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The West Virginia Fans’ Guide to the College Basketball National Championship Game

West Virginia fans, fresh off an incredibly frustrating and disappointing basketball season, wonder who they should cheer for during tomorrow night’s Men’s Basketball National Championship game featuring the Virginia Cavaliers and the Texas Tech Red Raiders.  Let’s take a look at both teams and compare

The West Virginia Fans’ Guide to the College Basketball National Championship Game

West Virginia fans, fresh off an incredibly frustrating and disappointing basketball season, wonder who they should cheer for during tomorrow night’s Men’s Basketball National Championship game featuring the Virginia Cavaliers and the Texas Tech Red Raiders.  Let’s take a look at both teams and compare:

 

Virginia

Virginia (34-3) is West Virginia’s natural, historical adversary.  In 1861, as the United States was divided over slavery, leading to the Civil War, the western regions of Virginia split with the eastern portion politically and the two were never reconciled.    Virginia joined the Confederacy and W(B)est Virginia remained loyal to the Union and started the process of separation.

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In addition to the historical reasons to dislike Virginia, they also beat Auburn Saturday night on an extremely questionable call at the very end of the game.  Down 62-60 with 1.5 seconds left, the inbounds pass went to Virginia Junior Guard Kyle Guy.  Guy shot an off-balanced three point shot and was “fouled” by the Auburn defender.  Guy calmly hit the three foul shots, putting Virginia up 63-62 and the rest is history.  It was a very controversial ending for the Cavaliers and not at all the underdog story that fans with no stake in the game love.  They don’t “deserve” to be here, in other words.

Player # Class Pos Height Weight Hometown High School Summary
Kyle Guy 5 JR G 6-2 175 Indianapolis, IN Lawrence Central High School 15.2 Pts, 4.5 Reb, 2.1 Ast
De’Andre Hunter 12 SO G 6-7 225 Philadelphia, PA Friends’ Central School 14.9 Pts, 5.0 Reb, 2.0 Ast
Ty Jerome 11 JR G 6-5 195 New Rochelle, NY Iona Preparatory School 13.5 Pts, 4.2 Reb, 5.4 Ast
Mamadi Diakite 25 JR F 6-9 228 Conakry, Guinea Blue Ridge High School 7.4 Pts, 4.4 Reb, 0.3 Ast
Braxton Key 2 JR G 6-8 225 Charlotte, NC Oak Hill Academy 5.6 Pts, 5.1 Reb, 1.0 Ast
Kihei Clark 0 FR G 5-9 155 Woodland Hills, CA Taft Charter HS 4.6 Pts, 2.4 Reb, 2.5 Ast
Jay Huff 30 SO F 7-1 232 Durham, NC Voyager Academy 4.5 Pts, 2.2 Reb, 0.2 Ast
Jack Salt 33 SR C 6-10 250 Auckland, New Zealand Westlake HS 3.8 Pts, 3.8 Reb, 0.4 Ast
Kody Stattmann 23 FR G 6-7 187 Bentley Park, Australia 1.7 Pts, 0.6 Reb, 0.1 Ast
Marco Anthony 24 SO G 6-4 212 San Antonio, TX Oliver Wendell Holmes High School 1.2 Pts, 0.5 Reb, 0.5 Ast
Grant Kersey 1 FR G Charlottesville, VA 1.3 Pts, 0.2 Reb, 0.1 Ast
Austin Katstra 45 SO F 6-6 217 Charlottesville, VA Albemarle High School 0.9 Pts, 0.5 Reb, 0.3 Ast
Jayden Nixon 10 FR G 6-3 189 Charlottesville, VA Choate Rosemary Hall HS 0.6 Pts, 0.6 Reb, 0.1 Ast
Francesco Badocchi 1 FR F 6-7 205 Milan, Italy 0.5 Pts, 0.5 Reb, 0.0 Ast
Francisco Caffaro 22 FR C 7-0 233 El Trebo, Argentina NBA Global Academy

Texas Tech

Not only is Texas Tech (31-6) representing the Big 12 conference in the National Championship game, they are the team most like West Virginia in the country.  Their top player Jarrett Culver was a 3 star player out of high school and has gone on to become the Big 12 Player of the Year with hard work.  Like the Mountaineers, they don’t rely on the talents of big-time recruits; rather, they use excellent coaching and execution to win games.  Texas Tech plays tough, suffocating defense and has outstanding rebounding.  St. John’s transfer and Big 12 defensive team member Tariq Owens anchors the nation’s number 1 defense in the country, per kenpom.com.  Texas Tech was picked to finish 7th in the Big 12 this season and is now one of the four teams left in all of college basketball.  Major underdog story.

Texas Tech is 15-1 in their last 16 games.  Their last defeat was a 79-74 loss against West Virginia on March 14 in the Big 12 Tournament.  A win by the Red Raiders would be huge for the Big 12 Conference and give West Virginia’s young core the confidence that they can beat the best in the country.

Player # Class Pos Height Weight Hometown High School
Jarrett Culver 23 SO G 6-5 195 Lubbock, TX Coronado High School 18.6 Pts, 6.3 Reb, 3.7 Ast
Davide Moretti 25 SO G 6-2 175 Bologna, Italy Treviso Basket 11.4 Pts, 2.0 Reb, 2.2 Ast
Matt Mooney 13 SR G 6-3 200 Wauconda, IL Notre Dame 11.3 Pts, 3.2 Reb, 3.2 Ast
Tariq Owens 11 SR F 6-10 205 Odenton, MD St. Vincent Pallotti 8.8 Pts, 5.8 Reb, 0.8 Ast
Brandone Francis 1 SR G 6-5 215 La Romana, Dominican Republic Arlington Country Day 6.2 Pts, 2.3 Reb, 1.3 Ast
Kyler Edwards 0 FR G 6-3 200 Arlington, TX Findlay Prep 5.3 Pts, 2.2 Reb, 1.1 Ast
Deshawn Corprew 3 SO F 6-5 210 Norfolk, VA 5.1 Pts, 3.4 Reb, 0.4 Ast
Norense Odiase 32 SR C 6-8 250 Fort Worth, TX North Crowley 4.1 Pts, 5.3 Reb, 0.3 Ast
Malik Ondigo 10 SO F 6-10 215 El Mirage, AZ Dysart High School 1.3 Pts, 1.2 Reb, 0.0 Ast
Parker Hicks 20 SO G 6-6 210 Decatur, TX Decatur High School 1.0 Pts, 0.8 Reb, 0.0 Ast
Josh Mballa 35 FR F 6-7 215 Bordeaux, France Putnam Science Academy 0.8 Pts, 0.3 Reb, 0.1 Ast
Avery Benson 24 FR G 6-3 190 Springdale, AR Southwest Christian Academy 0.6 Pts, 0.6 Reb, 0.3 Ast
Andrew Sorrells 30 JR G 6-3 175 North Richland Hills, TX Birdville HS 0.5 Pts, 0.2 Reb, 0.1 Ast
Khavon Moore 21 FR F 6-7 215 Macon, GA Westside HS 0.0 Pts, 0.0 Reb, 0.0 Ast

Put on your Red and Black, put your Guns Up and cheer for the Red Raiders hard because we’re all Texas Tech fans now!

Brad Smith is a Senior Writer for Mountaineer Sports. He is a proud West Virginia University Graduate and splits his time between Morgantown, West Virginia, Jacksonville, Florida and Caracas, Venezuela.

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