Men's Basketball, WVU Sports

West Virginia earns No. 9 seed in NCAA tourney, draws Maryland in first round

MORGANTOWN — Back in the men’s NCAA tournament for the first time since 2021, West Virginia drew regional foe Maryland on Sunday in the first round of the tournament.

The two schools separated by just 209 miles will travel to Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala. for their first-round matchup at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, with the Terrapins (21-12) the No. 8 seed in the South Region and the Mountaineers (19-14) the No. 9 seed.

The winner will advance to likely face Alabama, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

“Obviously they’re excited to play,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said of his players’ reaction. “They weren’t jumping up and down, but they were excited to play.”

According to the overall NCAA seeds, the selection committee had the Mountaineers slotted at No. 34 overall and Maryland at No. 31.

The NCAA’s NET rankings had WVU at No. 25 and Maryland at No. 31, so the matchup appears to be fairly even.

“I’m good with it,” Huggins said about WVU earning a No. 9 seed. “Obviously we wanted to win more games, but I think we had some things happen. We missed some free throws early on. The K-State game, we’re up (11) at halftime. The Texas Tech game, we rolled the ball out of bounds for some reason.

“I think if you look back, we’re a team capable of winning another five or six games. If we do that and take care of business, look where we are.”

As it stands, both schools share a similar story in how their seasons played out.

Maryland, in its first season under former Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard, got off to an 8-0 start and climbed as high as No. 13 in the country, before losses to Wisconsin, Tennessee and UCLA dropped the Terrapins from the top 25.

Maryland went 5-4 against AP Top 25 teams, including a 68-54 win against No. 3 Purdue on Feb. 16. The Terrapins followed that up with their worst loss of the season to Nebraska three days later.

Maryland finished in a four-way tie for fifth place in the Big Ten and earned the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament.

The Terps advanced to the quarterfinals and fell to Indiana.

“I haven’t seen too much of them this season,” Huggins said.

Meanwhile, WVU got off to a 10-2 start and was ranked No. 24 in the nation at one point, but an 0-5 start in Big 12 play put the Mountaineers in a hole they were forced to climb out of the rest of the season.

WVU, too, was eliminated in the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 tournament, a 78-61 loss against Kansas.

“I never had any doubt that we wouldn’t play in the tournament,” Huggins said. “I thought we were getting better and better.”

WVU is 24-14 all-time against Maryland, including a 69-59 victory in the second round of the 2015 NCAA tournament, the most recent game between the two schools.

WVU is 6-1 all-time against the Terrapins on a neutral court.


RECORD: 21-12 (11-9 Big Ten)
COACH: Kevin Willard (291-222, 16 years), 21-12 at Maryland
NET: 31, 3-10 in Quad 1 games
BEST WIN: 68-54 vs. No. 3 Purdue
WORST LOSS: 70-66 vs. Nebraska
Vs. TOP 25: 5-4, with wins against No. 3 Purdue, No. 16 Illinois, No. 21 Northwestern, No. 21 Indiana and No. 24 Ohio State
LAST 10: 5-5, including a 70-60 loss against Indiana in the Big Ten quarterfinals
TOP PLAYER: Jahmir Young (Sr., 6-1, 185). A transfer from Charlotte, Young averaged 16.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Named second team all-Big Ten.
NEED TO KNOW: Maryland played the 30th toughest schedule in the country with nonconference games against Miami, UCLA and Tennessee, going 1-2 against those teams … The Terrapins start four seniors and a sophomore and those starters score 81.4% of the team’s points … Maryland is 3-2 in neutral-court games this season … WVU is 24-14 all-time against Maryland, including a 69-59 win in the second round of the 2015 NCAA tournament … WVU is 6-1 all-time against Maryland on a neutral court.

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