#46 West Virginia Men's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

West Virginia Mountaineers
2019-2020 Overall Rank: #46
Conference Rank: #6 Big 12
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The 2018-19 season could not have gone much worse for West Virginia. The Mountaineers were ranked 13th to start the season but lost their first game to Buffalo and only went downhill from there. It was an injury and suspension plagued year that resulted in the lowest win total since 2012-13. This year, Bob Huggins and West Virginia will hope for better results with a younger, new-look roster.
2018-19 Record: 15-21, 4-14
2018-19 Postseason: CBI
Coach: Bob Huggins
Coach Record: 270-151 at West Virginia, 859-363 overall
Key Departed Players:
Sagaba Konate, Forward, 13.6 ppg

James Bolden, Guard, 12.2 ppg
Esa Ahmad, Forward, 12.0 ppg
Lamont West, Forward, 11.1 ppg
Wesley Harris, Forward, 7.9 ppg
Andrew Gordon, Forward, 2.3 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Derek Culver, Sophomore, Forward, 11.5 ppg
Jermaine Haley, Senior, Guard, 7.1 ppg
Jordan McCabe, Sophomore, Guard, 5.8 ppg

Chase Harler, Senior, Guard, 5.4 ppg
Emmitt Matthews, Sophomore, Forward, 5.4 ppg
Brandon Knapper, Sophomore, Guard, 5.0 ppg
Logan Routt, Senior, Forward, 2.3 ppg
Key New Players:
Jalen Bridges, Freshman, Forward
Miles McBride, Freshman, Guard
Sean McNeil, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from Junior College
Taz Sherman, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Junior College
Oscar Tshiebwe, Freshman, Center
West Virginia loses four of their top five scorers from last year, but many of those players were suspended or injured throughout the season. Derek Culver is the top returning scorer after a strong freshman campaign. Culver was a member of the All-Big 12 Second Team and All-Freshman Team. He started just 14 of his 26 games and averaged 11.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists. Culver has a good chance to become a first team all-conference player this year. Jermaine Haley returns after starting 24 games in his first year with the Mountaineers. Haley started 24 games and averaged 9.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.1 steals in those 24 starts. Jordan McCabe, Chase Harler, Emmitt Matthews and Brandon Knapper are all back this season. All four players started multiple games last year and played bigger roles as the season went along and players ahead of them missed time. As sophomores, McCabe, Matthews and Knapper especially should see increased usage this season. Logan Routt also returns to provide frontcourt depth behind Culver. Two junior college transfers will join the Mountaineers this year. Taz Sherman is a combo guard who filled up the stat sheet in JuCo, averaging 25.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and shot 39% from three. Sam McNeil also put up big numbers at the junior college level, averaging 29.7 points and shooting 43% from three. The NCAA is obviously a different level of competition, but both players provide potential high-scoring ability for a West Virginia team that was lacking in that department last season. Three freshmen also join the roster, headlined by top-35 prospect Oscar Tshiebwe. Tshiebwe is the highest ranked recruit ever for West Virginia and just the second McDonald’s All-American in school history. Also joining the team is four-star, top-100 prospect Jalen Bridges and three-star prospect Miles McBride. After last season, almost anything would seem like an upgrade for West Virginia in 2019-20. However, Bob Huggins once again has a talented roster that should not only improve but contend for an NCAA Tournament bid.     
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.8 (134th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 77.4 (311, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.3 (315, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.8 (291, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.5 (202, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.6 (310, 10)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.8 (244, 7)
Rebound Margin: 4.6 (37, 2)
Assists Per Game: 13.6 (162, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.5 (328, 10)

Madness 2019 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#32 Oscar Tshiebwe