After being bounced from the NCAA Tournament last year in their first game against Gonzaga, Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers of West Virginia will be looking to make it further this year against Buffalo. The Mountaineers hold a clear advantage when you look at program history. Buffalo is making their first appearance in the tournament in program history while this is the 26th time that West Virginia has attended. It will not be easy for Bob Huggins though, the No. 12 seeded Buffalo enters as one of the hottest teams in the tournament and has a dynamic duo that will threaten the No. 5 seed.
The two teams will face off in the second round on Friday, March 20th in Columbus, Ohio. Tickets for the 2:10 tipoff at the Nationwide Arena are averaging $184.06 with a get-in price of $99. West Virginia fans can book their trip to Columbus through Hipmunk.com. Aside from being your main source for flights to Columbus, Hipmunk helps with hotels in Columbus as well. Hipmunk has hotel prices from $99 that will have you walking distance from the arena.
Many are picking Buffalo to upset West Virginia in the second round thanks to the duo of Justin Moss and Shannon Evans. The big-man moss is averaging 17.7 points per game and 9.2 rebounds and almost always requires a double team. Bob Huggins will have to figure out a way for his team to shut down this dominant post player. The sophomore guard Evans also is a scoring threat, as he averages 15.4 points per game. Shutting down the dynamic offense of this MAC team will be a tough task. However, West Virginia has played great defense all season long and averages the most steals per game in the country. Their stifling defense has forced many opponents into making errors. Offensively for the Mountaineers, Juwan Staten is the engine that makes them go. His 14.5 points per game and 4.6 assist per game are team leading. Huggins’ team is not well known for their offensive prowess so Staten is going to have to perform at a high level all tournaments long if they want to move on.
If West Virginia can advance to the next round they will take on the winner of the No. 4 seeded Maryland versus No. 13 Valparaiso.