As March begins many Mountaineer teams are just getting their seasons underway for the spring, while others are preparing to make postseason runs in tournament play. Because of the nature of baseball series and tournaments, many of these top games will actually consist of multiple games for the Mountaineer teams.
Honorable Mention: Baseball vs Pitt (March 27)
The honorable mention for the month of March is the baseball edition of the Backyard Brawl. The Mountaineers will host Pitt for the first of their two regular season matchups this year. This is one of many tough non-conference games that the Mountaineers have on the schedule this season. WVU beat Pitt in both of their matchups last season, winning 8-4 in Pittsburgh and 2-0 in Morgantown. The Mountaineers look to continue this streak against the Panthers this later month.
5. #20 Men’s Basketball in the Big 12 Tournament (March 7-10)
The Mountaineers should be heading into the conference tournament as the #2 seed. This means they will begin playing on the second day against a team that will have to win the night before. Although WVU wasn’t able to dethrone Kansas as the regular season conference champion, they have a great chance to win the Big 12 conference championship for the first time since joining the conference. The Mountaineers are currently 11-6 in conference play with just one game remaining. They have also defeated eight of the other nine teams at least once this season, and most fans would agree that they should’ve beaten all of the other conference teams at least once this season. All of the conference tournament games will be nationally televised on ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU.
4. Baseball at #3 Texas Tech (March 29-31)
The Big 12 Conference will provide many tough series for the Mountaineers this season and this is definitely one of them. The Red Raiders are currently one of two Big 12 teams that are ranked in the top four nationally. Texas Tech is also undefeated and has been blowing teams out in the process, including a 21-6 victory against Maine. Kevin Brophy is currently leading the Mountaineers offensively, with five home runs and 10 RBI’s. BJ Meyers has also been a leader for WVU as a pitcher. Myers currently leads the team in innings pitched and he has struck out nine batters so far this season. The Mountaineers will need help from these two and others to pull out wins in this tough series at the end of March. The second game in the series on March 30 with be nationally televised of FS1.
3. Women’s Basketball in the NCAA Tournament (March 16-April 1)
The brutal Big 12 schedule has taken a toll on the Mountaineers, but they should still make their way into the NCAA Tournament later this month. WVU is currently 20-10 with one more regular season matchup against Oklahoma State remaining. The Mountaineers are also still receiving votes to be ranked, which is a testament to their success and tough schedule. Teana Muldrow has led the way this year, averaging close to 20 points and nine rebounds per game. Last year the Mountaineers made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and this year they look to exceed that level and make their way to the Sweet 16 and potentially further.
2. #1 Rifle in the NCAA Tournament (March 9-10)
The WVU Rifle team has completed their third consecutive undefeated regular season with a record of 13-0. The Mountaineers have also started the postseason of with huge success winning their ninth consecutive GARC (Great America Rifle Conference) Championship. Ginny Thrasher and Morgan Phillips led the way in the conference championship. The Mountaineers now head into the NCAA Tournament with arguably more momentum than any team in the country. If the Mountaineers complete the undefeated season and win the NCAA tournament, it will be their sixth consecutive national championship and their 20th all time.
1. #20 Men’s Basketball in the NCAA Tournament (March 13-April 2)
The Mountaineers narrowly lost a heartbreaker last year in the Sweet 16 to Gonzaga, who went on to barely lose in the national championship. This year WVU looks to make it past the Sweet 16 and take Huggins back to the Final Four. The Mountaineers have had one of the toughest schedules in the country. The team has embraced that challenge and now has one of the highest ranked “Strength of Records” in the nation. WVU has won four of their eight matchups against ranked opponents this season, which means they have experience playing in big games against high level competition.
Seniors Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles, Jr. look to lead the team with their tournament experience. The duo has been a part of 7 tournament games during their first three seasons. Mountaineer fans are hoping that this season will be their best and they can leave Morgantown as champions. All of the tournament games will be nationally televised on CBS, TBS, TNT, or truTV.
March will be the end of many seasons and the beginning of others. Either way, it will be an exciting month for Mountaineer athletics. Many WVU teams have opportunities to continue their success and hopefully they will bring a few championship trophies back to Morgantown.