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How Does West Virginia Match Up with Maryland and Alabama?



Photo: Kelsie LeRose / WVSN

West Virginia returns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in two seasons, earning a 9-seed in the south region. The Mountaineers will head down to Birmingham, Al. to play 8-seed Maryland with the winner most likely playing the No. 1 overall seed Alabama.

How does WVU match up with Maryland and Alabama?


Maryland and West Virginia show a lot of similarities in their regular season resumes this year. Both were in tough conferences for different reasons: half of the Big 12 was stacked and the Big Ten showed a lot of depth in solid teams. The Terrapins have won two true road games all season, defeating Louisville and Minnesota. WVU has three true road wins over Pitt, Texas Tech and Iowa State.

UMD is led by transfer guard Jahmir Young, who averages 16.1 points on 42 percent shooting. Young’s 6-foot-2 build makes him a quick guard that can cut right to the rim. West Virginia has struggled to guard the paint this season. Maryland’s build is Houston-like with tall guards and small bigs. WVU should play small for the majority of the game.

Maryland has a top-30 defense in the country behind first-year head coach Kevin Willard, who was at Seton Hall for 12 seasons. The Terrapins have an inconsistent offense but only turn it over 10.5 times a game. West Virginia can’t afford to turn it over 15-20 times against Maryland.

Maryland plays various types of defenses. The Terrapins will switch zones and may bring pressure with Young. West Virginia will have to get creative offensively if Maryland switches their defense around.

West Virginia and Maryland will tipoff at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday in Birmingham, Al to begin the 2023 NCAA Tournament on CBS.


Alabama earned the No. 1 overall seed after taking care of business and winning the SEC Tournament title. The Crimson Tide have been involved in the biggest controversy of the college basketball season, involving former player Darius Miles and top-5 draft pick Brandon Miller.

On the court, Miller has been undoubtedly one of the best players in the country. Miller averages 19.6 points and 8.6 rebounds through 34 games. Miller, along with Mark Sears, Noah Clowney and Jahvon Quinerly, have led the Crimson Tide as the seventh-highest scoring team in the country. Alabama averages 82.2 points with offensive-minded head coach Nate Oats.

Once again, if West Virginia advances to play Alabama, the Mountaineers will need to play small ball to keep up with the Crimson Tide. WVU has done a fine job at securing offensive rebounds and second-chance opportunities. Unfortunately for WVU, Alabama is first in the country in rebounding and defensive rebounding.

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