Chip Shops – Yay!


by Jim Buzzerd

The West Virginia University Men’s Basketball Team ended its second seven game losing streak of the season with a 70-64 win over TCU last Saturday in the Coliseum. The Mountaineers were locked into last place in the Big 12 regardless of the result of the game, and due to Oklahoma State being ineligible for post season play this season, West Virginia will be the nine seed in this week’s Big 12 tournament. That will send them against eighth seeded Kansas State Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. A win will advance WVU to Thursday’s 2 p.m. game with top seeded Kansas.

The Mountaineers will enter the tournament with a 15-16 overall record and 4-14 in conference. It is certain that the only way West Virginia can advance to the NCAA Tournament is to win the conference championship in Kansas City this week. What isn’t certain is if West Virginia will fit in the NIT’s plans. A .500 or better record is no longer required to be included in the NIT, but one would think a 16-17 WVU team has a better chance for an invite than a 15-17 team.

I’m not calling Wednesday’s game with KSU a must win for an NIT invite, because I really don’t know, it’s just a hunch. That said, the Mountaineers probably got the better draw in Kansas State. The Wildcats squared off against Oklahoma last Saturday with the loser heading into the ‘play in’ game against WVU. Oklahoma won 78-71. The Sooners clearly outplayed WVU in two regular season games, in fact an argument could be made that Oklahoma dominated the Mountaineers more than any conference team not named Kansas.

On the other hand, West Virginia split with Kansas State in the regular season losing 78-73 on February 14 in Manhattan. In typical 2022 fashion WVU led 42-35 at the half, stretched the lead to 10 points in the second half, before going on one of their customary cold streaks.

I get the sense that a significant percentage of Mountaineer fans don’t care one way, or the other, if West Virginia has a chance to extend their season. I get the reasoning for a care less attitude, but in the end, it would seem a true fan would want the team to continue. That’s where I stand with one caveat. I just hope the players are on board to continue playing if the opportunity presents itself. If they’re not interested, and nothing would shock me about this team, then it would be best to decline the invitation.

In any event, there is a NIT selection show, which will follow the 68 team NCAA selection show this Sunday. The 32 team NIT field will be announced at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU.