Women's Basketball, WVU Sports

WVU gets No. 8 seed, will match up with Princeton in the first round of the NCAA tournament

MORGANTOWN — A puzzled look was the initial reaction of WVU women’s basketball coach Mark Kellogg.

The Mountaineers had just been announced as an at-large team Sunday into the 2024 NCAA tournament, but as a No. 8 seed in the Iowa City, Iowa region.

That was a lower seed than most projections had the Mountaineers leading up to the bracket’s release.

“You never know,” Kellogg said. “Everybody that would ask what seed I thought we would be, it was kind of five to eight. I was really thinking more of the six or seven range. It’s certainly a little bit lower than what the expectation was, based on our resumé and what we had done.”


The Mountaineers (24-7) will travel to Iowa and play No. 9 seed Princeton (25-4) in the first round. The date and time of the game was not released by press time.

The winner will advance to likely play Iowa, a No. 1 seed and the region’s host. Iowa is led by guard Caitlyn Clark, who is the nation’s leading scorer this season and she’s also college basketball’s all-time leading scorer with 3,771 points.

With the announcement, Kellogg’s terrific first-year story with the Mountaineers is nearly complete.

Since taking over the program last April, Kellogg and his full-court pressing defense had already checked off a lot of boxes, including having WVU in contention for a Big 12 regular-season championship late in the season and getting the Mountaineers back into the national polls.

WVU enters the NCAA tournament second in the nation with 430 steals and third in turnovers forced (23.97 per game).

That’s what Kellogg’s pressing style accomplished in his first season, along with holding opponents to just 57.8 points per game.

Along the way, WVU also knocked off two AP Top 25 opponents in Penn State and Oklahoma and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament, before falling 65-62 against No. 16 Kansas State.

The Mountaineers had a 3-point attempt rattle out at the buzzer that could have sent that game into overtime.

WVU’s seed is puzzling, especially considering the Mountaineers are ranked No. 21 in the NCAA’s NET rankings, which would project out to a No. 6 seed. Princeton is ranked No. 34 in the NET.

“We looked at ESPN’s Bracketology and other metrics, the NET rankings. It was all over the place,” Kellogg continued. “At one point, we went back and looked at last year’s bracketology to the actual bracket. You just never truly know.

“Never did I see us projected to play Princeton. Very rarely did it have us going to Iowa City. You just don’t know, and you just kind of wait with anticipation.”

WVU is making its second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2016-17, while Princeton is making its third straight trip to the national tournament.

It will be Kellogg’s third NCAA tourney, after guiding Stephen F. Austin to the 2021 and 2022 tournaments. He has yet to advance out of the first round in the Division I tournament.

“We’re in, which means you’re going to good teams and quality competition,” Kellogg said. “I don’t know a ton about Princeton. I’ve never played them in my tenure wherever I’ve been. I know they have a fantastic program.”