West Virginia’s early exit from the Big 12 Tournament was a surprise to the Mountaineers and their fans, as the team heads back to Morgantown without a Big 12 Tournament win for just the second time since joining the conference.
Is WVU baseball still an NCAA Tournament team after an early exit from Big 12s? – The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast
The wait for Monday’s NCAA selection show is a long one for the Mountaineers, whose postseason fate is officially out of their control. Teams across the country are still vying for 31 conference titles, which means a lot of baseball is getting played that will affect WVU’s standing.
“Mazey’s Crazies” have survived the NCAA Tournament projections going into Friday despite the early trip home from Arlington. They’ve maintained their spot as a projected 3-seed, just in different regionals (Baseball America has WVU in Louisville, a common prediction throughout the season, while D1Baseball puts WVU in the Knoxville regional hosted by top-seeded Tennessee.).
College Baseball Nation says West Virginia “should be in.” The outlet’s CBR (which it boasts as “more accurate than the RPI in predicting postseason selection“) has the Mountaineers at No. 37, which is good for an at-large bid. With 31 of the 64 teams in the field set to take automatic bids, the projected cutoff in the rankings is No. 49.
West Virginia presents an interesting resume for the committee to examine. The Mountaineers finished the regular season with a 33-20 record, including a program-best 14 Big 12 wins, good for sixth in the league. WVU pulled off two conference sweeps for the first time since joining the Big 12 and opened the conference slate with a series win over TCU, which went on to top the Big 12 standings.
Of course, there are some stains on its resume as well. WVU slots in at No. 45 in the RPI after its conference tournament elimination, a 10-spot drop since its regular season-ending sweep of Kansas State. The Mountaineers are hampered by a 6-11 record against quadrant one (top-50 RPI) teams and were run-ruled four times by conference opponents.
Even that is subject to change as eight games on Friday will have an indirect impact on WVU’s RPI, as will several more throughout the weekend. According to WarrenNolan.com, the Mountaineers could gain as many as 2.8 or lose seven RPI points depending on Friday’s results around the country. Those numbers by themselves wouldn’t move the Mountaineers in the RPI rankings, but they show that there is still wiggle room.
It will all be solidified on Sunday night with the conclusion of the Big 12 Tournament. The NCAA Tournament field will be revealed Monday at noon ET with the selection show, which will be broadcast on ESPN2.