona State, Mountaineer fans have been speculating who would be Patterson’s replacement.

Word leaked out on Thursday -first reported by CBS Sports -that Tony Gibson, who played for Glenville State from 1991 to 1994, has inherited the duties of running the defense for coach Dana Holgorsen this fall.

Gibson, who will be WVU’s fourth defensive coordinator in four seasons, has been serving as the Mountaineers’ secondary coach. His only previous experience as a defensive coordinator came at West Virginia Tech in 1999 and 2000, a school that no longer has a football program.

Let’s hope WVU can shore up the defensive woes that have plagued the Mountaineers.

While the Mountaineer football team failed to improve as the season progressed -losing six of its last seven games with its only win in that stretch coming by three points in overtime versus TCU -the WVU basketball team has won four of its last five -including wins over No. 21 Oklahoma and No. 11 Iowa State.

All of a sudden, the 15-10 Mountaineers have joined the conversation for inclusion into March Madness. In fact, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi now has West Virginia as the “last team in.”

After watching the Mountaineers lose four out of five from Jan. 11 through Jan. 25, WVU fans figured their favorite team once again would be on the outside looking in come tournament time.

Now, West Virginia has an opportunity to play its way into The Big Dance. But let’s not get too giddy just yet. The road to the final 68 is a rugged one.

WVU’s final six games include road contests versus No. 19 Texas and No. 11 Iowa State as well as Oklahoma, which WVU beat in overtime when the No. 21 Sooners came to Morgantown.

Those who still must come to Morgantown include Baylor, TCU and No. 7 Kansas.

It has been nice to see coach Bob Huggins’ basketball team progress. After feeling like West Virginia was sleepwalking through games, all of a sudden the Mountaineers woke up and saw the light. They’re not just playing better, they seem to be giving more effort.

This is perhaps the most wide open year in the history of college basketball with no overwhelming favorite and teams such as Wichita State and San Diego State occupying positions in the top 10.

It would be a long shot for West Virginia to advance deep into March Madness but as they say every year come tournament time you’ve got to be in it to win it, and now there’s at least a possibility WVU will indeed be in it.

Contact Dave Poe at dpoe@newsandsentinel.com