The fifth-seeded and 4.5-point favorite West Virginia Mountaineers have returned to March Madness for the first time in two seasons and their first hurdle —the 12th-seed Buffalo Bulls.
It’s the dreaded No. 5 seed versus No. 12 seed and even before Selection Sunday came to fruition everyone was dreaded being paired up against Buffalo in the round of 64.
Buffalo (23-9) ended its regular season on an eight-game winning streak. The Bulls are coached by Bobby Hurley, who as a player was a two-time National champion with Duke.
A Closer Look At The Buffalo Bulls Vs West Virginia Mountaineers March Madness Betting Line & Game Analysis
Matchup: (12) Buffalo Bulls vs (5) West Virginia Mountaineers
Date: Mar. 20, 2015
Start Time: 2:10 p.m. ET
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Stadium: Nationwide Arena
TV Info: TNT
Stream: TNT Overtime
Radio: Buffalo Vs West Virginia
Point Spread: Mountaineers -4.5
Buffalo March Madness Projected Starting Lineup:
- G Shannon Evans, 6-1, So., 15.3 ppg, 4.7 apg
- G Lamonte Bearden, 6.3, Fr., 8.2 ppg, 4.3 apg
- G Jarryn Skeete, 6-3, Jr., 9.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg
- F Justin Moss, 6-7, Jr., 17.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg
- F Xavier Ford, 6-7, Sr., 9.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg
- Coach: Bobby Hurley (second season)
West Virginia March Madness Starting Lineup:
- G Juwan Staten, 6-1, Sr., 14.5 ppg, 4.6 apg
- G Gary Browne, 6-1, Sr., 7.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg
- G Daxter Miles Jr., 6-3, Fr., 7.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg
- F Devin Williams, 6-9, So., 11.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg
- F Jonathan Holton, 6-7, Jr., 7.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg
- Coach: Bob Huggins (8th season)
Buffalo won their first Mid-American Conference tournament championship and an automatic NCAA Tournament bid. The Bulls ended the season with 23-9 record, 16-13 against the spread and had a 1-2 mark against teams that were also invited to the Big Dance.
Junior forward Justin Moss (17.7 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 0.6 APG) and sophomore guard Shannon Evans (15.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.7 APG) lead this team that average 75.0 points per game (28th), 13.2 assists per game (125th), shooting 43.5% from the field (178th). Buffalo’s defense allows 68.3 points per game (238th) while grabbing 38.4 rebounds per game (16th).
“The difference is the satisfaction you get, knowing you’re working with a group of kids that put in the time and put in the work and put in the sacrifice, and then you get to see them enjoy that moment and cherish that memory, and do something the school has never done before. You watch it through their eyes more, and you appreciate it”, said coach Bobby Hurley.
West Virginia is led by senior guard Juwan Staten (14.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.6 APG), and sophomore forward Devin Williams (11.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.3 APG). The Mountaineers finished with a 23-9 record, 17-13 against the spread, but had an 8-9 record against teams that made the tournament.
WVU scores 73.9 points per game, shooting 41.2% from the field (282nd) and recording 14.5 assists per game (50th). Their defense average 66.8 points per game against (179th) and get 36.8 rebounds per game (57th).
"They really compete, I think that’s the biggest thing. They’ve adopted Bobby’s personality. They really come after you. They compete. They do a great job of gang-guarding. They play without any fear. That’s a team that’s already played Kentucky in Lexington, played Wisconsin at Wisconsin. They’re not going to be in awe of anybody", West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said about Buffalo.
The Bulls are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a SU win, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. Record, 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall, and 4-1 ATS in their last five neutral site games.
The Mountaineers are 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 Friday games, 13-5-1 ATS in their last 19 NCAA Tournament games, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall, 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games as a favorite of 0.5-6.5 points and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games as a favorite.