The West Virginia Mountaineers first appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1955, but had their first true success in the March tournament in 1959. West Virginia advanced all the way to the national championship before losing to the California Golden Bears. The Mountaineers made it back to the Sweet Sixteen the following season before losing and missing out of the tournament all together in 1961 to snap a 6-year streak of reaching the NCAA Tournament. Overall, West Virginia has made the Big Dance over 24 times in program history, winning over 24 games, advancing to the Elite Eight 2+ times and reaching the Final Four multiple times in their history.
West Virginia has sustained a solid consistency in their history when it comes to the NCAA Tournament. The basketball program dipped in the 1970s as they never played in the postseason tournament once during the decade, but they rebounded to make the tournament six times in the 1980s. After only making it twice in the 1990s, the Mountaineers had a program best, seven consecutive seasons starting in 2005 of reaching the Big Dance. The program will forever be known as the college that legendary basketball player Jerry West played at. West still leads in many statistical categories for the Mountaineers.
West Virginia’s most memorable run in the NCAA Tournament occurred in 1959 when they reached their first Final Four and eventually played in their lone national championship game. The Mountaineers, behind head coach Fred Schaus and West, had their best season in program history, winning 29 games and ranking as high as number 3 in the polls. West Virginia finally got over the hump in the tournament as they won their first game until they defeated the Louisville Cardinals in the Final Four to reach the title game against California. The Mountaineers lost a heartbreaker to the Golden Bears 71-70 despite an epic performance by West. West scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the defeat.
West Virginia Mountaineers Recent NCAA Tourament History
West Virginia last played in the NCAA Tournament in 2012, when they were the 10 seed after winning 19 games during the season. The Mountaineers squared off against the Gonzaga Bulldogs and despite 15 points from Gary Browne, West Virginia lost by double digits.