The NCAA Tournament is dubbed “March Madness” for a reason – anything can and will happen. With West Virginia’s late season collapse, most have written off the Mountaineers’ chances in March.
In words of the great college football analyst Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend.”
West Virginia, despite losing 6 of its last 7 games, is still a big, deep, tough, talented basketball team capable of beating anyone on any given night. If Bob Huggins can figure out to get Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe to play together, they could absolutely be a real handful to stop for opposing teams, particularly when coaches don’t have a lot of time to prepare for them.
Although the Mountaineers are young and have underperformed lately, Vegas continues to give West Virginia a great deal of respect. Currently, the team currently has anywhere from a 28-1 to 50-1 chances of winning the national championship, depending on which gambling website or casino you look at.
There are several really good teams that will be in this year’s tournament, but there are no truly dominant teams. Kansas has been the most impressive team so far this season, but the Mountaineers can certainly compete with and perhaps beat the Jayhawks on a neutral court if they have a good game. The other top teams, Gonzaga, Dayton, Baylor and San Diego State are very good, but they are absolutely beatable, particularly if West Virginia plays up to its potential.
The question now is, will the Mountaineers even make the NCAA Tournament? West Virginia is still ranked #21 in the NET Rankings and this is primarily the system that the NCAA Selection Committee uses to pick and rank teams for the NCAA Tournament. Even if they Mountaineers lose their final two games against Iowa State and Baylor, then lose in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament, they will still likely sneak into the NCAA Tournament. If/when West Virginia gets into the NCAA Tournament, they have as good of a chance as anyone to be the final team standing this season.