For the first time since the 2002-03 season, both WVU basketball programs have failed to make the NCAA tournament.
The fate of the men’s team was very clear: After losing to Kansas in the Big 12 semifinals, the Mountaineers were destined for an appearance in the College Basketball Invitational.
The women, though, had a legitimate argument for the NCAA field, but they missed the tournament for the second year in a row.
Instead, WVU is heading for the WNIT in back-to-back seasons. It will host Rider Thursday at a time to be announced. After learning that his team missed the NCAA tournament once again, head coach Mike Carey, who campaigned for his team at the Big 12 tournament in Oklahoma City, took to Twitter to express his disappointment:
Since West Virginia joined the Big 12 Conference, no team — men’s or women’s — had ever won 10 or more league games and then failed to make the NCAA tournament. But this year, the selection committee passed over the Mountaineers, who finished the regular season with an 11-7 conference record and 20 overall wins.
Despite finishing fourth in the conference ranked third in RPI, WVU’s resume was hampered by an individual RPI of 80 and a strength of schedule that ranked No. 88 in the nation. The Mountaineers also lost four of their final five games.
Another notable team in the WNIT field is TCU, which was listed as a member of the “debatable eight” prior to the announcement of the NCAA tournament bracket. The Horned Frogs were also snubbed, as only four Big 12 teams made the NCAA field.
West Virginia advanced to the semifinals in last year’s WNIT. Its previous WNIT appearance in 2015 ended with a runner-up finish.