1.47%

I’ll be candid with you for a moment: I did not see this conversation coning. IT wasn’t long ago I was in Stillwater and I was talking to some folks and the theory was WVU had a make-or-break occasion three days later against Baylor and a rather grim outlook beyond that.

We were having NIT and CBI conversations. Someone did a google search to discover CBI home games cost $35,000 for the first round, $50,000 for the second round and $75,000 for a semifinal game and to confirm the CIT is for mid-majors.

Today? Well, now I’m researching 10-win teams from power conferences that haven’t made the NCAA Tournament.

You’re damn right we’re about to go there…

WVU is 15-10 overall and 7-5 in the Big 12. That’s seven wins in the RPI’s top-ranked conference with six regular season games remaining. Three are at home, which is suddenly advantageous, and four are against teams the Mountaineers have already beaten. That’s a good lie.

I don’t believe much in absolute results — must win this one, can’t lose that one — because the game and the standings are so volatile. WVU was No. 91 in the RPI after losing to Oklahoma State. It’s 25 spots higher now.

Still, I believe this to be true about WVU. It has one absolute result game remaining. The Mountaineers can’t lose to TCU. There isn’t any more room in the BAD LOSSES: space on the resume.

(Obvious retort: “A 5-1 finish with a loss to TCU is bulletproof!” Well, sure, but you’re telling me then that a team that can beat those other five teams can’t beat TCU? That’s illogical and thus not part of my rationale.)

I also believe this: If WVU wins four more regular season games, it’s in the NCAA Tournament, so long as TCU, which is 0-10 in the Big 12, by the way, is one of the remaining wins. (A win in the conference tournament helps, but I think there’s a certain point where it might not matter. I also don’t want to get too far down this road and detour down that road.)

It doesn’t look like the Bubble isn’t going to be wildly crowded this season. I mean, crowded with strong candidates. There isn’t a wealth of great mid-major programs from the leagues that usually populate the Bubble.

I suppose that’s counterintuitive because a soft Bubble will make room for teams that might not be worthy in other years, but I have to think with the major conferences having solid seasons, those teams will get the nod.

So let’s say WVU finishes 19-12/11-7. You’re looking at a top +/- 52 RPI, a schedule ranked +/- 34 and a top four/five spot in the standings. The Mountaineers would also be 8-3 in their final 11 (I refuse to get on either side of what was Last 10 and is now Last 12).

The only other game I might invest a lot of meaning in happens to be the next one. For starters, WVU is on the radar now and is Bubbly enough that people will look close and stack pros and cons and probably move toward a conclusion after a road game against Texas.

But beyond that, I think WVU can help itself immensely if it isn’t swept by the Longhorns. It was very big to avoid the sweep against Kansas State, especially after Monday’s results, and of the remaining opponents, only Texas and Kansas can sweep WVU.

Kansas is going to sweep some teams and people will forgive that. The first Texas game is a blight WVU would like to correct, and a win Saturday goes a long, long way to proving WVU is indeed a much better team at the end of the season, and thus worthy of serious NCAA Tournament consideration.

14 Responses to “1.47%”

  1. Mack says:

    My prediction: WVU finishes

    WVU loses to Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa State, and Kansas.
    WVU beats Baylor and TCU.

    The reasons: Texas and Kansas are better teams than WVU. Iowa State is probably a better team than WVU and will be fired up to “right last night’s wrong.” The same goes for Oklahoma. OU had the travel issues (drink!) and lost one in overtime that it probably feels like it should have won. Also, Texas, Iowa State, and OU are all on the road. I almost feel better about the game against Kansas than I do those.

    WVU might be a better team than Baylor and the game is in Morgantown and WVU has already beaten Baylor on the road. Feels like a win. TCU is TCU.

  2. Mack says:

    Oops, didn’t finish that first line:

    WVU finishes 2-4 (9-9, 17-14) and barely misses the tournament (or do they? Mike, would 17-14 do it?)

  3. Parks says:

    If WVU beats UT in Austin on Saturday all bets are off from me. That would be 2 very good wins back-to back and they would be 5-1 over the last 6 with the only loss being to KU in Lawrence. That makes a team with budding confidence and talent even better. I’d say if WVU wins Saturday they finish 4-2 (Iowa State and Kansas are the losses). If they lose Saturday 3-3 would seem about right, and really that 3rd loss could be Oklahoma or Iowa State. But I’m not sure they lose both of those.

  4. We’re just throwing wet noodles at the wall to see what sticks at this point, so here goes my spaghetti…
    Likelier wins: TCU, Baylor, Kansas
    Likelier losses” Oklahoma, Iowa State, Texas

    Kansas is far from likely, but I have a good feeling. And I agree that we split with Iowa State and Oklahoma, but I’m not sure which is the win and which is the loss. I think the toughest game of the six is Texas because of the location and the match-up with their size.

