Unfortunately, the end of the 2019-20 basketball season has been filled with should haves, would haves and could haves. The latest was released by ESPN analyst Seth Walder.
Walder simulated the 2020 tournament outcome equipped with Joe Lunardi’s final bracket and ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, with WVU making it deep into March Madness.
Lunardi’s bracket had the Mountaineers seeded at No. 7 in the East Region with a round one match-up against No. 10 Utah State, which would have been played in Tampa. Also in that bracket were No. 1 Dayton, No. 2 Florida State, No. 3 Villanova, No. 4 Maryland, No. 5 Butler, No. 6 Penn State, No. 8 Colorado, No. 9 Florida, No. 11 UCLA or N.C. State, No. 12 Texas or Richmond, No. 13 Akron and No. 14. Hofstra.
According to ESPN, the BPI is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of performance going forward with strength of record being a measure of team accomplishment based on how difficult their win and loss record was to achieve. As of March 12, the Mountaineers BPI was No. 11 behind the Big 12’s Kansas and Baylor.
This would have been WVU’s first match-up against Aggies. Utah State finished the regular season third in the Mountain West Conference with a 12-6 record. Walder had the Mountaineers winning this one.
The predictor had No. 7 West Virginia win this round over No. 2 Florida State to advance to the Sweet 16.
Mountaineers would take on No. 6 Penn State and advance to the Elite 8. This what-if scenario was released Wednesday, two years to the day that WVU advanced to the Sweet 16 by defeating Marshall 94-71, thanks to Jevon Carter’s 28 points.
Walder had WVU losing this round to No. 4 Maryland — predicting the Mountaineers would be unable to keep up with the Terps offense. Despite the unfortunate ending for the Mountaineers and the team’s seniors, WVU Basketball thanked them for work this season.
A season we will never forget! Thanks for the ride, boys. ✊#HailWV
— WVU Basketball (@WVUhoops) March 19, 2020