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Previewing WVU’s Potential Path in Phil Knight Legacy Bracket

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Photo: Kelsie LeRose / WVSN

Starting on Thursday night, West Virginia will begin their journey through the Phil Knight Legacy bracket. The Mountaineers are guaranteed to play No. 24 Purdue in the first round. After that, there are six other programs WVU could match up within the tournament. Let’s take a look at the rest of the field.

First Round:

No. 24 Purdue (3-0)

Purdue is coming off a Sweet-16 appearance in last season’s NCAA Tournament. The Boilermakers return big man Zach Edey, who stands in at 7-foot-4. Edey is averaging 20.7 points and 13.7 rebounds and will give West Virginia’s frontcourt many headaches on Thursday.

Second Round:

No. 6 Gonzaga (3-1)

Gonzaga enters the PK85 hungry after being routed by Texas last week. The Zags did bounce back and defeat a top-5 Kentucky team by 16. Gonzaga is highlighted by F Drew Timme and guards Julian Strawther and Rasir Bolton.

Portland State (2-2)

Portland State comes from the Big Sky Conference, entering year two under head coach Jase Coburn. PSU defeated Oregon State 79-66 on the road last Saturday.

Third Round:

No. 8 Duke (4-1)

Duke is entering a new era without Mike Krzyzewski as former Blue Devil Jon Scheyer serves as the new head coach. Scheyer has got his Blue Devils at a 4-1 start with their one loss being to Kansas. Scheyer brought in the No. 1 2022 recruiting class, highlighted by Dariq Whitehead, Kyle Filipowski and Dereck Lively.

Florida (3-1)

During the offseason, Florida hired former San Francisco coach Todd Golden to replace Mike White. Golden recruited the transfer portal well bringing in Will Richard (Belmont), Kyle Lofton (St. Bonaventure) and Adam Fudge (LSU). Pair that around with returning two-time All-SEC recipient Colin Castleton and you have a solid core. The Gators were upset last week by Florida Atlantic.

Xavier (3-1)

Like Florida, Xavier got rid of their former head coach Travis Steele. The Musketeers hired a familiar face in Sean Miller, who coached at Xavier from 2004-09. Xavier is led by senior bigs Zach Freemantle and Jack Nunge.

Oregon State (3-1)

OSU head coach Wayne Tinkle enters his ninth season as head coach for the Beavers. Tinkle looks to return his program to the heights of their Elite-8 run back in 2021. Last season Oregon State only won three games all year. The Beavers have matched that win total already but have a bad loss to Portland State at home.

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