West Virginia basketball has had success against the best teams in the nation, holding a 5-8 record against former No. 1’s.
WVU also has an extensive basketball history. Though not recognized by the NCAA, WVU won the National Championship in 1942. WVU lost the 1959 NCAA National Championship by one point to California, but Jerry West still captured the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player in the defeat. WVU went back to the Final Four in 2010 by winning the East Region of the NCAA Tournament in a 1 vs 2 match up against one of Kentucky’s best teams in its storied history.
Playing basketball at a high level doesn’t guarantee you’ll get many opportunities against a No. 1 team. There are over 300 teams and rankings change weekly. You have to be in the right place at the right time. Tennessee is No. 1 now, but the Volunteers were just no. 3 one week ago until Duke and Michigan both lost to unranked teams.
Let’s take a look back at the Mountaineers five wins against No. 1 ranked teams.
WVU’s first win against a No. 1 team was in 1957 against the North Carolina Tar Heels. WVU won by 11 points but ended the season losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Canisius.
West Virginia’s second win was in Charleston, WV. The Duke Blue Devils came to the Charleston Civic Center in 1966 and WVU won 94-90.
The third game was one of the greatest games in Coliseum history. UNLV came to Morgantown and WVU won 87-78.
The fourth win was in 2016 against Kansas in the Coliseum. The Jayhawks are 2-5 in Morgantown. There have been several programs who have discontinued the series with WVU so they wouldn’t have to travel to the Coliseum, but as a conference foe, Kansas doesn’t have that luxury.
The Baylor Bears were the most recent No. 1 team defeated by WVU in the 2017 season at the Coliseum. WVU will have another opportunity to make history against Tennessee on Saturday.