WVU Women On The Bubble For NCAAs

WVU Women On The Bubble For NCAAs

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — What could be wrong with a bubble?

Think of it for a moment and the luxuries and fun things with which bubbles are associated.

Bubble baths.


The tickle you feel on our nose drinking Sprite.

West Virginia women’s basketball coach Mike Carey looks to his bench.

Even such a simple pleasure as bubble gum, especially Bubblicious, which comes in 28 flavors.

And, of course, Don Ho’s one-time hit song “Tiny Bubbles”, which “make me happy, make me feel fine.”

So one might think that West Virginia’s women’s basketball coach Mike Carey would find pleasure in being a “bubble team” for the NCAA Tournament, especially considering all the injuries his Mountaineers had to fight through this season as  they go into this weekend’s Big 12 Women’s Championship Tournament in Oklahoma City.

Well, he’s not.

He’s too busy worrying about his Saturday 12 a.m. assignment as the No. 4 seed against No. 5 Kansas State, with the winner getting the right to face No. 1 Baylor in the semi-final at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The games are being broadcast on Fox Sports.

WVU and K-State went through a weird split of games this season, WVU winning at home 60-30 and K-State winning on its home court by way of a 90-79 decision.

Carey’s team finished the regular season with 20 victories, 11 of them coming in conference play, and finished it off by putting a scare into No. 1 Baylor, a team that lost only one game all season — that in December — before bowing by six points at home.

He believes his team should have already won its way into the tournament, and is not on to the bubble, and says it would be in if this were men’s basketball.

Instead, Carey says, the selection committee treats the women’s tournament field for women different than for men and Power 5 teams suffer from that bias.

“It’s calculated different on the men’s and women’s side,” Carey said. “On the women’s side they are looking for a lot of mid-majors. On the men’s side, you better be a Power 5. You can have five (conference) wins and get in. It’s a big difference.”

To him, a Big 12 men’s team with 11 conference wins and 20 wins overall would be a cinch to play in the NCAAs and not be a bubble team.

“It would never happen on the men’s side,” Carey said. “I think they would cancel the basketball season for the year. And it should not happen on the women’s side either. It’s frustrating to me to watch what’s going on out there.”

Carey has taken a careful look at the situation.

“We won 20 games and 11 games in the conference. No team that’s won 10 or more since 1999 didn’t get into the NCAA Tournament. We just played the No. 1 team in the country down to the wire,” he said.

“We’re not one of the teams where that’s hard to believe. We’re playing in third best conference RPI-wise in the country. My understanding is we have to win a game in this tournament to get into the NCAAs and that shouldn’t be. It’s something the Big 12 has to look into next year.”

His situation was magnified in his mind the other day when watching a Big 12 men’s game on television.

“I’m watching and the Oklahoma men are playing and they won five games in the conference and they are saying they are on the bubble,” Carey said. “Is that not amazing that we won 11 games and are on the bubble and they won five and are on the bubble.

“Nothing against Oklahoma, man. I’m just making a comparison.”

You see, bubbles are great… until they pop.

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