When the national poll rankings came out today, Monday, Feb. 17, WVU fell among men’s college basketball teams to No. 17, according to the writers (A.P.), and to No. 18, according to the coaches (USA Today).
A friend wrote on Twitter that shows national respect for the Mountaineers.
Believe it or not, though, it really does not.
If anything, it shows a lack of respect.
For multiple reasons.
First, consider how crazy of a college basketball season we’re experiencing.
I realize it’s easy to get caught up in your rooting interest, but step back. Look around.
Heck, just look at the nation’s Top 5 teams according to both polls: 1. Baylor, 2. Gonzaga, 3. Kansas, 4. San Diego State and 5. Dayton.
If that’s not enough, scan on down. Penn State at No. 9? Also, after the top 12 or 13 teams – depending on which poll – there are no ranked teams with less than six losses.
So there’s the topsy-turvy state of college basketball.
If you’re more analytical, though, I have three more reasons to show WVU is not being respected, but actually shaded a bit.
First, there’s the NCAA men’s basketball NET rankings, which will be used to determine the March Madness slots.
West Virginia is No. 10 as of today. Yep, seven to eight spots above the polls.
Another? Check out kenpom.com. The respected Pomeroy College Basketball Rankings have the Mountaineers No. 7.
That’s correct. They are slotted even higher than the NET rankings. The numbers there show 1. Kansas, 2. Duke, 3. Gonzaga, 4. San Diego State, 5. Baylor, 6. Dayton and The Fighting Men of Bob Huggins at No. 7.
And reason No. 4? Check ye olde Rating Percentage Index, widely known as the RPI.
West Virginia is currently No. 7 there as well. The list: 1. Kansas, 2. Auburn, 3. Baylor, 4. Duke, 5. Dayton, 6. Maryland and 7. The Old Gold and Blue.
Give Huggins credit, by the way.
After his team fell for the second time last week, falling in Waco to Baylor, Huggins said the following: “To say we’ve fallen out of the national picture is wrong. We have not. We’re still a very big part of the national picture.”
That, while many Mountaineer fans were throwing up their arms.
Another loss, the seventh of the season.
Another poor WVU shooting percentage.
Another game in which the Mountaineers kept turning the ball over.
Yet it was Huggs who – correctly – put everything in perspective.
The Mountaineers might drive their fans crazy.
But the college basketball season as a whole is off the beaten path.
By the way, after WVU’s loss the other day, I placed a poll on Twitter that finished with 473 voters. The question was, which Mountaineer needs to step up the most for the Mountaineers to make a serious run?
The runaway winner in the poll was Emmitt Matthews Jr. Starting all 25 games, he’s averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 rebounds. In Big 12 conference play, he’s averaging 3.9 points and 2.7 rebounds.
Matthews received 62.2 percent of the votes and the next closest was Jermaine Haley at 15.9 percent.
We shall be watching.
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Mitch Vingle covered sports in West Virginia for 38 years. Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.