MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — The 13th-ranked West Virginia men’s basketball team is expected to have its full allotment of forwards in Friday’s 9 p.m. home opener against Buffalo.
Whether or not point guard Beetle Bolden plays is still 50-50.
“Derek [Culver] is fine,” West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins said. “Derek has actually had some pretty good practices. Beetle is day-by-day. He’s got a lot of courage. We’ll see after practice [if he can play]. After [practice], hopefully so.”
Junior forward Sagaba Konate has been dealing with a sore knee, but is expected to be ready to go.
Both Culver and Bolden sat out last week’s exhibition loss against Penn State; Bolden because he’s dealing with stretched ligaments in his hand and Culver because he wasn’t giving his best efforts in practice.
Without them, the Mountaineers were outrebounded and turned the ball over 16 times, not exactly what you’d hope to see out of a top 15 team.
“I was kind of glad what happened, happened,” Huggins said. “It kind of brought us back down to earth. We got a whole bunch of kids who are like, ‘Wow, we’re No. 13 in the country and people say we’re a dark horse to go to the Final Four.’ They read all of that crap and they believe it. They think [the media] actually has an idea of what they’e doing.”
It’s likely the Bulls (1-0) will have a good idea of what they want to accomplish.
One of the upset darlings of the 2017 NCAA tournament following a first-round win against Arizona, Buffalo is coming off a 27-win season and returns three starters and five of its top seven from last season.
Senior forward Nick Perkins (6-foot-8, 250) scored 16 points and added nine rebounds in Buffalo’s 82-67 season-opening win against St. Francis (Pa.).
“If you know who our coaches are, we’re very familiar with what they did to Arizona,” West Virginia freshman guard Jordan McCabe said. “That’s been brought up multiple times and will continue to be brought up until game time.
“They’re a dangerous team. You can’t look at them as some mid-major team coming in here. Forget about that stuff. They have a lot of players returning that beat Arizona.”
TV: ESPNU (Comcast chs. 174, 853 HD; DirecTV 208; DISH 141)
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