West Virginia, press defense in between Gonzaga and Elite 8
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — No. 4 seed West Virginia (28-8) vs. No. 1 seed Gonzaga (34-1)
Sweet 16, West region; San Jose, California; 7:39 p.m. EDT.
BOTTOM LINE: The Bulldogs make their eighth Sweet 16 appearance during a run of 19 straight tournament trips. They have lost in five of the previous seven trips and are still seeking the first Final Four in school history. The Mountaineers seek their third trip to the regional final since runner-up appearance with Jerry West back in 1959.
NO NEED TO SWEAT: With 29 wins by double digits and 13 by at least 30 points, Gonzaga has breezed through most games with little drama at the end. They did have to hold off Northwestern in a 79-73 win in the second round last week and probably will have even more tough tests the rest of the way.
GIANT SLAYERS: The Mountaineers became the first team in five years to beat the No. 1 (Baylor) and No. 2 (Kansas) teams in the AP poll during the season. They won both those games by at least 15 points, becoming the fourth team ever to do that. Now they get another shot at a No. 2 team with Gonzaga.
PRESSING NEED: Led by a relentless full-court press, West Virginia has forced almost as many turnovers this season (724) as it has allowed baskets made (806). Gonzaga’s season-high in turnovers (20, vs. Tennessee) is less than the average for a Mountaineers opponent (20.1 per game).
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