When the new Associated Press and Coaches Polls are revealed later today, there is absolutely no chance that the West Virginia Mountaineers will go from #22 and #23 to #1 in the rankings, but they absolutely should. They have earned it.
They shouldn’t be Top 15 or Top 10 or even Top 5, they should be #1. Every metric used to determine rankings will suggest the very same thing and although polls are beyond meaningless at this point in the year, West Virginia should be shown the respect they deserve.
After all, the Mountaineers are 11-1 with the 3rd toughest strength of schedule in the nation. Fresh off a win against the #2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes on a neutral court (road game?), no team in the country has been more impressive than West Virginia. The Mountaineers’ one loss came against a very, very good 11-2 St. John’s team at the famed Madison Square Garden by two points.
When the new NET rankings – the very tool that the NCAA Selection Committee uses to determine seeding and the selection process – are released, West Virginia will undoubtedly be at or near the top of the rankings.
The Mountaineers are already ranked #1 in the RPI rankings, which is really the most fair way to rank teams. Although the Selection Committee no longer uses the RPI, the rankings are based on a team’s wins and losses and its strength of schedule.
Interestingly enough, the #2 team in the current RPI (and likely the NET rankings) is the Kansas Jayhawks. When the West Virginia Mountaineers meet the Kansas Jayhawks on January 4th at Allen Fieldhouse, it will truly be a matchup of the top two teams in the nation.