Oklahoma – Arkansas Week Looms Large For Mountaineer Hoops

West Virginia guard Sean McNeil scoops up a loose ball to start a transition effort

How big is the upcoming week for West Virginia’s men’s basketball team? Far bigger than the recently completed stretch in which it dropped consecutive games to ranked foes Kansas, Baylor and Texas Tech.

Without question, the Mountaineers missed a couple of chances to collect a win against  teams that will be on the top seed lines of the NCAA Tournament and stand high in the NET and other ranking systems. Those three losses have also dropped the Mountaineers perilously close to the NCAA Tournament bubble, were the Big Dance to be selected and seeded right now. However, with a minimum of 14 games left to play before that occurs, there’s still time to get the ship moving in the right direction, and this week’s pair of games against Oklahoma at the WVU Coliseum and Arkansas on the road in Fayetteville offer excellent opportunities in which to do so.

Get all of our print editions with your subscription today!

West Virginia currently sits with a NET ranking of 47, and a consensus NCAA seed line of between nine and 10 according to the Bracket Matrix. That doesn’t leave a lot of margin for error, and makes games against teams competing for NCAA spots even more important. That’s the neighborhood both the Sooners (NET 41) and Arkansas (NET 53) inhabit, so wins over those two foes could loom large – even serving as potential tie-breakers or difference-makers – when Selection Sunday rolls around.

WVU’s one big plus at this point in terms of NCAA selection criteria is that it has no bad losses. The Mountaineers are 11-0 in games against Quad 2, Quad 3 and Quad 4 foes, with all of its losses coming against Quad 1 opposition.

Opponents are placed into quads according to their NET ranking, and where the game is played:

NET Quadrants

Quad 1: NET 1-30 at home, NET 1–50 at a neutral site and NET 1-75 away
Quad 2: NET 31–75 home, NET 51–100 neutral, NET 76–150 away
Quad 3: NET 76–150 home, 1 NET 01–200 neutral, NET 146–240 away
Quad 4: NET 161-350 home, NET 201-350 neutral, NET 241-350

While the Mountaineers are unblemished outside of Quad 1, they are only 2-5 against Quad 1 opposition. That creates a bright dividing line between their wins and losses, and points out why they are clustered with so many other schools in the NET at present. A win over OU at home would be another Quad 2 win, while a victory over the Razorbacks would yield another Quad 1 check mark.

A team’s record in each tier is not the sole determinant of where it will end up in the NET, or whether or not it will be picked for the NCAA tournament. However, it’s a fair tracking point to follow as the season progresses, and there is no doubt that this week’s outcomes will have a large effect on West Virginia’s positioning.

The flip side is also true, as the Sooners and Razorbacks are also fighting for NCAA selection and seeding. OU is right with West Virginia in terms of projected seeding at present, while Arkansas is on the outer edges of the bubble, but clearly not out the race to secure a Big Dance ticket. The Mountaineers and Sooners have an edge on the Razorbacks in terms of opportunities for resume’ changing wins, so that makes Saturday’s game against WVU an even bigger one for the Hogs.

It’s impossible to predict just how much of an elevation a pair of wins this week would create for WVU, chiefly because the NET is not a poll. Every school is competing within the same structure, so two wins might not result in an immediate jump in the rankings. However, over time, if enough quality wins are piled up, ranking and positioning will improve, and this weeks results might be looked back upon at the end of the year as a critical juncture in the Mountaineers’ season.

Home Page forums Oklahoma – Arkansas Week Looms Large For Mountaineer Hoops

  • This topic has 0 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated by Kevin Kinder.
Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
Viewing 1 post (of 1 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Home Page forums Oklahoma – Arkansas Week Looms Large For Mountaineer Hoops

Home Page forums Oklahoma – Arkansas Week Looms Large For Mountaineer Hoops