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Huggins ‘Pleased’ With WVU’s Seeding, First-Round Opponent in NCAA Tournament



(Denny Medley/Big 12)

After West Virginia lost three of its last four games to finish the regular season, including a loss to Oklahoma State in the first round of the Big 12 tournament, WVU coach Bob Huggins said he was “pleased” with the Mountaineers’ being selected as a No. 3 seed for the upcoming NCAA tournament.

“Pleased with the seed where we are and I’m getting ready to go home and watch four or five Morehead games,” Huggins said Sunday evening.

WVU is 18-9 this season, 11-6 in the Big 12. All nine of WVU’s losses were to teams that were selected to the national tournament; Gonzaga, Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Florida.

“I think the fact that we struggled a bit down the stretch and lost nine games and are still a three seed bodes well for who we played,” Huggins said. “I think we played as good a schedule as virtually anybody has. I think we played a very competitive schedule, a very well-rounded schedule.”

WVU’s will play No. 14 seed Morehead State in the first round of the tournament Friday. Possible opponents for WVU in the second round are No. 6 San Diego State (23-4) and No. 11 Syracuse (16-9) in the Midwest Region of the Bracket. Huggins was quick to say that his teams should not overlook the Eagles, who are 23-7 this season, 17-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference. They won the OVC championship over top-seeded Belmont on Saturday and have won 19 of their last 20 games.

“Everybody in there can beat you, as has been seen in recent years,” Huggins said. “Everybody can lose. I don’t think anybody, including Baylor and Gonzaga, can’t be beat.”

Only one current Mountaineer, senior forward Gabe Osabuohien, has ever played in the NCAA tournament before. Osabuohien played in the 2018 tournament as a member of the Arkansas Razorbacks.

“I think these guys will be ready to go, I think they’ll be chomping at the bit to play in the NCAA tournament,” Huggins said. “We don’t have a lot of guys who have played in the NCAA tournament.”

Huggins also said that First Team All-Big 12 forward Derek Culver has recovered from the illness that limited him against Oklahoma State on Thursday.

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