Morgantown, West Virginia – ESPN Analyst King McClure, a former Baylor basketball player, was asked who he thought could make the deepest run in the NCAA Tournament outside of Baylor, and surprisingly said the West Virginia Mountaineers.
“I’m torn here, but I’m going to go with West Virginia because of their ability to make shots combined with their ability to defend. Taz Sherman, Sean McNeil, Miles McBride, the way they are hitting shots from the outside, combine that with Jalen Bridges and the big beast Derek Culver, I think those guys have a great formula for success in the tournament,” McClure said.
When the Mountaineers are making shots, they are a very difficult team to beat, particularly if they are playing with a high intensity level on the defensive end. Having said that, West Virginia is a very easy out if they aren’t making shots.
Bob Huggins said as much in his postgame press conference following the Oklahoma State loss: “We are a very poor defensive team and we rely on making shots. When we don’t make shots, we don’t win. We’re not very big or strong or athletic. We’re shooters. When we don’t make shots, we lose.”
Despite West Virginia’s recent struggles, it is still very much a team that is feared and that most teams do not want to play against. The Mountaineers have proven that they can hang right with the best teams in the nation (Gonzaga, Baylor, etc.) and have a pretty impressive record with one of the most challenging, difficult schedules in all of college basketball.
Perhaps King McClure is right, maybe the Mountaineers will be one of the most dangerous teams over the next couple of weeks and will make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
West Virginia will play the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Thursday at 11:30AM in the Big 12 Conference Tournament. If the Mountaineers can get past Oklahoma State, they will play the #1 seed Baylor Bears on Friday.