WVU Opens NCAA Tournament Play Thursday

BUFFALO, N.Y. (KDKA/AP) — West Virginia University opens play in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Thursday afternoon.

Tipoff is scheduled for 2:45 p.m. The game will be broadcast nationally on CBS and locally on KDKA-TV.

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The Mountaineers (26-8) will take the court in snowy Buffalo, New York as a No. 4 seed in the West region. Their opponent is No. 13 seed Bucknell (26-8). The Mountaineers have won all eight meetings against Bucknell, though the teams haven’t met since 1977.

WVU will seek to avoid repeating a first-round upset last year. That’s when third-seeded West Virginia lost to Stephen F. Austin.

WVU started strong this season, sprinting out to the 15-2 record, but the Mountaineers have stumbled down the stretch, going 11-6 since then.

Bob Huggins-coached teams are known for playing a smothering press defense, but these Mountaineers can also score. West Virginia leads the nation in forcing 20.4 turnovers and 10.4 steals a game, and is 21st in scoring by averaging 82 points.

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