Mid-March is annually the Holy days of college basketball. But in 2020, the gyms are silent and the NCAA Tournament will not be played for the first time since its inception in 1939. We will never know what would have been for the 2020 West Virginia Mountaineers in their quest for One Shining Moment. In it’s place, let’s use the Wayback Machine to look back at the best tournament games for the Mountaineers. We are selecting the best WVU game for each round of the tournament – Round of 64, Round of 32, Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four and National Championship Game. Each day will feature a new top WVU NCAA Tournament game, culminating with the finals.
Part 1 of 6: Round of 64
1998 West Regional, Boise, Idaho
(10) West Virginia 82, (7) Temple 52
In a battle featuring former Atlantic 10 Conference rivals, the former A-10 member Mountaineers turned in their most dominating NCAA Tournament in the history of the program in a 30-point rout of coach John Chaney and his Temple Owls.
Chaney and WVU coach Gale Catlett were longtime rivals as conference foes until West Virginia left the A-10 for the Big East in 1995.
In this contest, the Mountaineers led early and the Owls never really challenged. WVU held a 12-point halftime lead and furthered the domination through the second half.
The Mountaineers used a balanced attack with four players – Jarrod West (15), Brent Solheim (13), Brian Lewin (10) and Adrian Pledger (10) – scoring in double figures. Solheim and Lewin each grabbed 10 boards to tally double-doubles in the rout.
WVU shot 54.2 percent from the field while the Mountaineers defense held the Owls to 33 percent field-goal shooting and 16.7 percent from 3-point range.
The blowout of Temple was WVU’s first win in the NCAA Tournament in nine years. It also was the penultimate NCAA Tournament victory in Catlett’s career.
Runner up: 2008 (7) WVU 75, (10) Arizona 65