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West Virginia vs. Gonzaga

March Madness

Pick with Analysis

3/15/12

Bob Huggins has been around the block. He knows how to win a basketball game. His team has never gone all the way despite reaching the Final Four twice. While he doesn't have the most loaded squad of his career, his West Virginia Mountaineers (19-13, RPI: 57) are capable of pulling a big time upset. That will be their task when they take on the seventh seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs (25-6, RPI: 25) as the tenth seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament. West Virginia opened as a 1 point favorite, but since then the line has switched to make them a 1 point underdog at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
 
 The Mountaineers own strong wins over Kansas State, Georgetown, Marshall, South Florida and Cincinnati. They faltered badly down the stretch, finishing 4-6 in their last 10 games with two of those wins coming over teams with a sub 50% winning percentage.
 
 Senior F Kevin Jones leads the scoring attack for West Virginia. The big 'fella averages 20.1 PPG to go with 11.1 RPG. He can really take a game over. A great example of this was the Cincinnati game where he dropped 26 points on the Bearcats while cleaning the glass for 13 rebounds. He also lit up Georgetown for 22 points and a whopping 16 rebounds.
 
 Another pivotal player for West Virginia is the senior G Darryl Bryant. He averages 17.2 PPG, 3.1 RPG and 2.8 APG. He can score in droves when playing his best ball. Bryant got Georgetown for 25 points. He can shoot the three ball very well too. When his jumper is on he's quite deadly. Bryant dropped in 5 three balls on three different occasions this season.
 
 Gonzaga will be a tough foe for West Virginia. The 'Zags have great wins over Notre Dame, Xavier, Saint Mary's and BYU. They didn't win 25 games this year for no reason.
 
 A tough matchup for any team is the 'Zags big man Robert Sacre. He stands 7 foot tall and averages 11.7 PPG to go with 6.3 RPG. Often times teams will have a 7 footer that is awkward and cant play very well, but Sacre is one of the rare types that can really play the game of basketball. Huggins will have to try and work out something special to combat his talents.
 
 Kevin Pangos could have NCAA Tournament jitters in this game. He has done tremendously as a freshman to average 13.8 PPG. Even knowing how good he can play, he's still a freshman guard and that can always been a liability in a big game like this one. West Virginia is deep and experienced. They could make him pay if he's not ready to play his best basketball. Our Pick - West Virginia +1

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