When: Saturday, March 27th, approximately 7 p.m. Eastern
Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse NY.
West Virginia University (Last Ten Games)
2/22 - at Connecticut - L 73-62
2/27 - vs Seton Hall - W 75-63
3/1 - vs Georgetown - W 81-68
3/6 - at Villanova - W 68-66
3/11 - vs Cincinnati - W 54-51
3/12 - vs Notre Dame - W 53-51
3/13 - vs Georgetown - W 60-58
3/19 - vs Morgan St - W 77-50
3/21 - vs Missouri - W 68-59
3/25 - vs Washington - W 69-56
3/27 - vs Kentucky - CBS - NCAA Fourth Round 7 P.M. Eastern
West Virginia University Statistical Leaders
Da'Sean Butler - 17.4 points per game
Devin Ebanks - 8.3 rebounds per game
Da'Sean Butler - 3.2 assists per game
Kevin Jones - 40.0 three-point percentage
Wellington Smith - 1.0 blocks per game
Devin Ebanks - 1.1 steals per game
West Virginia University Team Statistics
Points Per Game: 72.8
Points Allowed Per Game: 63.1
Field Goal Percentage: 43.2
Three Point Percentage: 33.3
Free Threw Percentage: 70.4
Rebound Margin: +7.2
Assists Per Game: 15.7
Turnovers Per Game: 11.9
West Virginia Breakdown
Bob Huggins's Mountaineer team is one build on defense and athleticism. The team is topped off by one of the best players in the Big East, Da'Sean Butler. While the frontline is undersized (biggest player is forward, Kevin Jones), they are athletic and versatile.
With the injury to Darryl Bryant, West Virginia is down to only six players who average double digit minutes. Their backcourt is down to one healthy point guard and this will force a lot of the ball-handling duties onto Joe Mazzulla, Devin Ebanks and Da'Sean Butler. A key for West Virginia offensively is taking care of the ball against the stingy defense of Kentucky. Unforced, live ball turnovers can significantly impact West Virginia in this game.
Defensively, the Mountaineers will have to play strong defense and avoid getting their team into foul trouble, considering their lack of depth. Kentucky has had moments where they have struggled against a zone defense and West Virginia plays a 1-3-1 zone at times, aggressively shooting the passing gaps. They will also have to use their quickness to get back and block Kentucky off the offensive boards to hold UK back on second chance points.
Kentucky will have to be patient and avoid taking the first available shot when attacking the West Virginia zone. The Wildcats will also have to be aware of the overall length of the Mountaineer defense. If Kentucky can penetrate the zone and find open shooters in the corner and cutters to the basket consistently, they'll pull West Virginia out of the zone and back to man-to-man.
The Wildcats will also have to play stick defense on Da'Sean Butler, who is capable of putting his team on his back and carrying them to victory. The Cats will need to put defensive pressure on the ball handlers and force turnovers to be successful defensively. Patterson or Cousins will have to be prepared to defend out on the floor as West Virginia's forwards are mobile and capable of facing up and shooting the ball. If Kentucky can hold West Virginia to one shot and force turnovers, the Wildcats should control the game.