West Virginia keeps winning in dramatic fashion

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Can West Virginia fans handle any more of this?

The Mountaineers have gone from a bubble team a few weeks ago to a full-blown bracket buster by getting to the Elite Eight -- but it hasn't been easy ... or easy on the heart.

After winning thrice on consecutive days to make the Big East tournament finals, the No. 7 seed in the Albuquerque region beat No. 10 Creighton on a final fast-break dunk in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last week.

Then they took out No. 2 Wake Forest in double-overtime in round two.

Then, Thursday night, they outlasted No. 6 Texas Tech 65-60 in the Sweet 16 at The Pit in the Albuquerque Regional.

All of these wins were capped in the final few possessions, making the Mountaineers the official Cardiac Kids of the 2005 NCAA Tournament.

"I think it's good," West Virginia coach John Beilein said. "It's actually good. I don't know how many more games we can win but our kids are used to playing like this and they have fun and react so well."

They do because it's ingrained in them from day one.

"It's just our mentality," West Virginia junior Johannes Herber said. "We like battling back, being the underdog, fighting adversity. That's what we've been doing for three years."

Need a few examples?

Tyrone Sally turned the ball over with just about a minute left in the game on an errant pass. Instead of sulking, he raced down court and blocked Jarrius Jackson's shot with 55.9 seconds remaining. The ball went out of bounds. Texas Tech had another shot, four of them to be exact, but never could convert.

Finally, the ball was loose and Patrick Beilein, the coach's son, stumbled and found his way to it before he stepped out of bounds. He called a timeout with 30.5 seconds left.

"I saw the ball come off and I was actually running to it and Joe Herber was falling down and he actually tripped me," Beilein said. "So I kind of looked funny running over to the ball. I looked down and saw my feet were in bounds and I called timeout."

"On my block and Pat just diving in, he could have easily let it go, and that's basically how our season has been -- hard-nosed guys just scrapping and finding ways to win," Sally said.

The Mountaineers are a collection of transfers and the under-recruited, devoid of All-Americans. They pride themselves on their grit and tenacity to never give up on a play.

"We just are all hard-nosed players," Herber said. "We're not all gifted athletically. So we have to make it up with hustle."

Mike Gansey, the St. Bonaventure transfer, talked after the game about how the players know everything about each other, even down to who their girlfriends are.

But are they ready to call themselves a great team?

"We're not one of those powerhouses like Duke or North Carolina yet," Beilein said. "We like to be under the radar. We got hot at the right time."

West Virginia becomes only the sixth No. 7 seed to reach the Elite Eight since the field expanded in 1985. None of them has ever advanced to the Final Four.

That's just yet another mountain to climb for the Mountaineers.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.