Big 12 Era, Prediction for Future
Prediction: The WVU Mountaineers will finish 24-7. Since entering the Big 12, the Mountaineers have not finished with higher than a .757 winning percentage. Additionally, the WVU basketball team has only lost seven or fewer games three times since 1961. Other than one road game with Baylor, the Mountaineers have the rest of the tough matchups at home.
The Mountaineers have a home rematch with Kansas and two games against Baylor. The Mountaineers need to split the season series with Kansas to stay viable in their chances to win the Big 12. If WVU can also split with Baylor, and the Bears slip up in another game, the last game of the season will probably decide the top seed going into the Big 12 tournament. The Mountaineers play Baylor on March 7th at home to wrap up the regular season.
Rest of the Regular Season
Before worrying about the postseason, the Mountaineers have eleven remaining games in the season. After losing to Texas Tech on the road, the Mountaineers are looking forward to back-to-back home games against Kansas State and Iowa State. The road game against TCU on February 22nd could potentially be a trap game but WVU has a favorable schedule to have a historic finish.
WVU has favorable odds to win in every game for the rest of the season, with the exception of the Baylor road game. Giving the Mountaineers a close loss in that matchup, they would have to win at least one of these two games: Kansas @ WVU (02/12) or Baylor @ WVU (03/07). Going 1-2 in the matchups described, and the inevitable trap loss that they should not lose would wrap the season up at 24-7 (.775).
This finish should put the Mountaineers in either first or second place in the Big 12 and at least a top-three seed in NCAA “March Madness” Tournament. In the event that WVU goes 2-1 or 3-0 in the marquee matchups, they could slip into a one or two seed.
Not So Fast
For anyone who follows WVU sports, just as it seems to be going well, the worst happens. Just ask the 2018 WVU football team and Coach Gundy of Oklahoma State. Hopefully, Coach Huggins and the team can finish this season out strong.
A few weeks back, it appeared that the Mountaineers could be a really good basketball team next season. That is certainly still true, but it looks better each game that the Mountaineers can compete for a deep tournament this season. WVU’s defense definitely passes the statistical test this year but it is the eye test that is scary.
While WVU is one of only thirteen teams that allow under sixty points per game, it is the ability to make phenomenal college athletes look like they have never played the sport. Opponents are forced to shoot low-percentage shots because of the suffocating defense. In fact, WVU is tied with Virginia as the top team in the country in field goal percentage defense, 35.8%.
The Mountaineers are next in action against Kansas State on Saturday. WVU will get a chance to avenge the terrible loss last week against the Wildcats. To win, there needs to be a concerted effort to slow down Cartier Diarra. He recorded twenty-five points in the last matchup where K-State blew out WVU 84-68. This is a recurring theme. The Mountaineers have struggled to win games when the opposing team scores above seventy points. Kansas State and Texas Tech combined for 173 points against WVU.
Follow me on Twitter at @elyOsborne10 for all of my articles and updates on West Virginia Basketball.
Also, be sure to check out the Overtime Heroics Forums page to join in on the discussion!
Head over to our shop if you are interested in purchasing some Overtime Heroics gear!
Check out our partners at Repp Sports! They offer the first-ever crowd-sourced, no carb, no sugar, energy drink called RAZE and much more! Use the link above or add the promo code OTH1 for 30% off at checkout!