Morgantown, Wisconsin – If you’re interested in NET rankings, metrics, and analytics, Saturday’s Auburn, West Virginia SEC/Big 12 Challenge Game is for you.
Because the computer really likes these two basketball teams.
Auburn recorded a 28-game winning streak against Texas A&M on the same night West Virginia ended a 12-game losing streak on the Big 12 roads at Texas Tech. Year.
The 16-4 Tigers have since dropped to No. 30, but will get a big boost when they face No. 25 West Virginia in Morgantown on Saturday. The eight-loss Mountaineers are playing the fourth-toughest schedule in the country and have no rest.
Auburn is matched by West Virginia just opposite, with No. 13 TCU, No. 8 Texas, No. 65 Oklahoma and No. 9 Iowa looming over the next nine days.
For everyone else who doesn’t play in the Big 12, getting a couple of wins counts as a postseason resume maker. When you get those three, you’re cooking on gas .
Win all 5?
Stop the season and plan a parade!
That’s what the 12-8 West Virginia team faces with five to six more wins in the remaining 11 regular season games.
Then West Virginia could rest much easier than it did in 2012, when the 10th seed snuck into the tournament with a 19-13 overall record. Two years ago, when the Mountaineers were 18-9 in his short year out of COVID, they were seeded his third.
That’s the benefit of attending the #1 basketball conference in the nation. And despite the SEC’s stumbles in the last two seasons, going 6-of-10 in 2022 and 5-of-9 in 2021, the league will stand firm no matter what happens during tomorrow’s 10-game challenge. (Kansas vs. Kentucky game canceled).
With all 10 of the Big 12 playing tomorrow, the worst four SEC teams will have something else to do. Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt did not participate in the challenge last year. Those four teams went 70-69 in total this season.
Two years ago, Georgia, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and South Carolina were on the sidelines.
Can you see the pattern?
If one conference can pick the top 10 teams to decide who will face whom in this event, this is a huge advantage.
‘The numbers show the Big 12 is a much more difficult league,’ says West Virginia coach Bob Huggins Said. “All the people who come up with numbers keep saying we can fill almost all the top five spots with a Big 12 team, and probably more.”
In some respects, West Virginia is arguably at a disadvantage when it comes to the Big 12/SEC Challenge, especially since it moved to the heart of conference play in late January 2016.That year was stuck between a home game against Kansas State and a trip to his 13thth-A ranked Iowa state, the Mountaineers had to play in Florida, where they lost 88-71.
In 2018, it was the Mountaineers’ home game against Kentucky after coming off a tough road loss at TCU.
In 2019, a struggling West Virginia team had to play world No. 1 Tennessee four days before moving to No. 20.th– Ranked Iowa.
Two years ago, it was a home game against Florida five days after an emotional win 10-88-87.th– ranked Texas Tech University, four days before another excursion to Ames, Iowa.
Last year’s game required West Virginia to travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to face the Razorbacks, two days before facing defending national champion Baylor in Waco. No need to turn the plane around to get home.
“Let them go through what we go through every year,” Huggins said. You can say
“Go back and see what our people do in the NCAA Tournament and what our people do outside of conferences. It’s not even close,” he added. I’ve coached those leagues and I’ve coached them, but it’s not the same.”
Yes, these mid-season challenge games are profitable for conferences and television networks, and they attract the attention of fans and experts, but they can be difficult for coaches and players.
sophomore guard Seth Wilson I don’t know Tigers as well as I do with Horned Frog, Sooner, Longhorn, and Cyclone, but I treat Auburn the same way I treat my Big 12 opponents.
“They’re a great team and we take the same approach they have going into the conference. It’s another game we have to go out and win and don’t take it lightly. He said. should be treated like
Saturday looms large for the Auburn team in pursuit of a quality win. College basketball on-air personality Rob Dorster on Wednesday’s TV show “Field of 68” called the Tigers “the biggest scam in the country.”
It’s tough, maybe too tough, but he’s a valid argument that Auburn needs to add a quality win to its postseason resume. , Arkansas at home and Northwestern on the neutral floor. The Tigers also beat Florida, where West Virginia was the neutral site and he lost by 29 points, and Mississippi.
According to TV analyst Chris Mack, Auburn coach Bruce Pearl’s scheduling philosophy is to play a good mid-major in the non-conference, avoid the NET’s bottom 300 teams, and build a postseason resume. It was to rely on the SEC’s strong record.
That means Auburn doesn’t usually come to places like Morgantown unless it’s part of a made-for-TV deal.
So Saturday afternoon’s matchup is worth it for Auburn, and certainly for a West Virginia team looking to rack up wins.
If you’re a Mountaineer, winning games means bragging rights and NCAA tournament credit. Losing it means they move on to something tougher – which is exactly what they did the year they didn’t do well at the challenge.
Saturday’s game has already been announced as sold out and is expected to finish at noon. It airs nationally on ESPN (Kevin Fitzgerald and Dane Bradshaw).
Other Big 12/SEC Challenge games on Saturday include:
No. 2 Alabama at Oklahoma, 2:00 p.m.
Texas Tech at LSU, 2pm
No. 12 Iowa State University, Missouri, 2:00 p.m.
No. 11 TCU, Mississippi, 4:00 p.m.
No. 17 Baylor, Arkansas, 4:00 p.m.
No. 10 Texas vs. No. 4 Tennessee, 6 p.m.
Florida, Kansas No. 5, 6 p.m.
No. 9 Kansas at Kentucky, 8 p.m.
Ole Miss, Oklahoma, 8pm