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Floyd: WVU Baseball Needs to Show Their Best in Big 12 Tournament

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WVU Baseball Grant Hussey high fives teammates

Randy Mazey’s WVU baseball team entered the final weekend of the 2023 regular season ranked as high as No. 6, with a share of the regular season Big 12 title all but locked up and their eyes on a potential regional host bid in the NCAA Tournament.

Despite possessing all the momentum, the Mountaineers backed into the postseason, dropping five straight conference games and seven of their last eight contests, slumping at the worst possible time after everything broke their way for the first 11 weeks of the season. Even with the five game skid—which led to an early exit from the Big 12 tournament—the Mountaineers picked up an at-large bid with ease thanks to their sterling résumé for much of the season.

Sitting at 33-20, 5.5 games worse than they were at the end of last year’s regular season, the Mountaineers might not receive the benefit of the doubt.

WVU Baseball celebrating Backyard Brawl win over Pitt at PNC Park

Ed Thompson / WVSN

While ending up at No. 4 in the regular season conference standings is a far more impressive feat than the same slot would’ve been in 2023 based on the Big 12’s continued expansion, standing in front of the selection committee should still give West Virginia butterflies, especially after key members like JJ Wetherholt and Grant Hussey ended up on the outside looking in at the end of the 2022 campaign. They ended with an identical 33-20 record that season before losing both games in the conference tournament.

WVU Baseball: Appraising their Résumé

The highlight of their season to date is a series win at Oklahoma, the regular season conference champion. West Virginia swept then-No. 17 UCF in Morgantown in April, but the Knights haven’t appeared in any poll since… and the Mountaineers followed that up being swept at the hands of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, a team firmly in the Big 12 basement with a miserable 12-17 conference record.

WVU’s talent is certainly worthy of a tournament bid, but the results haven’t always come together. For every crest comes a comparable trough, and the Mountaineers have spent just one week in the Top 25 this season. With only 33 at-large bids available, West Virginia will be at the mercy of the selection committee barring a conference championship, although future MLB lottery pick JJ Wetherholt missing nearly two months of the season could cut WVU Baseball some slack.

D1 Baseball slated the Mountaineers for a No. 2 seed in a potential Knoxville regional in their most recent bracket predictions, but the Mountaineers will need to be at their best this week in order to feel any semblance of comfort ahead of Selection Monday.

For a related story, former WVU stars spoke with WV Sports Now to detail Randy Mazey’s impact on their lives and careers.

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