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Originally published Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 8:24 PM

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Matchup: Gonzaga vs. West Virginia

4:20 p.m. Thursday in Pittsburgh (TNT) Record: 25-6 overall, 13-3 in West Coast Conference (2nd place). Conference tournament: Gonzaga lost...

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4:20 p.m. Thursday in Pittsburgh (TNT)


Record: 25-6 overall, 13-3 in West Coast Conference (2nd place).

Conference tournament: Gonzaga lost in the WCC championship game to Saint Mary's.

Seed: 7. RPI: 24. Bid: At-large.

Coach: Mark Few (341-89 in 13 years at Gonzaga).

Gonzaga starters
Pos Player Ht. Yr. PPG RPG APG
F Elias Harris 6-7 Jr. 13.1 8.7 1.3
F Guy Landry Edi 6-6 Jr. 5.6 2.4 0.9
C Robert Sacre 7-0 Sr. 11.7 6.3 0.7
G Gary Bell Jr. 6-1 Fr. 10.0 2.4 1.9
G Kevin Pangos 6-1 Fr. 13.8 2.8 3.4

West Virginia

Record: 19-13 overall, 9-9 in Big East (8th place).

Conference tournament: The Mountaineers lost to Connecticut in overtime in the second round.

Seed: 10. RPI: 56. Bid: At-large.

Coach: Bob Huggins (710-266 in 30 years at Walsh, Akron, Cincinnati, Kansas State and WVU; 120-55 at WVU).

West Virginia starters
Pos Player Ht. Yr. PPG RPG APG
F Kevin Jones 6-8 Sr. 20.1 11.1 1.3
F Keaton Miles 6-6 Fr. 1.4 2.0 1.2
C Deniz Kilicli 6-9 Jr. 10.7 5.4 1.5
G Darryl Bryant 6-2 Sr. 17.2 3.1 2.8
G Jabarie Hinds 5-11 Fr. 7.6 2.4 3.3

Common opponents: WVU beat Oral Roberts 78-71 at home in its opener, GU beat ORU 67-61 at home Dec. 15; GU beat Notre Dame at home 73-53 Nov. 30 and Notre Dame swept WVU, 55-51 and 71-44.

West Virginia vs. Gonzaga: This is the first meeting between the teams.


• The Mountaineers' 19 victories are the fewest in Huggins' tenure in Morgantown, and lowest since he won 17 at Cincinnati in 2003 (a season that ended with Gonzaga's first-round NCAA victory).

• Mountaineers forward Kevin Jones (6-8, 260) was the Big East leader in scoring in conference games at 19.0 and also led in rebounding at 10.9. NBADraft.nethas Jones as a late-first-round pick this year, while DraftExpress.comhas him going early in the second.

• West Virginia is one of nine Big East teams headed to the NCAA tournament, the most of any league. Seton Hall was considered a 10th possibility, but failed to make it as a bubble team.

• WVU actually allows a higher shooting percentage (.446) than it hits (.441). Its three-point shooting (.302) is a major Achilles, but the Mountaineers have a robust 6.8 rebounding margin.

• Gonzaga isn't a stranger to Big East teams, having gone 5-3 against that league since 2008. The Zags opened the NCAA tournament last year with an 86-71 victory over St. John's. But they were blown out by Syracuse in the second round of the NCAA in 2010, 87-65.

Bud Withers

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