Sizing up WVU’s chances
There is no such thing as a good loss.
But there are many losses in which a team plays its best and simply runs into an opponent that was a little better, at least on that particular night.
That’s what happened to West Virginia University’s women’s basketball team in its loss to Baylor in the Big 12 championship.
The Mountaineers gave it all they had and came up short, 84-81.
But they already had proven they could beat Baylor, doing so on the Bears’ home court.
Had coach Mike Carey’s team recorded back-to-back wins over Baylor, the Mountaineers might well have earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. As it stands now, WVU will be either a No. 2 or No. 3 seed.
While I would like to tell you the Mountaineers are legitimate title contenders, it’s going to be a major upset if either Connecticut or Notre Dame doesn’t hoist the championship trophy.
Both are undefeated and are the class of a strong field.
No one wants to see their name in the same region with either, but there’s a 50-50 chance teams like West Virginia will have to beat one or the other to qualify for the Final Four.
Carey has done a tremendous job building a solid women’s program in Morgantown.
If he can continue this success next season, it should be an incredible year at the Coliseum, as Bob Huggins’ men’s basketball team is playing its best ball of the season and starting to make some noise in the Big 12.
More than likely, WVU’s men will have to win the Big 12 Tournament to qualify for the NCAA Tournament field given that it doesn’t have a single point in either of the major national polls and has suffered 14 losses.
Look for WVU to be a No. 1 seed in the National Invitational Tournament. Why? Because not only does West Virginia have a recent NIT championship banner, but it also has a large and enthusiastic home crowd that will fill the Coliseum for tournament games (lest we forget, the NIT is a money-making operation).
Back to the NCAA Tournament, I’ve never seen a season like this one. Not only is there no clear-cut favorite to win the national title, there are more than a dozen teams capable of being the champion. Why? Because there is no dominating team.
Warren Buffett couldn’t have picked a better year to offer a billion dollars for a perfect bracket. Picking a perfect first round will be virtually impossible. There’s not going to be a great deal of difference between the 6 seeds and the 11 seeds.
The biggest debate right now centers around Wichita State, which has gone undefeated.
Given that the Shockers made the Final Four last year, they will be a No. 1 seed. And while the quality of Wichita’s opposition is questionable, remember you can only beat who you play.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org