A college basketball writer has ranked the West Virginia Mountaineers the #1 team in the nation entering the 2023-2024 season.
MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — Although the West Virginia Mountaineers are absolutely stacked with talent for the upcoming basketball season, they have not received much national attention for being among the best teams in the nation.
However, Max Vrooman, the managing editor of SB Nation’s University of Washington Dawg Pound, the Mountaineers are not just one of the top teams in college basketball, they are the best entering the 2023-2024 season.
According to Vrooman, West Virginia is projected as the #1 team in the nation. In his Initial 2024 Men’s Basketball Projections – Rest of the Power 6, Vrooman said the following about the Mountaineers: “The most controversial outcome from this entire projection is having West Virginia as the #1 team in the country. There are plenty of early top-25 rankings without them on it and it’s not an unreasonable stance. They were 19-15 last year but still managed a #9 seed thanks to the 5th hardest strength of schedule in the country. However, the Mountaineers were 19th at KenPom which is the basis for the projections suggesting they were much better than you’d expect based on both win total and tournament seeding.”
Vrooman went on to say, “They did a fantastic job in the portal this offseason picking up Syracuse’s Jesse Edwards (14.5 pts, 10.3 reb), Montana State’s and formerly UW’s RaeQuan Battle (17.7 pts, 35% 3pt), Arizona’s Kerr Kriisa (9.9 pts, 5.1 ast), and Manhattan’s Jose Perez (15.1 pts, 4.6 reb). That will likely be 80% of their starting lineup and my model views each among the top-23 players in the conference. Only Texas and Kansas have similar talent levels.”
Not only does Vrooman rank West Virginia as the top team in the country, he also shows a tremendous amount of respect for the Mountaineers’ legendary head coach, Bob Huggins. “The capper is that Bob Huggins has the highest coaching grade of any active coach for my model,” Vrooman said. “Had he been replaced (following the homophobic slur he made on a Cincinnati radio station, which nearly led to him being fired) with a completely average coach then WVU would drop to 5th. It’s also worth noting that this is West Virginia’s most talented team in the last decade and it’s not close.”
West Virginia may not be the most talented team in the nation entering the season, but the Mountaineers are certainly deserving of more respect from the national media and a Top 25 preseason ranking.