West Virginia Men's Basketball 2017 NCAA Tournament Capsule


West Virginia Mountaineers

Big 12 (26-8, 12-6)

Following their upset loss to Stephen F. Austin in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament, West Virginia will look to make a much better run in the 2017 tournament. This WVU squad has certainly proved that they have the ability to beat anybody they run into in March. The Mountaineers have wins against Virginia, Baylor and Kansas.
Big Wins: 12/3 at Virginia (66-57), 1/10 Baylor (89-68), 1/24 Kansas (85-69)
Bad Losses: 11/25 vs Temple (77-81), 1/3 at Texas Tech (76-77), 1/18 Oklahoma (87-89)
Coach: Bob Huggins
Why They Can Surprise:
West Virginia forces a ton of turnovers and even experienced teams have a difficult time taking care of the ball. All five starters average at least one steal per game, led by point guard Jevon Carter’s 2.6 steals per game. That leads to quite a few easy buckets the other way. But the offense does not have to rely on easy buckets. Carter is a great leader on the floor and everybody on the team shares the ball extremely well. Nathan Adrian and Tarik Phillip also average at least 2.9 assists per game. Carter, Adrian and Phillip will do plenty of scoring, but Esa Ahmad has been the biggest scoring surprise this season. The 6-8 sophomore averages 11.2 points per game and is a superb athlete who can finish around the basket. 
Why They Can Disappoint:
It would be helpful though if Ahmad could be more consistent shooting the basketball and assertive when it comes to scoring. He will score some, but he can do more. If Ahmad is knocking down mid-range jumpers consistently and he is looking to lead this team, West Virginia is a very tough offense to contain. Coach Bob Huggins also has great depth to work with and will often go at least ten deep. However, the bench needs to be productive during the NCAA Tournament. West Virginia had depth last season too, but they were not able to spark the offense during the loss to Stephen F. Austin. The Mountaineers may not need an offensive spark from the bench in the first round in 2017, but they will if they want to make a run towards the Final Four.
Probable Starters:
Jevon Carter, Junior, Guard, 13.1 ppg, 3.9 apg, 4.9 rpg, 2.6 spg
Tarik Phillip, Senior, Guard, 9.4 ppg, 3.1 apg, 1.8 spg
Nathan Adrian, Senior, Forward, 9.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.9 apg
Esa Ahmad, Sophomore, Forward, 11.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Elijah Macon, Junior, Forward, 6.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Key Role Players:
Lamont West, Freshman, Forward, 5.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg
Daxter Miles Jr., Junior, Guard, 8.8 ppg, 1.5 apg
Sagaba Konate, Freshman, Forward, 4.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.5 bpg
James Bolden, Freshman, Guard, 3.8 ppg
Brandon Watkins, Senior, Forward, 4.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 83.8 (15th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.8 (53, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.3 (78, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.3 (95, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.5 (159, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.0 (137, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.7 (225, 7)
Rebound Margin: 2.6 (101, 6)
Assists Per Game: 17.1 (12, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (105, 3)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2016    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Stephen F. Austin
2015    NCAA Round of 64 win over Buffalo
2015    NCAA Round of 32 win over Maryland
2015    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Kentucky
2014    NIT      First Round loss to Georgetown
2012    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Gonzaga
2011    NCAA Round of 64 win over Clemson
2011    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Kentucky
2010    NCAA Round of 64 win over Morgan State
2010    NCAA Round of 32 win over Missouri
2010    NCAA Regional Semifinal win over Washington
2010    NCAA Regional final win over Kentucky
2010    NCAA National Semifinal loss to Duke
2009    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Dayton
2008    NCAA Round of 64 win over Arizona
2008    NCAA Round of 32 win over Duke
2008    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Xavier
2007    NIT      First Round win over Delaware State
2007    NIT      Second Round win over Massachusetts
2007    NIT      Quarterfinal win over North Carolina State
2007    NIT      Semifinal win over Mississippi State
2007    NIT      Final win over Clemson
*all team stats through 3/5