Quick, do you remember which two teams came out of the Buffalo subregional at the KeyBank Center last March? It was Wisconsin, which stunned No. 1 seed and defending national champ Villanova; and West Virginia, which knocked off Bucknell in the first game and Notre Dame in the second.
Both are back this year and on a collision course at the East regional semifinals next week in Boston. It would be a terrific game, and I could see Villanova, which is again a No. 1 seed, getting bumped off early again.
There's not a lot to separate, say, a first seed from a fifth seed nowadays. Would it be a shock to see all the. 5 seeds – West Virginia, Ohio State, Kentucky and Clemson – reach the Final Four?
I could see this being a rare year where none of the top two seeds in the regions get to San Antonio. That has happened only once since the NCAA expanded to 40 teams and began seeding the entire field in 1979.
In 2011, the Final Four comprised a 3 (UConn), a 4 (Kentucky), an 8 (Butler) and an 11 (VCU). It was one of only three years (the others were 2006 and 1980) when no No. 1 seed made the Final Four. At the time, two mid-majors. Imagine that.
Game to Watch
West Virginia vs. Murray State. This 5-12 matchup should be a treat for people who appreciate guard play, which is critical in March. Bob Huggins has two fine senior guards in Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles. Carter plays 35.5 minutes a game, averaging 17 points, 6.6 assists and 4.7 rebounds Murray State, has a great guard of its own. Jonathan Stark (insert your Game of Thrones reference here), is 16th in the country in scoring at 21.8ppg. Stark is seventh in three-pointers and shoots 88.8 percent from the line. Murray State, which has pulled first-round upsets in the past, has won 13 in a row.
Stephen F. Austin over Texas Tech. SFA upset West Virginia by 14 two years ago. That's good enough for me. I just love typing the words 'Lumberjacks' and "Nacogdoches,' which is the small city in east Texas where the school is located. It's not to be confused with its sister city, Natchitoches, which is is Louisiana. The Jacks led the nation in steals. They play at a frenetic pace and get to the line a lot. Tech turns teams over a lot, so it could get ugly.
West Virginia. As I said, it should be no real surprise for a fifth seed to get to the Final Four. But it qualifies by my rules and I wouldn't want to get Bob Huggins mad at me. I'm told he's a great guy to have a beer with, but the dude scares me. I guess any team that has to play 'Press Virginia' feels a tad intimidated, too. I think the Big 12 was very good this year, which doesn't mean I agreed with Oklahoma getting a bid at 8-10.
St. Bonaventure's Jaylen Adams is 12th in the country in three-point shooting at 45.7 percent.
Villanova, West Virginia, Stephen F. Austin, Purdue
West Virginia, Purdue