MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — According to the latest projection by ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, West Virginia sits on the good side of the NCAA bubble.
Lunardi listed West Virginia as the last team in the field Thursday. Now, it’s up to the Mountaineers to stay there.
Though projections are sure to change daily from now through Selection Sunday on March 16, Lunardi’s current bracket would have WVU reporting to Dayton, Ohio, for one of the opening-round play-in games.
In the above audio clip from Thursday, Lunardi commits an error: Giving West Virginia the benefit of a 7-4 league record when it actually is 7-5. But he submits that if he season ended today, Bob Huggins’ team would be the seventh Big 12 team in the tournament.
Of course the season doesn’t end today, and if West Virginia (15-10) is to maintain its .600 winning pace, it would need a strong finishing kick—say, winning four of six to close the regular season and splitting two games at the Big 12 tournament.
On Huggins’ weekly radio show later Thursday night, the coach optimistically said he expects the conference to receive seven bids.
The Mountaineers are 3-8 against the RPI top 50 and 4-8 against the top 100 heading into Saturday night’s game at No. 19-ranked Texas, which sports an RPI of 22.
Currently tied for fourth with Oklahoma in the conference, West Virginia would earn a first-round bye in the Big 12 tournament by finishing sixth or higher.