WVU Sports with Tom Bragg

Joe Lunardi really, really likes WVU basketball

The latest edition of Bracketology was released Thursday by longtime ESPN bracket analyst Joe Lunardi. The man known as “Joey Brackets” has been pretty high on WVU since December, slotting the Mountaineers as at least a No. 3 seed, and as a No. 2 seed for the most part. Then came Thursday, where WVU found themselves as one of Lunardi’s No. 1 seeds.

West Virginia, as of this week, is Lunardi’s No. 1 seed in the South, joining East No. 1 Villanova, West No. 1 Michigan State and Midwest No. 1 Virginia. That’s not a surprising place for a Mountaineer team ranked No. 2 in both the writers and coaches top 25 polls. Whether they fall from that perch or cement themselves in the overall top four will hinge very much on WVU’s next five games.

Frankly, it’s Murderer’s Row.

In the next five contests, WVU visits No. 8 Texas Tech, hosts No. 12 Kansas, hosts Texas, visits No. 16 TCU and hosts No. 21 Kentucky in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Could there be a tougher streak in the country? One would be hard-pressed to find it.

If West Virginia can go 5-0 in that stretch, well, it should be considered the nation’s No. 1 team, hands down. Go 4-1 and West Virginia should stay on the No. 1 line. A 3-2 result, depending on who the two losses come against, shouldn’t let the Mountaineers fall very far. Anything less, and West Virginia is probably bouncing between the No. 2 and No. 3 lines for the rest of the season, barring a win in the Big 12 tournament title game.

So what says the WVU fan base? Do the Mountaineers have what it takes to remain a No. 1?