Recent History: Villanova is 20-17 all-time vs. West Virginia, but is 3-5 against the Mountaineers during the Jay Wright era. Nova has had an especially hard time playing in Morgantown, where they haven't won since 1999. Last season Nova won 78-56 at the Pavilion in the only meeting between the two teams. Nova was led by Dwayne Anderson's 17 points, who is unlikely to play because of the knee injury, Corey Stokes' 16 points, and Corey Fisher's 6 assists. WVU was led by Joe Alexander's 11 points, but he has since bolted for the NBA. WVU went through a transformation last year when coach John Beilein left for Michigan and Bob Huggins returned to his alma mater. Huggins did a commendable job with Beilein's players considering the different systems they run. This year Huggins has his own recruits and it's a promising class consisting of Devin Ebanks (8.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Kevin Jones (5.6 ppg), Darryl Bryant (10 ppg), and Cameron Payne. Returning players Da'Sean Butler (17.3 ppg, 6 rpg) and Alex Ruoff (16.3 ppg, 3.5 apg) have found ways to excell in the new system.
Best Win: 75-58 at then #14 Georgetown
Worst Loss: 54-43 vs. Kentucky (their only loss to an unranked team)
Famous Alumni: NBA: Joe Alexander, Hot Rod Hundley, Jerry West Other: Cheryl Hines, Marc Bulger, Chris Henry, Chuck Howley, Sam Huff, Adam "Pacman" Jones, Jerry Porter, Billy Mays
Won 1942 and 2007 NIT
From Wikipedia: "The Mountaineer was adopted in 1890 as the official school mascot and unofficially began appearing at sporting events in 1927. The new Mountaineer is selected each year by the Mountain Honorary during the final two men's home basketball games. Candidates must have at least a 2.5 GPA, write an essay about why they want to be the Mountaineer, attend an extensive interview process and garner the most cheers during the home basketball game. The successful candidate is awarded the formal title of "The Mountaineer of West Virginia University." The new Mountaineer receives a scholarship, a tailor-made buckskin suit with coonskin hat, and a period rifle and powder horn for discharging when appropriate and safe. There is always a backup Mountaineer, to step in when needed."
Complimentary Youtube Video: The man, the myth, the legend...
Final Verdict: I think this is the year Villanova finally gets a win at the WVU Coliseum. They are riding a hot 6 game winning streak and the offense is clicking (94, 102, 102 points in last 3 games). Nova will have to focus their defensive efforts on Butler and Ruoff, two great permiter scorers. I think Dante Cunningham will be the player of the game, but Corey Stokes could be the x-factor. He will need to play a bigger role with Anderson out.