NCAA Bracket 2012: How West Virginia Basketball Got To March Madness

There wasn't a whole lot expected out of West Virginia this year, and during the regular they basically delivered.

Middling expectations led to somewhat middling results for the West Virginia Mountaineers in 2011-12. The Mountaineers were picked to finish seventh in the 16-team Big East and ultimately finished the regular season eighth in the conference with a 9-9 record.

A closer look at their season, though, reveals that while West Virginia won just one of eight games against nationally ranked opponents, they played most of those teams very tough. Aside from beating then-No. 9 Georgetown, the Mountaineers lost by three or fewer points in four of those games. The only game in which they really got played off the court was against then-No. 18 Notre Dame, in a dispiriting 71-44 loss.

The loss to Notre Dame was followed by a dispiriting loss of another variety to then-No. 10 Marquette. After building an 11-point lead at halftime and seeing their lead grow to as many as 15 in the second half. But the Mountaineers failed to hold those leads and ultimately lost 60-61.

The Mountaineers had hoped to boost their seeding in the Big East tournament, but a first-round matchup with UConn, which is pretty much unbeatable in those things, proved fruitless. They ran into a freight train of Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond and just barely couldn't hold on, losing 71-67. With losses now in three of their last five games, they don't have a lot of momentum heading into March Madness. As the No. 10 seed in the East, they'll face No. 7 seed Gonzaga in their first game.

For more info on the Mountaineers, visit The Smoking Musket. Join our 2012 NCAA Bracket pool to compete against the best and brightest from around the network.

For more on the 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket, stay with SB Nation's Selection Sunday StoryStream, and stick around SB Nation's NCAA Tournament hub for a complete printable NCAA Tournament bracket and tons of analysis on who was snubbed, who got the best bracket, and who will make it all the way to New Orleans and the Final Four.

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