Morgantown, West Virginia – West Virginia’s 70-64 win over a really good TCU Horned Frogs team was a bittersweet reminder of what could have been this season for the Mountaineers.
This West Virginia team had lots of potential, but failed to capitalize on multiple opportunities throughout the season. This was a relatively experienced team that had the ability to be a mid-tier Big 12 team, but instead they ended up as the very last place team in the conference.
The Mountaineers will now play the Kansas State Wildcats in the opening round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament. The winner of that game will get the opportunity in the second round to play the top seed in the tournament, the Kansas Jayhawks.
While West Virginia is certainly capable of going on a run in the Big 12 Tournament, nothing they’ve shown this season says that they will actually do that. Perhaps the Mountaineers will beat Kansas State on Wednesday in the opening round, but beating Kansas on a neutral court will be a monumental task.
Unless West Virginia can beat both Kansas State and Kansas, they will likely not even be invited to play in the NIT. At 15-16 currently, the Mountaineers would have to make a run this next week to be considered for any postseason play at all.
Although there is no explicit requirement that a team has to have more wins than losses to participate in the NIT, no teams with less than a .500 record have made the tournament since the 2006-2007 season.
CBI and CIT
If West Virginia isn’t invited to play in the NIT, the Mountaineers will likely be invited to play in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) or the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT), but will Bob Huggins really want to take this team to a meaningless tournament? And if he does decide to accept an invitation to one of these less prestigious tournaments, will the seniors on the team really want to end their careers like that?
Win the Big 12 Conference Tournament or no postseason for the Mountaineers
West Virginia’s odds of winning the Big 12 Tournament are very low, but that appears to be the only way that they can continue their season at this point. A loss against Kansas State or Kansas effectively ends West Virginia’s season. Wins against Kansas State and Kansas breathes new life into an otherwise dreary, lifeless season for the Mountaineers.