Morgantown, West Virginia – The West Virginia Mountaineers were recently blessed with perhaps the best possible remaining schedule in their regular season.
Not only did the Big 12 Conference cancel West Virginia’s game at Baylor previously scheduled for tonight, they also added three home games to close out the season. While the WVU Coliseum will not give the Mountaineers the typical home court advantage, it’s still difficult to win on the road in one of the toughest conferences in the nation.
The Mountaineers play host to basement-dweller Kansas State (7-18, 3-13) on Saturday before the highly-anticipated matchup with the #2 Baylor Bears next Tuesday.
To be clear, the Baylor Bears do not deserve to be ranked #2 in the nation. They have been extremely impressive this season, but they’ve only played one game in three weeks.
That one game was against the worst team in the Big 12, Iowa State, and they only won by five points (77-72) at home.
While they may have been the second best team in the nation at one point – Gonzaga is the clear best team this season – they are not right now.
Their lack of practice and real game action is evident, and not only will they likely lose on Saturday at Kansas, they will almost certainly be beaten by a West Virginia team that is peaking at just the right time.
According to the Ken Pom Rankings, the Mountaineers are predicted to finish the season 3-1 with their only loss against Baylor. Ken Pom gives West Virginia a 94% chance to beat Kansas State, an 89% chance to beat TCU, a 69% chance to beat Oklahoma State and only a 30% chance to beat Baylor.
But remember, Ken Pom is based only on statistics this season and does not account for the tremendously long layoff for Baylor. Baylor is not the Baylor that ripped through their opponents through the first 17 games of the season. They are a shell of their former selves.
With that said, West Virginia has gained an incredible amount of confidence over the past several weeks and now look like a team that can beat any team on any given day. The Mountaineers are in perfect position to sweep the final four games of the regular season and win the Big 12 Tournament Championship from March 10-13th in Kansas City.