MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The strength of the Big 12 Conference this year is well-documented.

It’s the toughest league in the NCAA, and has proven to be difficult to navigate for almost every team in it, including West Virginia (13-5, 2-4 Big 12).

The Mountaineers are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, their first in nearly two years. All three of those losses have come against ranked teams, with two of them coming on the road.

Things don’t get any easier for WVU, which has two more stretches of three straight games against currently-ranked teams remaining on its schedule.

With one of the toughest schedules in the country looming ahead and NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday just 49 days away, it’s time to start considering WVU’s tournament credentials.

West Virginia’s standing in both the NCAA NET and the KenPom rankings have fallen in recent days. So has the Mountaineers’ placement in ESPN’s Bracketology projections.

Even before to Saturday’s 13-point loss against No. 18 Texas Tech, West Virginia had already fallen to be a projected No. 10 seed in the tournament.

That’s likely for two reasons. One, the recent losing streak, and the contributing factors to how they’ve lost those games. Two, the lack of statement wins on their resume.

“My opinion is, we haven’t really beat a team that is worth beating. Like, we’ve played good teams, good mid-majors,” said guard Taz Sherman Saturday. “We played a good Kansas State team in my opinion, I think they’re good. But, we haven’t had that team that we beat to where it’s like, ‘West Virginia beat them.'”

According to the latest NCAA NET Rankings, WVU is just 2-5 against Quad 1 opponents. The Mountaineers’ combined winning percentage against Quad 1 and Quad 2 teams is .500.

Both victories against Quad 1 teams came during the non-conference portion of the schedule – a home win against a then-ranked UConn team, and a road win against UAB.

That was more than a month ago.

Sherman pointed to the fact that WVU has lost to four of the top five teams in the conference standings.

“If we want to be one of those top teams, we have to beat one of those top teams,” he said. “We got to beat a good team so we can say we’re a good team.”

There will certainly be chances for that.

Of West Virginia’s 12 remaining regular season games, half will come against top 25 teams, and all of them will be played against teams ranked in the top 63 of both the NET and KenPom rankings.

A schedule like that provides equal opportunity for a team to play its way in, or out, of the NCAA Tournament field.

“We’ll see them all again. We’ll see them all around one more time before the conference tournament,” said Sherman. “We’ll see everybody, and then we just got to capitalize.

For Sherman, it also means not looking too far ahead, knowing what lies right in front of this team.

“I’m more of a game-to-game kind of person. I don’t want to look too far ahead,” he said. “You know, you got to look at the obstacle and the task in front of you. And once you battle that, you go on to the next one, and the next one, and so on.”

West Virginia’s next two games each come against unranked opponents. The Mountaineers will host Oklahoma on Wednesday, and then travel to Arkansas for the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday.

Three-straight games against ranked opponents follow, but this time two of those games will be played at the Coliseum. Consecutive road games are then followed by another stretch of three contests in a row against ranked opponents.

“As a basketball player, you just got to adapt,” said Sherman. “The schedule is a little difficult, especially for us the travel is a little difficult, too. But we just got to find ways to fight through it.”