Cover Photo: WVU Athletics
Morgantown, West Virginia – Over the last several weeks, the West Virginia Mountaineers have been firmly placed on the NCAA Tournament bubble by virtually every expert. Although West Virginia had an outstanding NET Ranking, they also had an awful lot of losses during the season.
However, winning at Iowa State and at home against #11 Kansas State in back to back games has made the Mountaineers a near lock to go dancing at March Madness now.
According to ESPN last college basketball bubble watch article, the Mountaineers have likely done more than enough to earn a bid in the NCAA Tournament: “All of a sudden, West Virginia’s tournament chances appear surprisingly solid for a team that’s 18-13. Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, the Mountaineers were seen as receiving one of the bracket’s last four byes.
Then Erik Stevenson, Kedrian Johnson and Emmitt Matthews Jr. combined for 70 points in an 89-81 win at home over Kansas State. In addition to the victory over the Wildcats, WVU’s profile shows wins over Iowa State, TCU, Pittsburgh and Auburn. The NET has ranked the Mountaineers highly throughout bubble season, and this group may have the best results-based metrics of any 13-loss team in Division I history. The near future is looking brighter for Bob Huggins and his team.”
The Mountaineers will now turn their attention to the Big 12 Conference Championship, which takes place next week in Kansas City. A few weeks ago, it looked like West Virginia would need a win or two in the tournament to earn a bid to the Big Dance, but after two impressive victories in back to back games, the Mountaineers can now play loose knowing that they are already in.