MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Back-to-back wins to round out the regular season, including one over a Top 15 opponent on Saturday, appear to have West Virginia off the NCAA Tournament bubble with just seven days now separating the program from Selection Sunday.
According to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s latest projections, released just after midnight following Saturday’s action, the Mountaineers no longer are part of the “Last Four Byes” or “Last Four In” groups of teams. Instead, they are off the bubble, looking like a top 40 overall seed, and could be headed toward a very intriguing first-round matchup.
Lunardi projects Bob Huggins’ team to be a No. 10 seed in the East region, and to take on seventh-seeded Kentucky in the first round. The Wildcats are, of course, home to former WVU big man Oscar Tshiebwe, and have previously been an NCAA Tournament opponent of West Virginia’s.
Most notably, West Virginia knocked off John Calipari’s loaded Kentucky team in the Elite Eight in 2010. The two programs have squared off in the NCAA Tournament twice since.
West Virginia’s NCAA NET Ranking remained 25th in the country following Saturday’s win over No. 11 Kansas State. The Mountaineers now rank 21st in the land in BPI, and 17th in the latest KenPom Ratings.
The Mountaineers begin postseason play on Wednesday with a matchup against Texas Tech in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament.