The West Virginia Mountaineers (26-8) are the No. 4 seed in the West Region, and will take on the No. 13 seed Bucknell (26-8). The game will be played at KeyBank Center in Buffalo on Thursday, March 16.
Preview: West Virginia landed the No. 4 seed with big wins over Baylor, Kansas, Virginia, and two wins over Iowa State. The Mountaineers did have a few spotty losses to teams like Oklahoma, Temple, and Texas Tech. They are led by junior guard Jevon Carter, who averages 13.9 points per game.
— WVU Men's Basketball (@WVUhoops) March 12, 2017
Bucknell reached the tournament by defeating Lehigh in the Patriot League Tournament. The Bison are led by junior forward Zach Thomas, who averages 16 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
Date: Thursday, March 16
Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Location: KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y.
Announcers: Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce
Opening Betting Line: West Virginia -13.5 via OddsShark
This will be the third match-up between West Virginia and Bucknell. The Mountaineers are 2-0 in the series, with the last game being played in 1977, a 112-71 WVU win.
West Virginia is appearing in its third straight NCAA Tournament. Last year, as a No. 3 seed, the Mountaineers were upset in the first round by No. 14 Stephen F. Austin. This is WVU's 27th NCAA Tournament appearance. The program has advanced to nine Sweet 16s, three Elite Eights, and two Final Fours.
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Bucknell is appearing in its seventh NCAA Tournament, with the last bid coming in 2013. That year, the Bison earned a No. 11 seed, falling to No. 6 Butler 68-56 in the first round. Bucknell's most notable NCAA Tournament appearance came in 2005, when it upset No. 3 Kansas in the first round.
Prediction: Combine West Virginia's recent NCAA Tournament flame-out and Bucknell's one-time Cinderella status, and this might be one of the more popular No. 4-No. 13 upset picks. The Bison finished with an RPI of 63, and had some nice wins this year, including an upset of Vanderbilt and defeats of Lehigh and Richmond. However, we're not buying the Mountaineers, one of the best teams in the Big 12, to fall this early again.
West Virginia will beat Bucknell and advance to face the winner of Notre Dame-Princeton.
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