MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — No. 6 West Virginia’s (39-13, 15-6 Big 12) magic number is down to one.
One win this weekend at Texas (35-18, 12-9 Big 12) guarantees the nationally ranked Mountaineers at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title. Two wins give Randy Mazey’s crew the program’s first outright regular-season conference crown since 1996.
Multiple scenarios can play out this weekend involving WVU and the other top teams in the Big 12. Here is what could happen and how it could impact the Mountaineers’ conference title hopes.
Scenario: West Virginia wins the series at Texas
Result: Party like it’s 1996. The Mountaineers would win the Big 12 regular season championship outright. By winning at least two games this weekend against the Longhorns, WVU would tally at least 17 conference wins, which no other team in the league could match. It’s worth noting that every Big 12 champion since 2013 has had at least 16 conference victories at the end of the regular season.
Scenario: West Virginia wins one game at Texas; OK State sweeps Oklahoma
Result: WVU and OSU would share the regular season crown with identical 16-8 conference records. However, the Mountaineers would still maintain the top seed in the Big 12 Conference Tournament since it won a series over Oklahoma State earlier this season.
Scenario: West Virginia wins one game at Texas; OK State takes 2 of 3 vs. Oklahoma
Result: Mazey’s Crazies have the regular season trophy all to themselves. One win guarantees the Mountaineers at least a share of the title; that win, in addition to one loss by the Cowboys, knocks Oklahoma State out of the title race. One win in the series against Texas also eliminates the Longhorns from title contention.
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Those are all of the scenarios that involve WVU winning at least one game this weekend. However, other scenarios for the Big 12 title race involving WVU being swept by the Longhorns should be noted.
They are as follows.
Scenario: Texas sweeps WVU; OK State sweeps OU
Result: Oklahoma State wins the regular season title outright. If this scenario were to play out, West Virginia would fall from first to third in the seeding for the Big 12 Tournament.
Scenario: Texas sweeps WVU; OK State takes 2 of 3 from OU
Result: Three teams — Oklahoma State, Texas, and West Virginia — share the regular season crown. In this scenario, all three teams would finish with 15-9 records in conference play. As spelled out in the Big 12’s tiebreaking procedures, head-to-head record comparisons would determine the top three seeds for the conference tournament.
Scenario: Texas sweeps WVU; OK State loses series vs. Oklahoma
Result: Texas and West Virginia would each have a claim to the regular season title. The Longhorns would occupy the top spot in the conference tournament based on the head-to-head. WVU would then be the second seed in the league tournament.
Scenario: Texas sweeps WVU; OK State wins series vs. OU; K-State sweeps TCU
Result: Another team has entered the fray, and things get crazy. Four different teams would tie for the league title in this unlikely scenario. Those teams are West Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State, with all four teams having 15 league wins. Again, various head-to-head records would be used to break ties and set the seeding for next week’s tournament. If this scenario were to occur, it would not only be wild, but also mark the first time since WVU joined the conference that the Big 12’s regular season champ has not had at least 16 league wins.