March Madness is only a few weeks away, and many West Virginia sports fans will be looking to wager at one of the six WV sportsbooks:
- Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
- Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort
- The Casino Club at The Greenbrier
- Mardi Gras Casino & Resort
- Wheeling Island Hotel
- BetLucky Sportsbook (first WV sports betting app)
With the WV men’s college basketball teams struggling, bettors may be interested in turning to another state team that’s shown some promise and still has a shot at the NCAA tournament – the WVU Lady Mountaineers.
WVU NCAA tournament chances
The Lady Mountaineers are 10-5 in Big 12 play and 19-7 overall. A trip to the NCAA tournament, however, was dealt a harsh blow on Feb. 23. The team endured an 80-69 loss to struggling Oklahoma, which is only 3-12 in conference play.
The performance was a tough pill to swallow for a team that was close to sewing up a trip to the tournament and coach Mike Carey expressed his disappointment after the game to the Metro News.
“We knew what was on the line and we didn’t play hard. We knew they were scorers. We just didn’t concentrate and talk. Then we had a lot of missed shots. Missed 10 foul shots and probably four-to-five layups. They had a lot more energy than we did. They played a lot harder than we did.”
That effort may have hurt the team’s chance to qualify, but the squad still has three games remaining to make its case. The women square off against Kansas State and Kansas this week and then will have their hands full on March 4 when they take on No. 1-ranked Baylor (15-0 in conference play).
The team might still have a shot with a nice finish in the Big 12 tournament, which the women won in 2017 despite a sixth-place regular season finish. It will be interesting to see if they can repeat that success.
WVU Lady Mountaineers history at a glance
If the Lady Mountaineers can finish strong and qualify, this would be the 13th NCAA tournament appearance since the tournament’s inception in 1982. The school began fielding a women’s team in 1973. That history includes finishing regular season conference champions twice, and conference tournament champions twice.
The team has advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament 12 times, and its best season came in 1992 when the Lady Mountaineers qualified for the Sweet 16. That team finished 16-0 in Atlantic 10 conference play before getting blown out by Virginia 103-83.
A Look at the NCAA Women’s Tournament
Like the men’s tournament, the women’s also features 64 teams and team selection is set for Monday, March 18. The first 32 teams qualify with automatic bids via conference tournaments with the remaining 32 making the tournament as at-large entries.
The first two rounds of play will be held at campus sites March 22-23 and March 24-25.
Regional play (Sweet 16 and Elite 8) will then take place as follows:
- Chicago, IL – Wintrust Arena (March 30, April 1)
- Albany, NY – Times Union Center (March 29 and 31)
- Greensboro, NC – Greensboro Coliseum (March 30, April 1)
- Portland, OR – Moda Center (March 29 and 31)
The Final Four (April 5) and National Championship (April 7) then shift to Tampa, FL.
Last year, Notre Dame claimed the title after defeating Mississippi State, which also lost a year earlier to South Carolina.
Historically, two teams have dominated the tournament since it began in 1982. The University of Connecticut leads the pack with 11 titles. That includes winning four in a row from 2013-16 and a three-peat from 2002-04.
The Tennessee Lady Volunteers are second in titles with eight. That includes a three-peat from 1996-98. These two schools alone have won 19 of 37 tournaments, 51 percent of all championships.
The only other schools with more than one title are:
- Louisiana Tech
- Notre Dame
Betting the NCAA Tournament in WV
Most sportsbooks in the state should offer lines on matchups during the tournament. BetLucky doesn’t currently offer lines or futures on women’s college basketball, but that may change as the tournament approaches.
Mobile sports betting is starting to gain some traction. BetLucky provides online betting for Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island. Mobile sports betting for the two casinos is more than half of their combined sports betting revenue. So, it makes sense that the books would offer some betting on the Ladies NCAA tournament, especially if WVU makes it in.
Those looking for futures wagering might consider taking a look at the rankings and some traditional winners:
- #1 ranked Baylor (23-1)
- #2 ranked Oregon (24-1)
- #3 ranked UConn (23-2)
However, traditional power Tennessee has struggled this season, currently 17-9 and 6-7 in SEC play. The Lady Vols might miss the tournament entirely.
No doubt now that legal WV sports betting exists, more money may be placed on the women’s tournament outside Nevada. After Selection Monday, check out those brackets, look for some value, and make that wager.