West Virginia (#6, Midwest, Minneapolis Pod)
vs. Dayton (#11)
Fri. 3/20 @ 3:00 PM
Vegas Line: West Virginia, -8.5
Location: Morgantown, West Virginia
Conference: Big East, at large
Coach: Bob Huggins, 47-21
08-09 Record: 24-11, 10-8
Last 12 Games: 8-4
Best Win: 74-60, Pittsburgh, 3/12/2009
Worst Loss: 65-61, Cincinnati, 2/26/2009
Off. Efficiency Rating: 115.3, 15th
Def. Efficiency Rating: 88.0, 7th
Nuts ‘n Bolts
Star Players: Da’Sean Butler – 17.3 ppg/6.0 rpg; Alex Ruoff – 15.9 ppg
Unsung Hero: Devin Ebanks – 10.4 ppg/7.7 rpg
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): Devin Ebanks – 8th overall in 2010; Da’Sean Butler – 41st overall in 2010
Key Injuries: Joe Mazzulla – out for season (shoulder)
Depth: 25.5% (289 nationally); percentage of minutes played by reserves
Achilles Heel: Inconsistency. WVU is the most inconsistent at-large team in the tourney, and 325th out of 344 in NCAA Division I. Since the start of conference play, their longest win streak is three games.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Freshman Devin Ebanks continues to post personal bests in points and rebounds like he did in the Big East tournament.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: The Mountaineers keep up this hot-then-cold phenomenon that plagued them during the season.
Last Year Invited: 2008, Sweet 16
Streak: This is WVU’s 3rd straight trip.
Best NCAA Finish: 1959 Final Four
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): Not enough data (requires 8 bids in the period).
Six Degrees to Detroit: Before hiring current head coach Bob Huggins, the WVU basketball team was under the charge of John Beilein. Beilein now coaches at Michigan, and his star player, Manny Harris, is a Detroit native.
Distance to First Round Site: 936 miles.
School’s Claim to Fame: The man on the NBA logo, Jerry West, is WVU’s greatest basketball alum, holding the school records for points and rebounds.
School Wishes It Could Forget: When football coach Rich Rodriguez left Morgantown for the University of Michigan, many Mountaineer fans were not pleased. Rodriguez and his family were the target of hate mail, vandalism, and death threats from fans angered by his departure.
Prediction: On paper, West Virginia looks like a team that can beat Kansas and Michigan State to make it to the Midwest Regional Final. However, the wild inconsistency that characterized the regular season will show up in the tournament. WVU loses in the Sweet 16, just like 2008.
Major RTC stories: Where 2008-09 Happens: Reason #20 Why We Love College Basketball and Huggins Takes the Fall
Preview written by Matt the Intern of Rush the Court