Marshall faces WVU in Mountain State showdown
SAN DIEGO (AP) — No. 5 seed West Virginia (25-10) vs. No. 13 seed Marshall (25-10)
Second Round, East Region, San Diego; Sunday; tip approximately 10 p.m. EDT.
COUNTRY ROADS: More than 2,000 miles from home, the Mountain State rivals will meet on the court for the first time since early in the 2015 season and for a spot in the Sweet 16. It’s been a contentious relationship as a series that was regularly played since 1977 came to an abrupt end. The Mountaineers no longer want to play Marshall anywhere but in Morgantown, while the Thundering Herd would like a series that’s more equitable. Marshall’s upset of Wichita State in the first round forced a renewal of the strained relationship.
NUMBER CRUNCHING: If Marshall is going to pull off a second straight upset, it has to hit 3s. The Thundering Herd average 10 made 3s per game and hit nine in the victory over Wichita State. Marshall doesn’t have the type of players to outlast West Virginia in a physical game, so the Herd must be good from the perimeter. Or as Marshall coach Dan D’Antoni said, “If we can get the ball moving it will give (us) angles and our 3-point shooters to get them off and now you get 2 we get 3, you get 2, we get 3, you get 2, we get 3, we win.”
SWEET SUCCESS: Since 2008, West Virginia has now advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament six times. In four of the previous five trips to the round of 32, the Mountaineers have advanced to the Sweet 16. The only time since 2008 that West Virginia lost in the round of 32 came in 2011 when it was ousted by Kentucky 71-63.
DON’T I KNOW YOU? If West Virginia coach Bob Huggins does a bit of a double-take when looking at the name Jarrod West, don’t be surprised. Twenty years ago when Huggins was at Cincinnati and the Bearcats a No. 2 seed in the NCAAs, they were knocked out in the second-round by 10th-seeded West Virginia. The kid hitting the winning shot? Jarrod West, the father of Marshall’s freshman guard by the same name. The younger West said he wasn’t a “diehard” Mountaineers fan growing up and said he was lightly recruited by his dad’s alma mater. “Maybe not as much as I think I should have been,” West said.