College basketball is nearing the end of the regular season which means March Madness is just around the corner.
The WVU Mountaineers have had a great year and will qualify for the 2020 NCAA Tournament regardless of how the final games go.
After an incredible start, WVU has cooled down of late. Prior to beating Oklahoma State, it lost three straight games to solid Big 12 Conference opponents:
More recently, the struggles have continued. WVU dropped its last two matchups on road, losing to TCU and Texas this week.
The Mountaineers sit at 19-9 overall, with just a 7-8-conference record. They lost on the road to Kansas, Kansas State and Texas Tech in the month of January.
Still, WVU is ranked 20th in the AP Top 25 and has been for most of the year. Coach Bob Huggins leads a solid team that has the potential to make some noise in the tournament.
Winning a few more games down the stretch couldn’t hurt of course, but the Mountaineers have pretty much solidified a spot in postseason play.
The remaining games on the schedule and the postseason Big 12 Tournament will determine what type of seed WVU receives. It was projected as high as a No. 2 seed earlier in the month, however, now it’s listed on the No. 3 line.
Even if the Mountaineers fall to a No.4 seed, they’d still be in great position to make it to the Sweet 16.
West Virginia sportsbooks are hoping WVU can make a deep tournament run to help boost betting figures. The Mountain State has been generating plenty of college basketball wagering on its online sports betting apps.
Let’s examine WVU’s schedule down the stretch and see where it might end up for the tournament.
WVU Basketball Review
The Mountaineers have had a solid 2020 campaign thus far and have themselves in a great spot overall. Despite not playing as well of late, the stellar start to the year has set them up well.
WVU won 11 of its first 12 and 14 of its first 16 contests to start the season. This included an eight-point victory over then No. 2 Ohio State.
Since that point, the Mountaineers are just 5-5 and have especially struggled on the road. Away from Morgantown, WVU is only 3-8 overall.
While it has 19 wins, none are all too impressive, either. The Buckeyes have proven to not be a top-five team and are ranked 23rd this week.
WVU split the season series with last year’s national runner-up, Texas Tech, but is 0-3 against KU and Baylor. The Mountaineers close out the season on March 7 at home in their second matchup against the Bears.
Even though WVU hasn’t broken through against the conference’s best, not many teams have. Baylor and Kansas have a combined record of 50-5.
Besides beating some of the other Big 12 teams, early wins over Northern Iowa and Wichita State are notable. Both are projected to make the field of 68.
WVU has a solid mix of youthful talent and veteran leadership. Freshman Oscar Tshiebwe has started to grow his game even more. He’s averaging over 11 points and nine rebounds per game.
Derek Culver is also having a very productive season. He scores more than 10 points and grabs close to nine rebounds per contest.
WVU March Madness Projection
The Mountaineers are basically already in the NCAA Tournament with three regular-season games remaining. How they finish the year will settle what type of seed the selection committee will award them in a few weeks.
WVU had some opportunities to change its usual narrative for road games but failed to do so against mediocre Big 12 teams. It lost two very winnable games in a row, suffering defeats against TCU and Texas.
Both teams are still under .500 in conference play even with their latest victories.
WVU returns home on Saturday when it looks to exact revenge on Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated WVU by 10 in their first meeting.
After that, the Mountaineers have a chance to snag another conference win on the road when they play Iowa State on March 3. They already beat the Cyclones by 15 at the beginning of February.
The season finale against Baylor will be a great test to see where this team is at. Having home-court advantage should help make it tighter than the 11-point difference in the game a few weeks ago.
The Mountaineers can easily win out the remainder of their games with the exception of the Baylor game. A 2-1 record to end the year will put WVU at 21-10 and in prime position for March Madness.
Its recent losses have eliminated the shot at earning a No. 1 seed, however, a No. 2 seed is probably still obtainable if WVU can win the Big 12 postseason tourney. An upset of Baylor would go a long way as well.
In a year where there is not a clear-cut favorite, WVU has the potential to get hot and compete for a trip to the Final Four.
Mountaineers’ Betting Odds
While winning the Big 12 is out of the question at this point, bettors can still place futures on the Mountaineers reaching the Final Four or to win the title.
The state now features three online sportsbooks, including:
The following are the current postseason odds according to DraftKings:
Make Final Four
- WVU +725
Win National Championship
- WVU +3300