    I think 3-3 and 1 win in the conference tourney, against anyone, gets us in.

  5. smeer says:

    do we control our own destiny in the sense we go 3-3, potentially 4-4 in the B12 tourney?

    where’s the line of demarcation? it’s a moving line based on what other power conference bubble teams do, and whether the mid-major one-seeds can hold serve.

    what will it take to get into the RPI 50s? preferable low 50s? (maybe even the 40s)

    there are now more little brothers feeding at the trough now that AAC and BE are two entities which means these teams won’t cannibalize each other like they once did in the BiglEast version 16.

    32 seats are taken by auto bids. of those, by my count, 20 of those are “one and dones” – conferences who highest ranked rpi team has too far to climb if the don’t win their conference tourney (I count 3-4 of these with RPIs in the 70s or lower and the Ivy since Harvard only needs to win the regular season and has some distance between itself and others)

    so that leaves 48 seats (68 total minus 20 – seats 49 to 68 will be taken up by lesser teams from low RPI auto bids (at least that many since there’s always a chance a low RPI team gets hot and wins one of those other 12 auto bids)

    so 36 will be chosen by the committee

    looks like at-large bids need to aim for the 40s?

    that’s a pretty steep hill, though we have a schedule that would let that happen.

    thought it also news worthy (wikiP is my source) that the ACC has TWO reps on the selection committee. Do you trust them?

    to date, only two SEC teams are “locks” and two are on the bubble. Guess who’s on the bubble and guess who is representing the SEC on the selection committee? (LSU)

    let this thing sort out further between the contenders and the pretenders.

    the NCAA dance starts NOW for WVU – we are all debating over whether it is a double or triple or quadruple elimination tourney at this point.

  6. jaybirdeer says:

    I believe that 3 wins gets us in the conversation and would depend on what happens in the conference tourney. 4 wins and we probably make it with one win in the tourney. A lot may depend on how our conf mates fare the rest of the way. OSU is 4-6 and play the next 3 games without the chair kicker. Are they a lock? Baylor, what if they get hot, can they work their way back in the convo? They have the talent? Let’s just win them all and make it a moot point!

  7. ccteam says:

    I think beating TX is a very difficult proposition. Would be great, but not likely. I think 2-4 and the NIT is likely, but that is still better than I expected even a week ago. With some luck the NCAA Tourny is not out of the question. I certainly didn’t imagine it was possible. Now at least we are looking at the what ifs. Big acomplishment in its own right for this team.

  8. Mack says:

    In the original post by Mike Casazza, did you mean 20-win teams from power conferences? Or did you mean 10 conference wins? And did you find any answers? Does 1.47% refer to the answer?

  9. Mack says:

    (By the way, I clicked the Huggy Bear link but I couldn’t hear what he was saying… My apologies if that’s where my answers lie).

  10. jtmountaineer says:

    I heard the commentators during the Iowa State game refer to only one team from the Big 12 with 10 conferences wins every not making the tournament. That team was Huggins’s Kansas State team.

  11. Brandon says:

    ESPN ran a stat on Monday night that in the last 17 years, only 6 teams have finished with a winning record in the B12 and not made the NCAAs. Note that’s not a .500 record, but ABOVE .500, so the magic number would seem to be 10-8, meaning a 3-3 split down the stretch does it. Having said that, if they get to 3-3 they’d still likely need to win at least one game in the B12 tourney. Not so much because they need the win but because they’ll be playing a team that’s either worse than them or (if they get a bye) at the same level battling on the bubble, so the loss would hurt.

  12. Mack says:

    Brandon, Tony Caridi posted a link to a CBS guru’s thoughts regarding WVU. He said WVU needs to win “at least” four. I feel pretty good about my previous prediction that 5-1 will probably needed to get them in the tournament.

    Though everyone is getting excited about WVU and can see the results getting better, it’s still only manifested itself with top 50 wins at home against Oklahoma and Iowa State. . . and a road win against outside-the-top-50 Baylor.

    The CBS guy pointed out that WVU’s road record is 3-5, for what it’s worth.

  13. WVManiac says:

    I think WVU has to play solid down the stretch and if they do they get in. My reason is Money. That’s what the NCAA tourney is about and if the tourney committee can find a way to get Bob Huggins in the show they will.

    Huggs sells, look at how they always put him up against other great coaches: Calipari, or another legend in Mark Few at Gonzaga the last two years. His first year he went against Arizona (Interim head Coach), Duke (Coach K), and Xavier (Shawn Miller).

  14. hershy112 says:

    Uhh, pretty sure we beat a top-50 Kansas State as well Mack. And you say an “outside-the-top-50 Baylor” like they are a below .500 team, but they are 59th in the RPI.