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. 

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