West Virginia 77, Morgan State 50

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.

Campus Life

Higher Ed panel won’t reconsider decision on UMUC online program

The Maryland Higher Education Commission has voted not to reconsider its decision to deny University of Maryland University College’s request to offer an online doctoral program for community college administrators to in-state students, the commission chairman said.

In October, UMUC officials had appealed a decision by the state secretary of higher education that restricted the program because it would duplicate a face-to-face program at Morgan State University. But the commissioners upheld the chairman’s decision and directed Morgan to develop an online version within two years instead. That prompted the University of Maryland Board of Regents to write letters to the commission, asking them to revisit the issue.

However, in a 7-2 vote Wednesday, commissioners decided against reconsidering it, said Chairman Kevin O’Keefe. Because the issue had been brought to the commission on appeal, that process has been exhausted, he said.