West Virginia will face the Buffalo Bulls, who are also 23-9 and won the MAC with an 89-84 win over Central Michigan on Saturday night to claim the league title. Buffalo was 12-6 in the regular season, and is coached by former Duke guard Bobby Hurley, who won two national titles while playing for the Blue Devils. The Bulls have a quite good 33 RPI, and play at a very quick pace that should promise a frenetic matchup if the Mountaineers are healthy enough to unleash their full-court press to full effect.
The Bulls are led by forward Justin Moss (17,7 ppg) and guard Shannon Evans (15.4). They protect the ball well given their pace of play, having suffered 361 turnovers in 32 games this year.
The Mountaineers, who currently stand at 23-9, stumbled a bit down the stretch, losing three of their last four games, including an opening round Big 12 Championship setback to Baylor. However, the Mountaineers were clearly affected by injuries, something that the Selection Committee does take into account. The Mountaineers were without starting guards Juwan Staten and Gary Browne, and also had limited availability from Brandon Watkins, who has a knee injury and will have surgery after the season.
How much that came into play in the decision-making of the Committee is in question, but what is not is that West Virginia's tough schedule and performance in the rugged Big 12 helped it in the eyes of the selectors. Despite views from some pundits that West Virginia deserved no better than a six seed, WVU not only held the solid number five but also nailed down a spot close to home. The location will allow the Mountaineers to avoid the need to fly, as Columbus is within acceptable driving distance of West Virginia's campus.
WVU didn't have to wait long to see its seeding and location, as the Mountaineers came up in the first bracket announced on the Selection Show. The Mountaineers are in the same bracket as the top seed, Kentucky.
there will be more to come soon from BlueGoldNews.com, including reactions from head coach Bob Huggins, along with Staten and Browne, who both expect to play in the Friday contest.