The WVU basketball team is dancing. There was no doubt about that.
Unfortunately, to most fans, the Mountaineers may have been short-changed in the NCAA Tournament.
On Sunday night, it was revealed that the WVU basketball team earned a No. 3 seed and will open the tournament on Friday night in Brooklyn, N.Y. playing Stephen F. Austin.
Not only was the 3-seed a bit suspect, the fact that the Mountaineers are facing off against a solid SFA team seems like a punishment.
The Mountaineers and Lumberjacks are two of the best defensive teams in the country.
WVU head coach Bob Huggins isn’t surprised by the draw.
“I think we all kind of knew what was going to happen,” Huggins said in a press conference on Sunday.
In West Virginia’s bracket, North Carolina is the No. 1 seed and Xavier is the No. 2 seed. The Mountaineers had a much better body of work than the Musketeers and should have been bumped up to that spot.
Xavier had six wins against RPI top 50 teams and two losses against teams above 100 in the RPI. WVU, meanwhile, had nine RPI top 50 wins and zero losses against teams above 100 in the RPI.
The Musketeers lost five games, compared to eight by the Mountaineers. But, West Virginia advanced to its conference championship game, while Xavier fell in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament.
Nonetheless, the Mountaineers have their highest seed since 2010, when they did win the Big East Tournament.
"“We’re thankful for being in the situation we’re in,” guard Jaysean Paige said. “It doesn’t matter where we play. It’s still a great accomplishment. But playing near home is even better, so we’re thankful for that.”"
West Virginia will open the tournament at the Barclays Center. This is the Mountaineers second trip to New York City this season. In December, they fell to Virginia, who is a No. 1 seed in the Midwest bracket.
Other No. 3 seeds in the tournament are Utah in the Midwest, Texas A&M in the West and Miami in South.
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The East bracket, where the Mountaineers are situated, could be the toughest in the tournament field of 68. After SFA, the WVU basketball team could potentially face the winner of the Notre Dame vs. Michigan/Tulsa game. Michigan and Tulsa will face off in an earlier play-in game.
If the Mountaineers make it to the Sweet 16, they could play Xavier, and prove they are superior. But there is another scenario most WVU fans would prefer. If Pitt gets past Wisconsin in the opening round and Xavier or Weber State in the Round of 32, there will be a Backyard Brawl in Philadelphia.
There are literally thousands of possibilities with the NCAA Tournament. The best part is watching it all play out. Go with your heart or your gut. Maybe both ways will power the Mountaineers to the Final Four.