Cover Photo: WVU Athletics
Morgantown, West Virginia – Make no mistake about it, the West Virginia Mountaineers’ hopes of playing in the NCAA Tournament this season are hanging on by a thread.
West Virginia, currently 15-12 overall and 4-10 in the Big 12 Conference, have four games remaining in the regular season and must win at least two of them and at least one game in the Big 12 Conference Tournament.
And it will be no easy task. West Virginia plays Oklahoma State (16-11) tonight, its most winnable game by far, before going on the road to play at #3 Kansas and then #23 Iowa State, the two most challenging places in the conference to get a road win. The Mountaineers then close out the season against #14 ranked Kansas State.
If West Virginia takes care of business at home, they will finish the season 17-14. 18 is the magical number, which means the Mountaineers would need to win at least one game in the Big 12 Tournament to have any real shot of making the NCAA Tournament.
Winning 3 out of 5 games to finish the season is certainly possible, but the Mountaineers will need to play far better than they did in their last game against Texas Tech, which they lost at home.
According to experts, West Virginia is squarely on the bubble. CBS Sports Bracketology currently lists the Mountaineers as the last team in the tournament: “West Virginia is the last team in the current bracket and a big reason why is that the Mountaineers are just 9-12 against the top three quadrants. That would set a new standard for the worst record against that group of teams for an at-large team. Frankly, if West Virginia only plays .500 ball the rest of the way, it probably will not get into the tournament. Unfortunately, this is the easiest game left on the schedule. It’s vital that the Mountaineers win it.”
The bottom line is that West Virginia is in the tournament right now, but they have a lot of work to do and the first step is beating the Oklahoma State Cowboys at home tonight.