The Big 12 Conference released the men’s basketball schedule on Wednesday. This gives West Virginia their full schedule for the 2021-22 basketball season.
Here is the full schedule for the West Virginia men’s basketball team.
|Nov. 18||Elon (Shriners Children's Charleston Classic)|
|Nov. 19||Shriners Children's Charleston Classic|
|Nov. 21||Shriners Children's Charleston Classic|
|Nov. 26||Eastern Kentucky|
|Dec. 8||UCONN (Big East Battle)|
|Dec. 12||Kent State|
|Dec. 18||@ UAB|
|Dec. 22||Youngstown State|
|Jan. 1||@ Texas|
|Jan. 3||@ TCU|
|Jan. 8||Kansas State|
|Jan. 11||Oklahoma State|
|Jan. 15||@ Kansas|
|Jan. 22||@ Texas Tech|
|Jan. 29||@ Arkansas (SEC Challenge)|
|Jan. 31||@ Baylor|
|Feb. 5||Texas Tech|
|Feb. 8||Iowa State|
|Feb. 12||@ Oklahoma State|
|Feb. 14||@ Kansas State|
|Feb. 23||@ Iowa State|
|Mar. 1||@ Oklahoma|
|Mar. 9-12||Big 12 Conference Tournament|
I’m here to give my initial thoughts on the schedule and what games the fans should look forward to.
In non-conference play, the Mountaineers early season games are highlighted by hosting old Big East foes Pitt and UCONN. While these are great games for the fans to get out to see familiar names, I wish WVU was tested more on the road early-on. The Mountaineers don’t have a true road game until Dec. 18 when they travel to Birmingham, Alabama, to take on Bob Huggins’ friend Andy Kennedy and his UAB squad.
The Mountaineers will travel to Charleston, South Carolina from Nov. 18-21 to compete in the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic. The rest of the field includes Boise State, Clemson, Elon, Marquette, Ole Miss, St. Bonaventure and Temple. WVU’s first round matchup has already been a date announced with Elon, with the winner taking on Marquette or Ole Miss. If the Mountaineers make it to the championship game, their toughest opponent on the other side of the field would be St. Bonaventure — the early Atlantic 10 favorites.
West Virginia’s non-conference schedule might look ‘weak’ to some people but there are a lot of mid-major teams that can give the Mountaineers a great game. Bellarmine, Eastern Kentucky and Kent State are just a few schools that recorded over .500 records in the 2020-21 season, with all three teams competing against high-talent.
Going forward to the conference schedule, what immediately sticks out to me is that the Mountaineers have a full week off during Christmas break, and then go right on the road to Texas to play the Longhorns and the Horned Frogs.
The Big 12 has changed immensely since the conclusion of the 2021 season, with four out of the 10 schools changing head coaches. West Virginia won’t have to see Lon Kruger, Shaka Smart and Steve Prohm two times a year anymore. They will have to still see Chris Beard twice, who left Texas Tech for Texas.
Coaches weren’t the only change in the conference, as players shifted teams especially due to the new transfer portal rules. Baylor’s deep team from last year lost their star players in Jared Butler, Mark Vital, MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell, but Scott Drew brings back the rest of the depth that was on that great team as the Bears look to compete for another national championship. Kansas, Texas, West Virginia and Oklahoma also attacked the transfer portal, adding great players.
As of today, the Big 12 conference is Kansas, Baylor, Texas and everyone else. The rest of the conference lost so much and added to replace the losses that it’s hard to predict where each team will be. Looking at the schedule, it’s hard to tell where there are tough stretches.
I put out a tweet last night that shows the complexity of this part of WVU’s schedule.
That stretch in late Jan. of:
Seems to be the hardest WVU will have all season
— Ethan Bock (@ethanbock_) September 16, 2021
To go to Lawrence, then host Baylor, travel to Texas Tech, then host a new-look Oklahoma team, then play an Elite-8 team in Arkansas and then travel to Waco, TX to play the Bears again? Yeah, this is the hardest stretch of the season. A lot of West Virginia’s schedule is spread out in regards to those powerhouse schools in the conference I mentioned before.
This might be good for the Mountaineers as they look to find their identity as they bring on seven new players to the program.