MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – (December 8, 2020) — As the Mountaineers prepare to host their home opener against the Robert Morris Colonials, let’s take a look at a crazy similarity that WVU and RMU share.
West Virginia and Robert Morris don’t play each other often anymore, only matching up against each other three times after the turn of the millennium.
It was tough finding a comparison the two programs have, but one appeared eventually.
It’s a reach, but West Virginia and Robert Morris have victories over Kentucky in postseason play during the Calipari era.
When did Robert Morris defeat Kentucky in March? In 2013… in the first round of the NIT.
The Colonials’ current head coach, Andrew Toole, was the coach back in 2013 going up against all-time great coach John Calipari.
This was the only year that UK missed the tournament during Cal’s tenure.
After Nerlens Noel tore his ACL in SEC play, the Wildcats went 4-5 to finish the season and lost to Vanderbilt in the first round of the SEC Tournament.
In the same season, Robert Morris struggled out of the gates in non-conference play but went 14-4 in Northeast Conference play.
Even though the Colonials won the regular season conference title, they lost to Mount St. Mary’s in their conference tournament to determine the automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament.
The pieces were set for a first-round matchup between the Wildcats and the Colonials. UK was the one seed in the region, while RMU was the eighth seed.
Toole coached a bunch of guys that weren’t scared of the historic program that Kentucky is, and leaped into a quick 10-0 lead to start the game. From then, the Colonials led most of the game, and then Kentucky was able to tie the game with under a minute left.
From then, the greatest moment in Robert Morris history happened from there…
West Virginia’s victory over the Wildcats in March was a much more significant game for the program.
Elite-8… No. 1-seed Kentucky vs. No. 2-seed West Virginia… March 27th, 2010… A date that will always be remembered in WVU basketball history.
After running the table in the gauntlet that is the (old) Big East Tournament, West Virginia also got past Morgan State, Missouri and Washington to set themselves up for an elite-8 matchup with Kentucky.
This was John Calipari’s first season at UK after his run at Memphis. Right away, Calipari brought his amazing recruiting to Lexington, getting four future NBA first-round picks in John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton.
The Wildcats seemed to be favored, but that didn’t stop Huggins and his Mountaineers from humbling UK.
After being down early in the first half, WVU stormed back to take a 28-26 lead by halftime. In the second half, it was all fun for West Virginia.
The Mountaineers at one point were up 16 points and outscored the Wildcats by five in the second half to win 73-66. This game marked the first time that West Virginia made it to the final four since 1959.
Da’Sean Butler scored 18 points on 4-of-8 shooting from three. Butler had six rebounds, as well.
Joe Mazzulla had the game of his life, scoring a career-high of 17 points on 5-of-11 from the field.
Kevin Jones had 13 points, and Devin Ebanks had 12.
The Mountaineers were able to hold Kentucky to 4-of-32 shooting from three.
Wall led UK with 19 points, and Cousins had 15.
Even though West Virginia and Robert Morris may be opponents on Wednesday night, they can both relate to ending Kentucky’s seasons.