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Game 25: West Virginia


West Virginia goes into Friday night’s game against the #13 Wildcats needing a strong finish to ensure a 2009 NCAA birth. Last year the Mountaineers reached the Sweet 16 and came within an overtime of reaching the Elite Eight. Much of its fate this year rides on the performance freshman point guard Darryl "Truck" Bryant, who assumed point guard duties when veteran Joe Mazzula went down with a season ending shoulder injury.

West Virginia starts two freshman, Bryant and Devon Ebanks, a five-star recruit. Rounding out the starting five are forward Da’Sean Butler, forward Wellington Smith, and 2-guard Alex Ruoff. The key subs are forwards Kevin Jones, John Flowers, and Cam Thoroughman. Butler leads the team in scoring (17.3 ppg), followed by Ruoff (16.3 ppg) and Bryant (10.0 ppg). West Virginia is outstanding on the offensive boards, grabbing 100 more rebounds than its opponents this year.

The Mountaineers are in 9th place in Big East standings with a 5-6 record (16-8 overall). Yet they are a dangerous team with a strong defense and the ability to blow out opponents when they are playing well. Their league wins and losses and margin of victory break down this way:

WINS:

@ Seton Hall (+26)

USF (+3)

@ Georgetown (+17)

St. Johns (+23)

Providence (+27)

LOSSES:

Connecticut (-6)

@ Marquette (-22)

Pittsburgh (-12)

@ Louisville (-6)

@ Syracuse (-13)

@ Pittsburgh (-11)

Dwayne Anderson is listed as questionable for Friday night’s game, which will be played in Morgantown at 9:00 PM / ESPN and ESPN 950 Radio.