BUFFALO — Some quick observations from West Virginia’s first-round walkover of Morgan State:
The best news for WVU: for the first time in a long time, the Mountaineers didn’t have to count on Da’Sean Butler to win. Butler had nine points but it was Devin Ebanks (16 points, 13 rebounds) and Kevin Jones (17 points, 8 rebounds) who carried the day for the Mountaineers. Contributions from Ebanks and Jones is critical as teams try to lock out Butler.
Don’t be fooled by the Mountaineers’ lack of size. West Virginia is always going to be undermanned when you look at height and weight, but the Mountaineers’ athleticism makes up for any deficiencies. WVU beat a bigger Morgan State team on the boards by 10, continuing a trend of out rebounding opponents all season.
Bob Huggins was able to get some minutes for his bench against Morgan State. That could be important on Sunday against Clemson or Missouri. Both teams will try to run WVU ragged. The bench guys needed to shake out the cobwebs and did more than that, contributing 27 points for WVU.
Morgan State goes home for the second consecutive year with a big gap in the scoring margin. It can’t be overstated just how difficult it is for an HBCU school to compete. Todd Bozeman has done an admirable job getting good players who play hard but the dollar discrepancy is a killer when it comes to the difference in making the tournament and being an actual player.