Bleacher Report writers expect Marshall to upset West Virginia in NCAA Tournament

Lynette Rowe
March 19, 2018

WVU won that game 86 to 68.

"Junior guard CJ Burks (6'3" 196-lbs) averaged 20.3 on the season but has struggled in the last two games, going 8-33 (24.2%) from the field and 1-8 (12.5%) from three-point range. Huggins is a great coach but he is not a great Tournament coach and I think the emotion of Marshall will take them to the sweet 16.

The Mountaineers can play at a quick as well, but it will be interesting to see if they try to slow the game down to attempt to stifle the Marshall offense that is averaging 83.5 points per game.

His 27 points led an 81-75 upset of Wichita State, and the 13th-seeded Herd (25-10) will be double-digit underdogs again Sunday night at Viejas Arena.

Jevon Carter (2) and Daxter Miles Jr.

But with a Sweet 16 trip and in-state bragging rights on the line, you can bet there will be plenty of intensity. Carter made six steals, while his stifling effort against fellow guard Jonathan Stark held the Racers star to 1-for-12 shooting and nine points. The Mountaineers have a ton of scoring options and, when all of them are on fire at the same time, it can make West Virginia's defense feel even more stifling.

That focus begins with Elmore but will include a name familiar to Mountaineer fans - Jarrod West.

The in-state rivals haven't played for the past two regular seasons as things have been publicly testy between Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins and Marshall head coach Dan D'Antoni. "With JC and Dax I don't think we will have the issue that we had".

D'Antoni favors his free-flowing system precisely for matchups like this against physically superior talent.

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"I think we're set in history", Elmore said.

The Ratings Percentage Index measures a team's strength of schedule and is a big factor in determining which teams get at-large bids in the NCAA Tournament, as well as all teams' seeding in the tournament. The Thundering Herd are shooting a sizzling 40.4 percent from outside over the last four games.

The entire Mountain State, and much of the nation, will be watching.

So yeah, the game is a tough matchup for West Virginia, and that's before you get to Marshall's little brother syndrome. "Our goal at the beginning of the year was to win a national championship". It's been a special year for us. Don't matter who it is.

Marshall will challenge the West Virginia defense with an up-tempo, spread-out offense with a reliance on pick-and-rolls and three-pointers.

Games were played for 39 consecutive seasons from 1977-78 until WVU ended the series after the 2015-16 season. The Herd hopes to join La Salle (2013), OH (2012), Bradley (2006), Oklahoma (1999), Valpo (1998) and Richmond (1988).

Murray State, who averages 11.9 turnovers per game, had 11 turnovers at the half. I thought I was under-recruited.

Marci Crouch is a master's student at Murray State. So that fuels me every time I'm on the court. "I wouldn't say he's very conflicted at all, really. I'm not the strongest, not the tallest, not the most athletic, but when that ball is tipped off I'm going to surprise some people". He is also just one of two players to rank in the top 10 in scoring and assists, with the other being Oklahoma's Trae Young, who went 0-2 against WVU this season.

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