MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – There is one more state neighboring West Virginia that we have not covered in this series.
We complete the circle by taking a look at Kentucky.
Once again, only the success of the WVU football, men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball teams will be considered. Also, there are only eight Division-I programs in the Bluegrass State, so there will only be eight schools to measure WVU against.
March 27, 2010. The Carrier Dome. The Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament. A scrappy, hard-nosed West Virginia squad faces the top-seeded team in the East Region, the Kentucky Wildcats, who boast seven future NBA players in the rotation. WVU leads by two points at the intermission and extends the lead to as many as 16 in the second half. Cue Country Roads, West Virginia is headed to the Final Four. Joe Mazzulla scored 17 points that day, securing his place in West Virginia sports lore.
Five years earlier, another WVU hoops star helped knock off the Wildcats. This time, it was Meg Bulger. The Pittsburgh native finished with a 31-point, 11-rebound double-double, as she and the Mountaineers defeated Kentucky in double-overtime.
Overall Record: 16-41
Speaking of upsets, here is another. Mike Carey’s 2012 women’s basketball team met the Cardinals for the final time as Big East foes. WVU knocked off No. 14 Louisville inside the Coliseum.
The Mountaineers and Cardinals certainly had a flare for the dramatic on the gridiron, as well. WVU owns a 10-3 record in the series against Louisville, but those wins did not come easy. The Pat White Era got underway when he led a monumental, triple-overtime comeback victory against the Cards in 2005. Two years later, White led WVU to victory over Louisville once again, this time on a game-winning touchdown run with under two minutes remaining.
Overall Record: 27-30
Eastern Kentucky is the only remaining Division-I program in the Bluegrass State that West Virginia has battled in football. That lone meeting came in 2020 and ended with a WVU win.
All four WVU teams being looked at have a winning record against the Colonels. Bob Huggins’ squad defeated them at home this past season, and the WVU women racked up two victories over the Colonels in the 2018-19 season.
Overall Record: 17-6
Randy Mazey’s baseball team topped the Hilltoppers in Bowling Green to the tune of a three-game sweep in 2018.
The Mountaineer men’s basketball program is just 3-2 against WKU, but these two schools have never squared off in Morgantown. The WVU women picked up upset wins over ranked Hilltoppers teams in back-to-back seasons in the late 80s.
Overall Record: 8-8
Huggins’ group moved to 4-0 all-time against the Eagles with a victory over Morehead State in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
The women’s basketball team is also undefeated against the Eagles. Meanwhile, the WVU baseball team is 7-0 at home against Morehead State, though the series has been more difficult for the Mountaineers away from Morgantown.
Overall Record: 20-6
Northern Kentucky is the first of the remaining three programs on this list to only face one West Virginia program. That program is the men’s basketball team.
The WVU men have defeated the Norse three times in three tries, with the last matchup coming in December 2016.
Overall Record: 3-0
The Racers and Mountaineers have met just once on the hardwood, but plenty was at stake.
It was the Round of 64 of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. WVU was the higher seed in the always dangerous 5-vs-12 game. However, the Mountaineers didn’t allow the Racers to build any momentum that could’ve led to an upset. West Virginia led by nine at halftime and went on to win by 17.
Overall Record: 1-0
Much less was at stake when Bellarmine visited the Coliseum this past season.
West Virginia struggled in the first half but then went on to collect a 19-point victory to move to 6-1 on the season.
Overall Record: 1-0
WVU vs. these Kentucky-based programs: 93-91