The West Virginia men’s basketball team on Monday night was facing a must-win scenario. No doubt about it. WVU was still looking for their first signature win of the year that could really catch an eye from the seeding committee.
For what it’s worth, their non-conference schedule was a very good test of mid-majors.
South Dakota (10-3, 4-0 Summit) is tied for first place currently in their conference. The Jack Rabbits have wins over Iowa State and Utah State.
VCU (11-4, 4-2 A-10) is in third place in the Atlantic 10, with wins over Dayton and Memphis.
Western Kentucky (13-4, 6-2 CUSA) will end up being another good win for the Mountaineers, as the Hilltoppers are competing for an NCAA Tournament auto-bid. WKU defeated current No. 9 Alabama, in December.
Looking back at it, the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic wasn’t too bad competition-wise. Before conference play started, WVU’s best win was over Richmond on Dec. 13. The Spiders (9-4, 3-2 A-10) are struggling a little bit right now, but they should get back on track with the talent they have this season.
This leads us to Monday night where West Virginia was in a must-win situation; at home against No. 10 Texas Tech (11-5, 4-4 Big 12). Thanks to Deuce McBride and company, the Mountaineers were able to get a quality win.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi put out another bracket yesterday after the Monday night thriller. Last week, he had them at a 4-seed.
So, did Lunardi move up the Mountaineers from last week? Nope.
- Gonzaga / 16. Play-in game
- Iowa / 15. Grand Canyon
- Virginia / 14. Bryant
- West Virginia / 13. Belmont
- Florida St. / 12. Toledo
- Purdue / 11. Arkansas
- Florida / 10. Drake
- Oregon / 9. UCONN
Big 12 Projected Seeds
- Baylor – 1 Seed
- Texas – 2 Seed
- Kansas – 4 Seed
- West Virginia – 4 Seed
- Texas Tech – 5 Seed
- Oklahoma – 7 Seed
- Oklahoma State – 8 Seed
SEVEN Big 12 teams are projected to make the tournament… with the lowest being an 8-seed. That’s incredible.
For WVU’s projected region, it’s not terrible. I don’t like the first-round matchup with Belmont (16-1, 10-0 OVC) or the potential second-round matchup with Florida State (9-2, 5-1 ACC).
I wouldn’t be against facing Gonzaga (15-0, 6-0 WCC) again. I’m probably the only person in the country that’s saying this, but let me explain. Yes, the Zags are probably the favorite to win the entire tournament, but their toughest win still is when WVU played them in early December. The Mountaineers losing by five points is the closest game the Bulldogs have had all year.
For this nine-game brutal stretch for the next month is now cut down to eight games after defeating Texas Tech. If the Mountaineers can win at least five games out of the nine, they should be alright. If they don’t, they could be treading into the 5 or 6-seed territory if they struggle.
But, who knows, there’s still six weeks of basketball to be played.