The Mountaineers are taking on the Dayton Flyers in Minneapolis on Friday, Mar 20, and are anxious to travel and face the Atlantic 10 team.
"(The Big East) has three number one seeds," said freshman Darryl Bryant. "That's pretty big. I just can't wait to play. I'm going to get some advice from the older guys that have been in this position before. I'm just going to keep playing my game."
Some Mountaineer fans are disappointed in the location for the game, which is about a 15 hour drive from Morgantown. After hoping for a close location like last years' games in Washington, D.C., WVU fans will have to putting some miles under their belts to go to Minnesota. However, the team knows that it will have support no matter where it travels.
"This may be a little bit harder for our fans," admitted senior Alex Ruoff. "I'm not too worried about that. Our fans do such a great job of following us wherever we go. We went out to Arizona last year and still had a great fan base. I'm not too worried about the location."
The Mountaineers will spend the next few days preparing for Dayton , which finished the season with a 26-7. West Virginia is unfamiliar with the Flyers, but that will change quickly, as tapes of their games have already been pulled and broken down. The Mountaineers and the Flyers have had five mutual opponents this season. Both teams have faced Miami, Oh., Delaware State, Marshall, Marquette, and Duquesne. Each team suffered one loss of the five games. Dayton fell to Duquesne and the Mountaineers lost to Marquette.
"I've seen Dayton a couple of times on film, "said head coach Bob Huggins. "They've played a couple of teams that we've played. I haven't paid attention to them because I'm watching the other team. I've known (head coach) Brian Gregory for a long time and I think they're good. They play really hard. The first time I saw them was when they beat Marquette and I was surprised at how hard they play."
Ruoff admits that although he isn't looking past playing the Flyers, he has been checking out the rest of the bracket. If West Virginia defeats Dayton, it would likely face third-seeded Kansas on Sunday.
"It's hard not to look below you at who we have next," admitted Ruoff. "You don't want to overlook the first game. One loss and it's over. It's not like we're going to be looking ahead but you can't help but do it initially."
Bryant is one player who has ties to the Flyers. The freshman played against the Flyers' sophomore guard Chris Wright in Nike Hoop Jamboree when the two were in middle school. That continues a run of familiar faces for Bryant, who squared off against fellow New Yorker Levance Fields three times this season.
"It will be good to see him," said Bryant. "It will be good to compete against him."
WVU's game will begin 30 minutes following the conclusion of the Kansas – North Dakota State game, which begins at 12:30 Eastern (11:30 AM Central). Barring overtime or other delay, that should put West Virginia's tip at about 3:00 PM Eastern/2:00 PM Central.