West Virginia is playing college basketball’s toughest schedule, according to College RPI.com. The online RPI service has West Virginia sixth in its most recent rankings following Wednesday night’s win at Providence.
Nineteen of West Virginia’s 25 games this year have come against teams with winning records. In fact, the combined winning percentage of West Virginia’s 25 opponents so far is a hefty .635.
I went back to compare other WVU schedules dating back to 1940 and as of today, this year’s slate is the toughest in school history. Based on the combined winning percentage of West Virginia’s opponents, here are the five toughest schedules the Mountaineers have faced since 1940:
1983, .595, Gale Catlett
If you recall, Gale Catlett’s 1983 team faced national champion NC State in the Meadowlands, beat No. 1 UNLV at the Coliseum and also played NCAA tournament participants Ohio State, Georgia Southern, VCU and Rutgers. West Virginia played 17 games that season against teams with winning records.
Interestingly, Sonny Moran is the only coach in school history to have coached five or more seasons and compile a losing career record. He also faced some of the toughest schedules in school history, the combined winning percentage of the opponents he faced an impressive .557.
You may remember that West Virginia had just left the Southern Conference and began playing more of a national schedule when Moran was coaching the Mountaineers.
For the sake of balance, here are the five softest schedules West Virginia has faced since 1940. Again, this is based on combined winning percentage of its opponents (only games against major schools were counted):
1953, .452, Red Brown
1. UCLA, 1969 (29-1)
All five won national championships with CCNY also capturing the NIT title the same year. Including those five, the Mountaineers also played eventual national champions Kentucky (1958), Cal (1959), NC State (1983) an Syracuse (2003).
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All four teams are in contention for one of the four byes for this year’s Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Syracuse is tied with Villanova at the top of the league standings at 11-2. Pitt is ½-game out of third place behind 9-4 West Virginia with an 8-4 league record. Georgetown is fifth at 8-5 while Marquette is seventh at 7-5.
Just seven of the 16 teams in the league presently have winning records inside of conference play causing Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin to tell ESPN's Andy Katz earlier this week that the Big East is taking certain NCAA teams and turning them into bubble teams.
He's probably right.
Wasn’t it around this time Ebanks got hot last year?
A quick check of the Big East statistics shows guard-dominated Villanova and Connecticut leading the conference in free throws attempted with 669 and 663 respectively.
The Mountaineers are ninth in free throws attempted with 543.
If you recall, it was Hazell who nearly beat West Virginia with a career-high 41 points in the Mountaineers’ 90-84 overtime victory at Seton Hall earlier this year. Hazell scored 29 in last year’s game against West Virginia.
According to Pro Football Reference.com, Bulger ranks 72nd in NFL history with 22,814 career passing yards in eight seasons with the Rams. Injuries have led to declining numbers in 2007, 2008 and 2009 for Bulger after he threw for a career-best 4,301 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2006.
The two-time Pro Bowler has a 40-47 record as a starter for the Rams.
Rivals rated the Mountaineers recent signing class 19th in the country.
I couldn’t agree with her more.
The 4:30 p.m. game will be on MSN radio.
The publication lists Gyorko as a preseason third team All-American and has him going 18th in its early mock baseball draft.
Gyorko and his WVU teammates are going to get an early gauge of where they are at by facing 12th-ranked Coastal Carolina to open the regular season Friday afternoon in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
That should keep you warm as you try digging out of the latest snowstorm.
Enjoy your weekend!
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