CLEVELAND (Sporting Alert) — West Virginia will be looking to shock top seed and favourite Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament March Madness Sweet 16 on Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio.
The No. 5 seeded Mountaineers (25-9, 11-7 Big 12) overpowered Maryland, 69-59, on Sunday in the Round of 32 to show that they are hitting form at the right time, as Devin Williams scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the way in the victory.
On the season, West Virginia is averaging 73.9 points on a 41.2 percent shooting from the field. The team is also averaging 36.8 rebounds and 14.5 assists.
The Mountaineers are shooting 66.4 percent from the free throw line and 32.0 percent from the three-pointer. Defensively, they are allowing 66.5 points per game against the opposing teams, while leading the nation in steals per game, at 10.9.
Juwan Staten is averaging 14.2 points and 4.8 assists. Williams is averaging 11.6 points and 8.2 rebounds, with four other players scoring between 7.2 and 8.2 points for the Mountaineers.
West Virginia is buzzing from its recent form, but head coach Bob Huggins, who leads the Cats’ coach John Calipari 8-2 on head-to-back battles over the course of his career is bracing for a very tough Midwest Regional semifinals.
Huggins also believes the decision of some players to return for another season at Kentucky has been one the recipe for their success..
“This may be the first time in a long time that Cal has had some very integral pieces back,” Huggins said.
“His (Calipari’s) guards are back and they’re both 6-6 and long. They’ve had a year with John and they understand what he wants done.”
West Virginia took 19 three-pointers in their 10 point win over Maryland in the last outing, but Huggins doesn’t believe that will be a good idea against the Wildcats, who have blocked 248 shots already this season.
No. 1 Kentucky (36-0, 18-0 SEC) will be tested again as the perfect season is on the line.
The Wildcats overwhelmed Cincinnati, 64-51, on Saturday to stay undefeated with an all-round team performance — led by Aaron Harrison’s 13 points.
For this term, Calipari’s side is shooting 74.9 points on a 46.9 percent shooting from the field.
The squad is averaging 38.2 rebounds and 14.7 assists, shooting 72.2 percent from the free throw line and 34.7 percent from the three-pointer.
On the defensive end, Kentucky is allowing 53.9 points per game against the opposing teams, which makes them very difficult to breakdown
There are only three players scoring in double figures for Kentucky, they are: Harrison (11.1), Devin Booker (10.1) and Karl-Anthony Towns (10.0).
However, the offensive attacks come from also from other six players scoring at least 5.5 points to 9.3 points per game.
Can we say upset?
West Virginia vs Kentucky TV coverage is on CBS at 9:45 PM ET . West Virginia vs Kentucky live streaming is on NCAA Live.