Even though the 2020 NCAA Tournament was originally canceled due to the spread of COVID-19, WVU coach Bob Huggins hasn’t given up hope. The Mountaineers coach spoke on a Pittsburgh radio show last week and provided his idea to not lose March Madness altogether.
Huggins told The Cook and Joe Show on 93.7 FM that he would like to see the tournament commence in September.
His proposal would also include that every team would have the option to use any player from last year’s roster.
WVU’s coach told the radio show:
“Let’s face it, there’s a great chance we’re not going to have college football. Putting that many people together is going to be rough. I wouldn’t want to have to make that decision.
So why don’t we start the season off with the NCAA Tournament? They know who was in it, they know who was going to play who, they know where they were going to play. Let’s just start off the season with the NCAA Tournament.”
While this idea would generate plenty of interest, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome. Who knows if sports will even be back in full swing during that time?
There’s also a major concern about which players would be eligible to play. If seniors on basketball teams are able to participate, would the NCAA have to allow all winter sport athletes another year of eligibility, too?
It would be a headache for players who are projected to be drafted high in the next NBA draft, as well.
That being said, West Virginia sportsbooks and those around the country would gladly accept Huggins’ vision. A tournament would bring lots of betting activity back to sportsbooks following an unforeseen slow period.
Return of March Madness
The return of any sporting event right now would be extremely beneficial for any sportsbook offered in the US. Although it appears that sports are still on hold for a while, this fall could be a very exciting time.
Hopefully, the NFL and college football return on time, while other sports could potentially be finishing their seasons. With the recent rescheduling of the PGA Tour golf year, sportsbooks could be loaded with betting markets come September.
The Big Dance is one of the top wagered on sporting events every year and that probably wouldn’t change too much moving to the beginning of next season. Even though all of the leagues might have to sort out a TV schedule that works for everyone, college basketball betting generates more than enough betting interest.
Coach Huggins added:
“I just think we go ahead and play the tournament. What, it’s going to take three weekends? Big deal. Really, kids aren’t going to miss class that much. You’re going to basically play on the weekends. So let’s play the tournament.”
Unfortunately, it seems like there are too many hurdles to jump to make it actually happen.
WVU’s Tourney Outlook
As Coach Huggins alluded to, the tournament field was pretty much set. The postseason conference tournaments may have decided the last few spots, but the majority of teams had already punched their ticket.
WVU was one of these squads that was a lock to be in the tournament.
According to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, his last projections placed the Mountaineers as the No. 7 seed in the East Region. This would have set up an opening-round matchup against No. 10 Utah State. It’s likely WVU would have been a sizable favorite in this game.
A victory would set up a probable second-round tilt with No. 2 Florida State. The Mountaineers would be underdogs and face a very difficult test. The Seminoles went 26-5 this year, good enough to win the ACC regular season.
Carrying out Lunardi’s bracket, WVU would have met top-seeded Dayton in the Elite Eight after another tough contest against Villanova.
Although the Mountaineers making a run to the Final Four might’ve been unlikely, you never know unless you play the games. Upsets occur regularly in the NCAA Tournament, so it’s very difficult to project a team’s path.
It’s regrettable that fans won’t be able to see this bracket actually play out. However, maybe coach Huggins’ comments will do more than just spark the conversation.
WVU Betting Odds
While a 2020 NCAA Tournament might be out of reach, there should most definitely be one next year. Online sportsbooks in the Mountain State already feature odds for the 2021 event.
Mobile betting apps include:
WVU should showcase another strong team, with plenty of key contributors returning to Morgantown. According to DraftKings, the following are the Mountaineers’ odds heading into next season:
Win National Title
- WVU +1900
Make Final Four
- WVU +400