The WVU basketball team has moved up in the final poll of the regular season.
The Mountaineers will end the 2015-16 Big 12 slate in the Top 10 of both the Associated Press and Coaches Poll.
That, alone, is a great accomplishment for this squad. In actuality, it’s a great accomplishment for the whole WVU basketball program.
As Associated Press reporter Joedy McCreary points out this is just this sixth time in program history that the Mountaineers have been ranked in the final poll just six times since 1961.
West Virginia checks in a No. 9 in the AP Poll and No. 8 in the Coaches Poll.
West Virginia has earned a No. 2 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, which begins this week. In the NCAA Tournament, the Mountaineers could earn a No. 2 seed if they win the conference tournament in Kansas City. A win or two in the Big 12 Tournament would likely pit the WVU basketball team has a No. 4 or No. 3 seed.
These high rankings have paid off for the Mountaineers in previous years.
In 1982, West Virginia finished 27-4 and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
In 1989, the Mountaineers were 26-5, after opening the season with a loss to Robert Morris. They made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
In 2006, the WVU basketball team was 22-11 and lost in the Sweet 16 to Texas.
In 2010, the Mountaineers went 31-7 and won the Big East Championship with “Fab Five” members Da’Sean Butler, Wellington Smith, John Flowers, Joe Mazzulla and Kevin Jones. Duke eliminated the Mountaineers in the Final Four.
In 2011, West Virginia went 21-12 and lost to Kentucky in the second round.
In 2015, the Mountaineers went 25-10 and advanced to the Sweet 16 before losing to (at the time) unbeaten Kentucky.
In 2016, who knows. The WVU basketball team is certainly built for success, as it has proven all season. The defense can beat unsuspecting teams in the big dance, but the Mountaineers will have to come through with strong offensive outputs.
West Virginia can win the Big 12 Tournament because of the momentum it picked up towards the end of the season.