The 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is engulfing the sports world. In a year rocked by shocking tournament upsets, including of 1 seed Virginia by 16 seed UMBC, no one quite knows what to expect as the games continue.
This year was particularly interesting for West Virginians as we have two teams in the tournament. WVU entered the tournament as a 5 seed with a record of 24-10 and played 12-ranked Murray State in their first matchup. Marshall entered as a 13 seed and earned a bid for the tournament after winning their conference championship. In the first round of the tournament, Marshall defeated 4-seed Wichita State 81-75 and WVU defeated 12-seed Murray State.
This put the two teams in an interesting position as the in-state rivals get to compete on the national stage. Marshall opened the game just as they hoped they would, hitting a trio of threes and getting an early lead over WVU. However, for the rest of the night it was all the Mountaineers. Marshall committed 18 turnovers and finished without a single player with 20 points or more. The Mountaineers finished strong and topped the Thundering Herd with a final score of 94-71.
In the Sweet 16, WVU will face old Big-East rival Villanova. The Wildcats entered the tournament as a 1 seed and are the experts’ favorites to win the national championship. The line for the game currently sits at -5.5 WVU, but the Mountaineers hope to stay hot and pull off yet another upset of a 1 seed. If this year has shown us anything, it is that any team can win on any given day. The tipoff for the Mountaineers v. Wildcats matchup is Friday, March 23rd at 7:27 p.m. in Boston, MA.