Is WVU baseball still an NCAA Tournament team after an early exit from Big 12s? – The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Just 24 hours separate college baseball programs around the country from the day known as Selection Monday.
On Monday, May 30, programs that know they will be playing past their conference tournament will learn their regional site and their seeds.
For teams like the Mountaineers, Monday will be filled with anticipation: are they in the tournament field, or are they left out?
According to D1Baseball.com’s latest tournament projections, West Virginia is on the outside looking in at the moment.
The website lists WVU among the “First Four Out” teams.
On Saturday, the Mountaineers were in the group of “Last Four In” programs.
Baseball America also has West Virginia listed as one of the “First Four Out” squads.
One reason for this dip is an 0-2 showing at the Big 12 Tournament, which ended against a Kansas State squad that the Mountaineers had swept just six days earlier. The Wildcats also had an RPI of over 100 heading into the conference tournament, which did not help the Mountaineers.
That has caused WVU’s RPI to slip. West Virginia was in the low 30s in RPI prior to playing in Arlington, but is now No. 51 in the metric – down four spots from Saturday.
The RPI cutoff line for an at-large bid is expected to be somewhere in the mid-40s.
Another factor going against Randy Mazey’s group is a growing list of stolen bids.
“Stolen bids have dramatically changed the at-large ladder heading into Championship Sunday,” D1Baseball.com’s Twitter account stated Sunday morning.
Kennesaw State (ASUN) and San Diego (WCC) both won their conference tournament when they were not expected to do so. That not only assured both programs an automatic berth to the national tournament, but shrunk the field by two spots. Both conference’s runners-up, Liberty and Gonzaga, will make the dance with at-large bids.
Specifically speaking towards the Mountaineers’ NCAA Tournament hopes, D1Baseball.com wrote: WVU went 14-10 in the regular season in a power conference, but really hurt its cause with an 0-2 showing in the Big 12. Couple that with an RPI problem and it’s not looking great for the Mountaineers.
West Virginia hopes to make the NCAA Tournament for the third time since 2017. WVU hosted an NCAA Regional for the first time under the current tournament format in 2019.
If West Virginia does secure a berth to the national tournament, it would mark the first time since the 1960s that the program would play in the NCAA Tournament three times in five seasons.*
The NCAA Baseball Tournament bracket will be released beginning Monday at noon ET.
*Editor’s Note: This is not including the 2020 season, which was canceled due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning no tournament was played.