Date: Friday March 23, 2018
Tip-off: 7:27 p.m. ET
Venue: TD Garden in Boston.
Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG (Tony Caridi & Jay Jacobs)
TV stream: TBS (Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel and Allie LaForce)
Projected West Virginia Lineup
Daxter Miles Jr.
Projected Villanova Lineup
Why West Virginia Will Win
The Mountaineers and Villanova are meeting for the first time since 2011 for a spot in the Elite 8. The No.1-seeded Wildcats have one of the best offenses in the nation while No. 5 WVU has a fierce defense. For Villanova, the road to Boston was a smooth one. During the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats pummeled No. 16 Radford 87-61 before doing a number on No. 9 Alabama in the second round. The Mountaineers toppled Marshall 94-71 on Sunday to advance to the Sweet 16. Villanova is aware of the threat WVU poses for them. However, the Wildcats 3-point shot could cause problems for the Mountaineers. Against Alabama and Radford, Villanova connected for 31 total 3s. On the season, the Wildcats are shooting 40.2 percent from beyond the arc. Villanova ranks first in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 86.9 points per game. The Wildcats have six players who average double-figure scoring. For the Mountaineers, they must tame the 3-pointers and Jalen Brunson (19.1 points) and Mikal Bridges (18.0 points). If WVU wants to win, its defense is the key but the Mountaineers will need production from its bench like they have gotten the first two rounds. Last Sunday Lamont West came off the bench and scored 18 points. Production from West, Beetle Bolden and Teddy Allen will be very beneficial for the Mountaineers. Of course, WVU will need a big game from its seniors Jevon Carter (17.4 points) and Daxter Miles Jr. (12.8 points). Against Marshall, Carter poured in 28 points but the guard is known for his defense. He ranks 22nd in NCAA history with 326 steals. Villanova is 11-0 this year on a neutral court. The Wildcats have a 22-20 lead in the series.
West Virginia 68, Villanova 66
Cover Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS