West Virginia Men's Basketball 2020 NCAA Tournament Capsule


West Virginia Mountaineers

Big 12 (21-10, 9-9)

West Virginia missed the NCAA Tournament in 2019 after four consecutive years of hearing their name called on Selection Sunday. From 2015-18, the Mountaineers were at least a 5-seed all four years and reached the Sweet Sixteen in every tournament except 2016. Though they don’t play with the same “Press Virginia” style from those years, they are back to winning games with an elite defense. On the other end of the floor, while many teams have shifted to being position-less and playing small ball, the Mountaineers run their offense through two dominant big men in Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver.
Big Wins: 11/27 vs Wichita State (75-63), 12/29 vs Ohio State (67-59), 3/7 Baylor (76-64)
Bad Losses: 12/7 at St. John’s (68-70), 1/18 at Kansas State (68-84), 2/22 at TCU (60-67)
Coach: Bob Huggins
Why They Can Surprise:
West Virginia has always been a dangerous tournament opponent under Bob Huggins because of their chaotic, turnover-forcing defense. This year’s team isn’t quite to the level of the Jevon Carter-led Mountaineer squads, but they are still a nuisance to play offense against. Opponents shoot just 39.1% from the floor and turn the ball over 15.6 times per game against West Virginia this season. Offensively, the Mountaineers don’t shoot the ball well from the floor, but they rely on the offensive glass and free-throw line to earn points. West Virginia averages 15.2 offensive rebounds per game, a top-five mark in the nation while they attempt 23.9 free throws per game, which is top-20 in the country. The Mountaineers can play bully-ball on offense because of their size in the frontcourt. Derek Culver (6-10, 255 lbs.) and Oscar Tshiebwe (6-9, 258 lbs.) are nearly unstoppable around the rim and on the offensive boards.
Why They Can Disappoint:
While the Mountaineers do thrive playing physical on the offensive end, they still struggle to score efficiently. West Virginia themselves turn the ball over 14.4 times per game and shoot only 42.2% from the floor. Strong guard play is an important asset to have during the NCAA Tournament, and the Mountaineers have no real reliable presence in the backcourt. Gabe Osabuohien, a 6-7 forward, leads West Virginia in assists with 1.9 per game. Miles McBride is the likeliest of the group to take control in March, but he is only a freshman and has been inconsistent throughout the season. The Mountaineers do use a lot of players off the bench, but that can cause them to lack an offensive identity at times. If West Virginia faces an efficient offensive team that isn’t bothered by their defense and gets out to a big lead, it could be challenging for the Mountaineers to find the offense to come back.
Probable Starters:
Jordan McCabe, Sophomore, Guard, 3.1 ppg, 1.6 apg
Emmitt Matthews, Sophomore, Forward, 6.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Jermaine Haley, Senior, Forward, 8.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Derek Culver, Sophomore, Forward, 10.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg
Oscar Tshiebwe, Freshman, Center, 11.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg
Key Role Players:
Miles McBride, Freshman, Guard, 9.5 ppg, 1.8 apg
Chase Harler, Senior, Guard, 4.4 ppg
Gabe Osabuohien, Sophomore, Forward, 3.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Taz Sherman, Junior, Guard, 5.3 ppg
Sean McNeil, Sophomore, Guard, 5.5 ppg
Brandon Knapper, Sophomore, Guard, 2.6 ppg
Logan Routt, Senior, Center, 1.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.3 (204th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.4 (15, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.2 (254, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.1 (16, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.0 (339, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 28.6 (339, 10)
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.2 (333, 9)
Rebound Margin: 8.1 (5, 1)
Assists Per Game: 12.4 (238, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.4 (289, 10)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2019CBIFirst Round win over Grand Canyon
2019CBIQuarterfinal loss to Coastal Carolina
2018NCAARound of 64 win over Murray State
2018NCAARound of 32 win over Marshall
2018NCAARegional Semifinal loss to Villanova
2017NCAARound of 64 win over Bucknell
2017NCAARound of 32 win over Notre Dame
2017NCAARegional Semifinal loss to Gonzaga
2016NCAARound of 64 loss to Stephen F. Austin
2015NCAARound of 64 win over Buffalo
2015NCAARound of 32 win over Maryland
2015NCAARegional Semifinal loss to Kentucky
2014NITFirst Round loss to Georgetown
2012NCAARound of 64 loss to Gonzaga
2011NCAARound of 64 win over Clemson
2011NCAARound of 32 loss to Kentucky
2010NCAARound of 64 win over Morgan State
2010NCAARound of 32 win over Missouri
2010NCAARegional Semifinal win over Washington
2010NCAARegional final win over Kentucky
2010NCAANational Semifinal loss to Duke
2009NCAARound of 64 loss to Dayton
2008NCAARound of 64 win over Arizona
2008NCAARound of 32 win over Duke
2008NCAARegional Semifinal loss to Xavier
2007NITFirst Round win over Delaware State
2007NITSecond Round win over Massachusetts
2007NITQuarterfinal win over North Carolina State
2007NITSemifinal win over Mississippi State
2007NITFinal win over Clemson
*all team stats through 3/8