Ending on a high note: tournament cancellations lead to rare result

WVU Men's Basketball

Athletes, fans and coaches will remember the 2019-20 college basketball season as one brought to a disappointing, premature end by the coronavirus pandemic — but the record books may remember things a bit differently, especially in West Virginia’s case. 

Because the Big 12 Tournament and NCAA Tournament were called off, the Mountaineers’ final result of the season was a 76-64 win over then-No. 4 Baylor, which led to a court storm and celebration on the Coliseum floor. 

Ending a season with a win in the final game is a rare accomplishment in college basketball, especially for WVU.  Since the 1975-76 season, the Mountaineers have ended only one other season with a victory. That was in 2006-07, when West Virginia won its second NIT title by beating Clemson in the championship game. 

A pivotal moment in program history followed: John Beilein became the head coach at Michigan after leading the Mountaineers to an NIT title, and Bob Huggins was named West Virginia’s next head coach a few days later. 

A deeper look into the history of WVU hoops reveals that 28 Mountaineer basketball seasons have concluded with victories in the final game, dating back to the inaugural season in 1903-04. Many of those early campaigns did not include postseason competition. 

A large percentage of those season-ending victories came against a common opponent. The Mountaineers have concluded eight seasons with victories over Pitt in the final game of the campaign. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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