Among the many things Bob Huggins discussed after Wednesday night’s win against No. 21 Oklahoma is that his team is now 1-16 in the past 17 games against ranked teams. And that’s cool because an entertaining and likable team probably didn’t deserve to break the school record of 20 straight losses.
Your thoughts? Because I don’t entirely agree.
The explanation is that WVU scheduled really aggressively and took some losses to ranked teams that it could have avoided by taking it easy and taking few risks.
Never mind that it does you no good to schedule games and lose them. The explanation is a little off.
WVU lost 12 of those 16 games to ranked Big East and Big 12 teams, meaning it lost to teams it had to play. WVU only scheduled four ranked non-conference opponents — Gonzaga twice, Michigan and Wisconsin .
Now, let’s take nothing away from the way WVU has scheduled in the past. I’ve commended that here and in the newspaper for years. What the Mountaineers have done to predict the RPI and manipulate strength of schedule has been really scientific and effective. It’s legitimately helped WVU earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and improved seeding in years before that.
But before winning the past three games, each against RPI top-100 teams, the Mountaineers had been 0-7 this season. They were 1-16 last season. The win was against Eastern Kentucky. In all, WVU lost its final 12 last year against the RPI top 100, which means 19 straight losses. Of those 19, 16 were conference games.
The non-conference schedule hasn’t warped the record against ranked and RPI top-100 teams that much. And honestly, none of that matters the way WVU is playing right now. But the perspective matters to see how far the Mountaineers have come this season.