No. 4 West Virginia vs. No. 13 Bucknell Prediction, Game Preview

West Virginia vs. Bucknell prediction and game preview, as the No. 4 Mountaineers and No. 13 Bison face off in the NCAA Tournament.

This is a Bob Huggins team, so you know what to expect from the Mountaineers: high pressured-defense that guards the entire court. Bucknell will try to slow down West Virginia and handle that press that has wilted many talented teams this season. Here is a preview of the first round matchup in Buffalo.

West Virginia vs. Bucknell Game Preview

Date: Thursday, March 16
Venue:  KeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY

West Virginia Strengths

There’s a reason it is nicknamed Press Virginia. The Mountaineers can suffocate opponents with 40 straight minutes of relentless ball-hawking and won’t let up. They led the nation in turnovers forced per game and get most of their points converting on opponents’ miscues.

West Virginia Weaknesses

It doesn’t exactly have an explosive half-court offense. Jevon Carter is a solid guard and Nathan Adrian can be a force down low, but the Mountaineers would much rather run. They could run into trouble if a team successfully slows them down.

West Virginia Mountaineers In-Depth Analysis

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Bucknell Strengths

Patriot League Player of the Year Nana Foulland provides an effective interior presence that balances the inside-out game of Bucknell’s leading scorer Zach Thomas, who averages 16 points per game. Foulland is shooting 62.8 percent from the field to rank among the nation’s leaders in that category, and his 2.1 blocks per game at the other end led the Patriot League. His 11 double-doubles and 7.8 rebounds per contest both ranked second in the conference.

Bucknell Weaknesses

Free throws can be an issue, with one piece of evidence being that Foulland is only a 55.8 percent shooter from the line, although that mark is up from the 49.7 percent he hit last season. The Bison have hit fewer than 50 percent of their free throws three times in their last seven games heading into the NCAA Tournament.

Bucknell Bison In-Depth Analysis

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West Virginia vs. Bucknell By The Numbers

West Virginia Statistics

  • Scoring Margin – 19.6 (2nd nationally)
  • Rebound Margin – 2.6 (102)
  • TO Margin – 8.8 (1)
  • 3PT FG – 36.0% (137)

Bucknell Statistics

  • Scoring Margin 8.7 (42)
  • Rebound Margin 1.1 (150)
  • TO Margin .6 (138)
  • 3PT FG 37.7% (57)

West Virginia vs. Bucknell Prediction

Bucknell can’t handle the press, and this game will be over by halftime. The Mountaineers are too mentally tough and have the experience of winning big games to lose this one. West Virginia rolls big.

West Virginia vs. Bucknell Score Prediction: West Virginia 84, Bucknell 59

MORE: Complete NCAA Tournament Bracket, Previews, Predictions