West Virginia coach Bob Huggins hasn’t been in the NCAA Tournament since 2012. This year’s 23-8 squad finished with his second-best regular season record since he’s been in Morgantown. Can he get the ‘Neers to their first Sweet Sixteen in five years?
Bobby Hurley took over Buffalo’s program last season after serving as an assistant at Wagner College and Rhode Island. He was an accomplished college point guard at Duke in the early 90’s. This is his first appearance in the tournament as a head coach. How much did Coack K and his legendary father rub off on him?
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West Virginia survived the hectic Big 12 conference schedule. The entire conference beat up on each other. I wonder if it will take a toll on the entire Big 12 in this tourney. These teams are either tired or battle-hardened. There’s no in-between. I fear WVU might be a little tired. Six of their final eight games were against ranked opponents. They went 2-4 against the ranked teams during that stretch. The Mountaineers are a good team, but they might be prone for a Cinderella attack.
Buffalo is coached by Bobby Hurley. The same guy who lead those Duke teams to titles in the early 90’s. His father might be the best prep basketball coach to ever live. Buffalo had leads at halftime against both Kentucky and Wisconsin early this season. They weren’t able to hold on for the win in either contest, but a team needs that kind of spark going into big games. I knew if they made it to the Big Dance, they could be dangerous.
The MAC has had some mild success in the NCAA Tournament. It seems like a team from the conference does something spectacular every few years. I believe they are due for another big moment. I’m picking Buffalo to upset West Virginia.
Prediction: #12 Buffalo Bulls
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.