NCAA Tournament Bracket Reveals WVU's Road to Final Four - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

NCAA Tournament Bracket Reveals WVU's Road to Final Four

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Jevon Carter rises above a swarm of Iowa State defenders in the Big 12 championship. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle) Jevon Carter rises above a swarm of Iowa State defenders in the Big 12 championship. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)
MORGANTOWN -

The Mountaineers will travel to Buffalo as the No. 4 seed in the West Region to play No. 13 Bucknell on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Tipoff is set for approximately 2:45 p.m. on CBS. 

West Virginia will be trying to avoid last year’s postseason fate as the Mountaineers lost in the Big 12 championship game and then less than a week later in the NCAA first round.

Sunday night, WVU fell to Iowa State in the conference title game 80-74.

There are three main statistics that Huggins has pointed to following losses this season – rebounding, turnovers and free throws. Iowa State had 10 steals in the first half alone and the two teams wound up even in the turnover battle over the course of the game. The Cyclones outrebounded WVU 33 to 29 and the Mountaineers missed more than half of their 17 free throws.  

“We’ve just got to go back to being us,” Jevon Carter said. “Rebounding the ball, taking care of it and everything else will take care of itself.”

Since 2010, no matter the make-up of West Virginia’s roster, the Mountaineers have offered a familiar mantra: Do what we do.

The point of the phrase is that as a team, and as individuals, there are aspects of the sport in which they excel and other areas in which they are not so proficient. The next few days leading up to the start of the NCAA Tournament seem as good of a time as any to reiterate that point after Saturday’s results.

We had a bunch of guys that bought into doing what they do. We were like that for a while,” Huggins said. “Then it kinda creeps in to where guys who can't dribble want to dribble and guys who can't shoot want to shoot, and guys that ought to be playing off the ball and cutting and doing those things that they're really good at doing, getting their shoulders turned where they can score the ball. They just constantly want to do the things that they can't do.”

In an interview for The Bob Huggins Show, the head coach said that this year’s Big 12 tournament was playing out in an eerily similar fashion to the one a year ago. Face the 10-seed in the quarterfinal, play to the last possession in the semifinal and then get a team whose fan base treats the Sprint Center like a home arena in the championship game.

The wins and losses were the same, 26-8, even the final score wasn’t too far off from what it had been against Kansas, so now the Mountaineers enter the NCAA Tournament with the same record as they did in 2016.

They’ll have to hope this is where the similarities end as last year’s team drew a 3-seed only to fall in a first round upset at the hands of No. 14 Stephen F. Austin.

“We can’t dwell on this loss because we’ve got a game coming up,” Tarik Phillip said. “We’ve got to prepare to win. That’s the only thing. We lost in the first round last year. I felt like we dwelled on this loss last year, so we’ve got to just come out and play.”

Fellow senior Teyvon Myers used the same word, dwell, to describe how his team handled the Big 12 championship loss last season. It wasn’t just something mental that he witnessed, either. He could see it in the days between the game in Kansas City and the one in Brooklyn.

“If I’m not mistaken, I think we might have had three or four bad practices after we lost in the championship last year,” Myers said. “Last year, I wasn’t a senior, so I didn’t have no control over that, but it’s not going to happen this year. I got control over it, so I’m going to make sure we have some good practices and be ready to go.”

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