MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – (December 15, 2020) — On Monday, the latest Associated Press top 25 poll came out and the West Virginia basketball team moved up to No. 8. This marks the first time since the Mountaineers have made the top 10 since the 2017-18 season.
Let’s take a look at the last team that was ranked as high as this year’s team.
The 2017-18 team was led by seniors Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles. The two beloved Mountaineers had a great supporting cast that included Sagaba Konate, Lamont West, James Bolden, Esa Ahmed and Teddy Allen.
The Mountaineers started that season ranked No. 11 in the preseason AP Poll. West Virginia started off the season with a loss to No. 25-ranked Texas A&M, 88-65.
From there, a fire was lit and the Mountaineers won 15-straight games in-a-row.
In that 15-game stretch, WVU won over many great opponents including Central Florida, Missouri, Pitt, No. 7 Oklahoma and No. 15 Virginia.
The games with Virginia and Oklahoma were two resume building wins for when March rolled around.
Against the Cavaliers, Carter and West combined for 45 points in the victory in Morgantown. West Virginia was one of the three losses Virginia had all year (Virginia Tech and the historic 16-seed UMBC Retrievers).
The No. 7-ranked Oklahoma Sooners led by current NBA star, Trae Young, came into Morgantown on January 6, 2018, to take on the No. 6-ranked Mountaineers.
Young scored 29 points, but WVU was able to beat Oklahoma by 13 points. Off the bench, Allen scored 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting.
Carter recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 assists. The current Phoenix Suns guard also had three steals in the victory.
After beating the Sooners, the Mountaineers were ranked No. 2 in the country. It was the highest-ranking since 1959-60.
From there, the Mountaineers finished second in the Big 12 standings only behind Kansas.
In the Big 12 tournament, the Mountaineers defeated Baylor and Texas Tech to get to the finals. West Virginia lost in the championship to the Kansas Jayhawks, who appeared in the final four that season.
WVU earned a five-seed in the NCAA Tournament and was matched up with Murray State in the first round in San Diego. The Mountaineers defeated Murray State, 85-68, to set them up with the in-state foe, Marshall Thundering Herd.
Mountaineers got the bragging rights winning, 94-71. Carter led West Virginia out of the San Diego region with 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting, shooting 5-of-7 from three. The senior also had five assists and five steals.
West Virginia headed to Boston to take on the one-seed Villanova Wildcats. WVU lost the game to the eventual National Champions, 90-78.
The last time the Mountaineers were ranked in the top 10, they were a sweet sixteen team that was taken down by the National Champions. That shows how good that 2017-18 team really was.
Can this year’s Mountaineers team reach the same heights? Can they reach even higher? We’ll have to see how this season plays out.