Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Could WVU Still Miss the Big Dance?

Staten Holton Carter

Courtesy Kelsie Vanderwjist, BlueGoldSports.com

Ranked 17th in the nation, having a current RPI of 14, and a record of 17-3 would be a resume most teams would take at this point in the season. However, digging more into their body of work proves the Mountaineers still have some work to do to ensure their spot in the Dance.

The toughest part of the Mountaineers schedule remains and it will be a sink or swim gauntlet with sharks and alligators, well technically Jayhawks and Longhorns but you get the analogy. With 11 games remaining WVU will face 9 games against teams ranked in the RPI top 50 including those Kansas Jayhawks who currently sit atop the RPI chart at #1.

All three losses this season for the Mountaineers have come at the hands of teams currently ranked in the RPI top 40; LSU (39), Iowa State (16), and Texas (28). As far as losses go this is a good thing, there really are no “bad” losses on the schedule despite the drumming WVU took at the hands of Texas two weeks ago.

Consequently WVU has only won two games against the RPI top 50 in NC State (45) and Oklahoma (30). For those counting at home that is a record of 2-3 against the current RPI top 45.

What does help the Mountaineers, is they play in the toughest conference in the nation according to the RPI ratings which have the Big 12 at #1. This means there are plenty of opportunities left for WVU to solidify its spot come selection time. WVU will have a chance to revenge two of their losses when they travel to Iowa State on February 14th and play host the Texas on February 24th.

The only two remaining opponents outside the RPI top 50 are Texas Tech at home this Saturday and Kansas St at home on February 11th. Essentially these are two must win games for the Mountaineers. The remaining regular season looks like this:

*Teams in bold are ranked in the RPI top 50.

Noon 1/31 Texas Tech* Morgantown ESPNU
8PM 2/3 @Oklahoma* Norman, Okla ESPN2
Noon 2/7 Baylor* Morgantown ESPNU
7PM 2/11 Kansas St* Morgantown ESPNU
4PM 2/14 @Iowa St* Ames, Iowa ESPN/ESPN2
9PM 2/16 Kansas* Morgantown ESPNU
2PM 2/21 @Oklahoma St* Stillwater, Okla ESPNEWS
7PM 2/24 Texas* Morgantown ESPN2
4PM 2/28 @Baylor* Waco, Tx ESPNU
9PM 3/3 @Kansas Lawrence, Kan ESPN2
Noon 3/7 Oklahoma St Morgantown ESPNEWS

It is tough to imagine that a team that has been so successful and is currently projected to be a 5 seed in the most recent ESPN bracketology still has so much work to do. There are no nights off in the toughest conference in the nation and WVU’s remaining schedule is a testament to that very fact.

The good: WVU has not had any bad loses this season and currently has 2 quality wins over RPI top 50 schools

The bad: The Mountaineers have lost 3 of their 5 games against the RPI top 50.

The good again: WVU has a chance to revenge two of those top 50 loses and has the opportunity to catapult themselves into what could easily be a #2 or #3 seed in the tournament.



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