MORGANTOWN—The latest NCAA Men’s Basketball Top 25 basketball polls came out on Monday, and WVU (7-0) was left off of both the Associated Press and Coaches Polls, being relegated to the “others receiving votes” section to the dismay of many. The Mountaineers are coming off of a win over Atlantic 10 foe Rhode Island (5-2), after being named tournament champions in the Cancun Challenge last Wednesday with wins over Boston (3-2), Northern Iowa (6-0), and Wichita State (6-0).
According to the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index), the Mountaineers are #1 in the nation. That standard is a measurable used to rank sports teams based upon a team’s wins and losses and its strength of schedule. However, the NCAA no longer uses that formula for purposes of ranking and seeding teams for the NCAA tournament.
Although the Mountaineers are undefeated through seven games, have won an eight-team tournament, have multiple star players including a former 5-star McDonald’s All-American, and have already defeated previously undefeated Northern Iowa and Wichita State as well as ACC staple Pitt and 5-2 Rhode Island, those accolades weren’t enough to impress the voters.
“We’ve been really good (in the past) and we weren’t ranked as high as we should be, and we were not very good and we were ranked higher than we should be, so at this point in time I could really care less,” said Mountaineer head coach Bob Huggins. “For sure I think we are a Top 25 team, but honestly I could care less if we get ranked.”
One issue that might be plaguing West Virginia is their inability to close out games commandingly once they have built a substantial lead. Another issue that the Mountaineers face is that they are only a season removed from a 15-21 record in which they didn’t make the NCAA or NIT tournaments.
WVU will have an excellent chance to impress the voters again when they return to action this Saturday as they make a trip to New York City to face St. John’s at Madison Square Garden.
If the Mountaineers go on to win that game, they will move to 8-0 for the first time since the 2009-2010 season. That season, the Mountaineers advanced to the Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, ultimately losing to Duke by the score of 78-57.