West Virginia preview capsule
Last season: 26-11, lost to Villanova in East Region semifinals.
Coach: Bob Huggins
Conference: Big 12
Who’s gone: G Jevon Carter, the team’s leading scorer and two-time Big 12 defensive player of the year; G Daxter Miles Jr.; F Teddy Allen; F Maciej Bender.
Who’s back: F Sagaba Konate, 10.8 PPG. 7.6 RPG; F Esa Ahmad, 10.2 PPG; F Lamont West, 9.4 PPG; G James “Beetle” Bolden, 8.7 PPG; F Wes Harris, 5.3 PPG; F Logan Routt; G Chase Harler.
Who’s new: G Jordan McCabe; F Emmitt Matthews Jr.; G Jermaine Haley; F Andrew Gordon; F Derek Culver; G Trey Doomes; G Taevon Horton; G Brandon Knapper, who redshirted last season due to a preseason knee injury. Haley and Gordon are junior college transfers.
The Skinny: Losing playmaker Carter was big, especially on the defensive end, but Huggins recruited a stack of guards and forwards to bolster his “Press Virginia” defensive mentality. Size might be the most noticeable change this season. West Virginia has nine players who are 6-7 or taller. The Mountaineers have finished second in the Big 12 the past three seasons and have been picked third behind perennial power Kansas and Kansas State.
Expectations: Las Vegas oddsmakers have West Virginia at 30-1 to win the NCAA Tournament, the second-best among Big 12 teams behind Kansas.