Bock: 18 Wins is the Magic Number for West Virginia Basketball
The month of February has begun and West Virginia basketball is once again fighting for an NCAA Tournament bid. WVU won’t have it easy as they’ll need to win a few more games for a spot in March Madness.
West Virginia’s magic number to make the tournament is 18 wins, in my opinion.
On Feb. 2, the Mountaineers sit at 13-9 (2-7 Big 12). Honestly in a better spot than they were just two weeks ago. West Virginia has gone 4-2 in their last six games after a five-game losing streak to begin conference play. WVU G Erik Stevenson has slowly found his confidence once again as he was recognized as the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Monday. Sophomores Seth Wilson and James Okonkwo have stepped up off the bench to help Joe Toussaint out.
By the math, WVU is in need of at least five more wins. Let’s take a look at their remaining schedule:
Feb. 4 / vs. OKLAHOMA
Feb. 8 / vs. IOWA STATE
Feb. 11 / @ TEXAS
Feb. 13 / @ BAYLOR
Feb. 18 / vs. TEXAS TECH
Feb. 20 / vs. OKLAHOMA STATE
Feb. 25 / @ KANSAS
Feb. 27 / @ IOWA STATE
Mar. 4 / vs. KANSAS STATE
Mar. 8-11 / Big 12 Conference Tournament (Kansas City)
West Virginia has favorable home games the rest of the way, but there’s nothing easy coming from the road. First, the Mountaineers have to handle Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech at home. OU and OSU are fighting for a tournament bid as well, while a banged-up Texas Tech team has one conference win. WVU needs to defend home court against teams on the same level. A road win or upsets of Iowa State and Kansas State at home will also help WVU’s tournament chances.
West Virginia just needs five more wins from this point on to Selection Sunday. 18 overall wins for a Big 12 team is impressive, given that more than half of the league is in the top 15.
According to BartTorvik.com, West Virginia has a 76 percent chance of making the NCAA Tournament. BartTorvik’s computer thinks WVU will be fine if they handle their games at home.
As of Thursday morning, WVU’s NET ranking is 24th in the country. The Mountaineers are also one of 12 teams in the country to have five or more quad-1 wins. The formula is right there for West Virginia. WVU just has to handle business.
West Virginia is looking to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2021 after a 16-17 season last year. Bob Huggins and his coaching staff experimented with the transfer portal, bringing in four players from the Power-5 level. This next month is crucial for what the program has built in the past year.