The WVU baseball team had a remarkable run at the end of the 2016 season. It’s rather unfortunate that the Mountaineers season has come to an end so soon.
The NCAA Tournament committee left out the hottest baseball team in the country by not calling West Virginia’s name into the field of 64 teams chosen for this year’s tournament. The Mountaineers had a chance to automatically qualify for the “second season” but were eliminated in the title game of the Big 12 Conference Tournament in Kansas City.
Still, based on West Virginia’s strong run at the end of the regular season and its three victories in the Big 12 Tournament, there still seemed to be some hope that head coach Randy Mazey and the team would be dancing well into the month of June.
The NCAA committee thought otherwise.
At the beginning of the season, the WVU baseball team was picked to finish the year in sixth place. The Mountaineers fought for a fourth place finish. Then, they were one of the last teams standing in the Big 12 Tournament.
In fact, West Virginia was the only team to lose only once in the supposed double-elimination bracket. The Mountaineers won three games in dominant fashion and remained in the winners portion until the final game of the tournament.
TCU, the eventual Big 12 champions, had lost earlier in the tournament.
The Horned Frogs, along with Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are the three Big 12 representatives in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
West Virginia certainly would have made a nice fourth selection.
The Big 12 has been regarded as the No. 3 conference in the country, behind the ACC and SEC. Each of those leagues got a whopping seven teams in the tournament. If the Big 12 is just one rung below those two conferences, it certainly deserved more than three teams.
Plus, with the way West Virginia was playing at the end of the year, who wouldn’t want to see what this resilient squad could do at the national level?
The Mountaineers will have a shot at making their first NCAA Tournament since 1996 next season. The squad will return a majority of its players and starters in the field who received a great majority of playing time this year will come back even more polished and experienced next year.
If nothing else, this snub will fuel the WVU baseball team to new heights in 2017.