The West Virginia Mountaineers, who finished last season 15-21 overall and 4-14 in the Big 12 Conference, have made a miraculous turnaround and are now in position to actually compete in the NCAA Tournament. This team has come a long way since last season!
This, of course, has everything to do with the outstanding recruiting and game strategy of legendary Head Coach Bob Huggins. Huggins is one of the only coaches in the nation that can take a team that didn’t make the NIT last year and get them into the NCAA Tournament, where literally anything can and will happen.
While many have written off the Mountaineers due to late-season struggles, West Virginia is still #21 in the NET Rankings, which is what the NCAA Selection Committee uses to seed teams for the NCAA Tournament. Currently, the Mountaineers would be a 5 or 6 seed, which is almost better than a 2 or 3 seed. 2 or 3 seeds play very tough mid-major conference teams and they are always hungry and upset-minded. Playing a 11 or 12 seed from a major conference is far more appealing than a 5 or 6 seed in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament.
The development of freshman players Oscar Tshiebwe and Miles McBride has been incredible, and getting minutes in key games this season will be important for their futures as well as the West Virginia basketball program. Imagine Tshiebwe and McBride as seasoned sophomores with a year of experience and an offseason under Bob Huggins. Although the Mountaineers can do major damage in the NCAA Tournament this month, they will be even more dangerous next season.
The West Virginia Mountaineers are still very much a major player in the NCAA Tournament and the future is very, very bright in Morgantown. Four star recruits Jalen Bridges and Isaiah Cottrell will be outstanding additions to a team already loaded with talent. While there have been many negative things written about Bob Huggins and his team lately, there are many, many reasons to be excited about the current team and its future.