The Mountaineers, 27-7 on the season, were tabbed as the third seed in the East Region. They will play in a pod in Brooklyn, along with Notre Dame and either Michigan or Tulsa, who will meet in one of the First Four games in Dayton, Oh., for the right to advance to New York.
The champions of the Southland Conference, Stephen F. Austin is the #14 seed in the East region. The Lumberjacks were 27-5 on the season, including a perfect 14-0 at home. They lost to Baylor 97-55 in their season opener in November, and also dropped games to Northern Iowa, Tulane, Arizona State and UAB. They finished their season undefeated in the league and on a 20-game winning streak, romping to the conference title with easy wins in the league tournament in Katy, Tex. Coached by Brad Underwood, who played and also coached at Kansas State, the Lumberjacks knocked VCU out of the 2014 NCAA tournament.
West Virginia had set winning the Big 12 championship as its goal, and was clearly disappointed in coming up a few buckets short against Kansas. The players and coaching staff remained on the court to watch the Jawhawks receive the trophy, a move orchestrated by head coach Bob Huggins to provide motivation, as well as show respect for the Jawhawks.
"We did that so we could see what they had, to see where we want to be," Jaysean Paige explained. Paige was one of the most locked-in players in terms of championship focus during the week, but he, along with his teammates, appeared ready to get back to work once they learned their first round foe.
West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins often describes the NCAAs as a trio of two-game tournaments, which gives a hint as to the way the coaching staff approaches the weekend. WVU will begin with preparations for the Lumberjacks, but will also be organizing their video and scouting reports for Notre Dame, Michigan and Tulsa. Assistants will watch the games involving those two teams, in order to be prepared for the potential second round match-up on Sunday.