If anyone thinks West Virginia’s men’s basketball team will suffer a letdown coming off its biggest win of the season Saturday, think again.

Inflated heads? Nope.

Overconfidence? Sorry.

Right now, West Virginia is simply a confident team that is learning more about itself with each passing game.

“I don’t think overconfidence is an issue. I don’t think it’s much of a factor,” freshman forward Joe Alexander said. “I don’t see what we can let go to our heads.”

This young group of Mountaineers are on a mission to prove themselves to everyone who wrote them off following the conclusion of last season’s Sweet 16 run in the NCAA tournament.

That includes the Big East Conference coaches, who picked West Virginia to finish toward the bottom of the standings in the preseason poll.

“Everybody always tells us that we’re horrible all the time,” Alexander said. “But I think we got a little bit of confidence (Saturday), so that is going to help us.”

Fresh off its No. 25 ranking in The AP poll Monday, West Virginia (11-1, 1-0 in the Big East) plays its first game tonight after upsetting previously unbeaten and then-No. 9 Connecticut, 81-71, Saturday.

Villanova (10-2) visits the WVU Coliseum at 7:30 p.m. today for its conference opener.

The last time West Virginia broke into the national rankings before playing Villanova was back in January 2005, when the Mountaineers were ranked 21st and then lost to the Wildcats, 84-46, on the road.

“We can’t keep looking back, ‘Oh, that’s a great win against UConn,’ because if we do, we’re going to get our butts whooped by Villanova,” senior forward Frank Young said. “It’s my job as a senior and leader (to not let that happen). We just have to go in, play the same way we played (Saturday) to get a win.”

Even freshman spark plug Da’Sean Butler knows the Mountaineers can’t dwell on the Connecticut victory, because Villanova brings an athletic and talented team as well.

So, too, will St. John’s on Saturday as well as every other Big East team West Virginia plays this season.

“This is a good win. This is a great win, as a matter of fact,” Butler said. “We have work to do. That’s our first win in the Big East. There are a lot more games left. We have to just put this game behind us, look forward, don’t get too cocky and play defense.”

Fifth-year head coach John Beilein isn’t buying into the fact that his team will have a hangover from the double-digit win over Connecticut.

“I think we’re going to see the same type of quickness from Villanova, which has a very good team just like UConn. It will be two teams that are just battling through this maturity that you have to have,” said Beilein, who has never lost a game here in December (21-0).

“All three teams — Connecticut, Villanova and West Virginia — have played a lot of postseason games the last couple of years because they had the experienced players. So now we all have to pay for it now that they’re all gone.”

That perfect December record doesn’t mean much to Beilein, either.

No matter what the month is or who the opponent might be, Beilein just wants his team to defend its home court.

“What I really like is when we get a packed house, and we send people home happy. People travel some long and windy country roads to get from their homes to this Coliseum,” Beilein said. “They are getting here two hours ahead of time to make sure that they get in here and in their seats. I hate to send them back to whether it’s Magnolia or Huntington or Martinsburg, and be unhappy with a long drive home.”

E-mail Andrew Manzo at dmanzo@timeswv.com.

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