WVU Sports with Tom Bragg

Happy Esa Ahmad Is Back Day.

The forward will be in the lineup when West Virginia visits Texas Tech this afternoon. (Whether he starts or not is a secret Bob Huggins is apparently taking up to game time.) But his return will be a big boost to the No. 2 Mountaineers’ lineup.

How big? And how much does that mean for WVU’s next five games, a march through fire that, if the Mountaineers can win them all, should cement them as the top team in the country. Here’s the list: at No. 8 Texas Tech, at home versus No. 12 Kansas and Texas, at No. 16 TCU and at home against No. 21 Kentucky.

Ahmad didn’t face Kentucky last year, but here’s how he did against the other four teams:

Texas Tech — 2 games, 9.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg

Kansas — 2 games, 23.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg

Texas — 2 games, 3.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg

TCU — 1 game, 16 pts, 5 rebs

Long story short, Ahmad is a Kansas-killer. And that’s who the Mountaineers face Monday. It may take some time for him to get his game legs under him, but any Ahmad is better than no Ahmad.