The Sweet 16 game will be the 37th of the season for West Virginia, the most in school history. WVU played 36 games last year, when it won the NIT with a 27-9 record. The Mountaineers have won 20-plus games for four consecutive years. The school record is seven straight years (1981-87).
The two teams are meeting for just the second time. WVU won the first match-up 82-65 on Dec. 28. 1979 in the Mountaineer Classic at the Coliseum. Greg Nance led West Virginia with 23 points while Lowes Moore had 21. Xavier head coach Sean Miller has never faced West Virginia s a coach, but was 2-2 as a player at Pitt.
West Virginia has won 10 consecutive games over Atlantic-10 teams, and can extend head coach Bob Huggins' record for most wins for a first-year coach in school history. The Mountaineers are 295-168 against members of the A-10.
West Virginia has won 25 of its last 27 non-conference games and 30 of its last 33 non-Big East games. It is 12-2 in its last 14 postseason contests. With a win, the Mountaineers will have 100 victories since the start of the 2004-05 season, an average of 25 per year.
Joe Alexander has scored in double figures in 14 straight games. Alex Ruoff's 98 three-pointers rank third on the single-season school list behind Chris Leonard's 101 in 1991-92 and Frank Young's record 117 of last season. Darris Nichols will set the WVU career mark for NCAA games played against Xavier. It will be his 10th appearance, bettering the nine games played by Jerry West and Willie Akers from 1958-60.
West Virginia is 11-0 when shooting 50 percent or better and 24-0 when outshooting foes.
Xavier is making its third Sweet 16 appearance (2004 and 1990). XU advanced to the Elite Eight in '04. It is in the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in eight years. Its seniors have been in the tournament for three seasons. The third seed equals its highest ever (2003). It is the school's ninth at-large bid.
The Musketeers have won the most games in school history. They have won 20 games for a third straight season and the 11th time in 12 years.
Five Xavier players average double figures, and the team is 22-0 when four or more reach double digit scoring in a game.
Xavier has played 16 teams in the NCAA or NIT fields. It is 15-5. It is 8-4 against 10 NCAA Tournament teams. West Virginia is 6-7 versus NCAA teams prior to Tournament play. The record jumps to 8-7 with the wins over Arizona and Duke.