West Virginia players Deniz Kilicli, Truck Bryant and Kevin Jones take questions at this afternoon's news conference at Consol Energy Center.
All-Pro Photography/Dale Sparks photo
PITTSBURGH - Some news and notes from today's happenings at Consol Energy Center:
- This is the second time West Virginia is a 10-seed heading into the NCAA tournament. The last was in 1998 when the Mountaineers upset Temple and Cincinnati on the way to a meeting against Utah in the regional semifinals. It is just the fourth time West Virginia has been a double digit seed since 1982. West Virginia was a 12-seed in 1992, an 11-seed in 1984 and a 10-seed in 1998.
West Virginia also upset 6-seeded Oregon State in 1984 in Birmingham, Ala.
- West Virginia coach Bob Huggins is making his 20th NCAA tournament appearance at three different schools - Akron, Cincinnati and West Virginia - fifth most among active coaches.
- On the line for Huggins Thursday night is his streak of seven consecutive 20-win seasons dating back to 2003. Huggins has 25 20-win seasons as a collegiate coach. The Mountaineers are 19-13 heading into Thursday's game.
- Huggins is 1-1 against Gonzaga, defeating the Bulldogs 75-69 in 1999 and losing 74-69 in the first round of the 2003 NCAA tournament, both while at Cincinnati.
"They play the right way," said Huggins.
- Mark Few characterized Huggins as one of the last great characters in coaching today. Huggins talked about the lack of iconic characters in the college game now.
"There's just so much more attention now," Huggins said. "With social media, I mean, could you imagine some of the other guys, old guys? I think there's still characters; they just do it behind closed doors now."
- West Virginia has played once previously at Consol Energy Center, defeating Duquesne 64-61 last season. West Virginia is the only team on site to play a game here.
- Earlier today West Virginia forward Kevin Jones was named to the NABC all-district team, meaning he is now eligible to be named to the All-America team announced later this month. Jones has already been named to the 10-member USBWA All-America team and was named to the The Sporting News All-America third team earlier this month.
- West Virginia and Gonzaga have played four common opponents this year: Kansas State, Marquette, Baylor and Notre Dame. Gonzaga lost to K-State 81-64 and Notre Dame 83-79 and defeated Marquette 66-63 and Baylor 68-64. West Virginia beat Kansas State 85-80 in overtime and lost to Baylor 83-81 in overtime, to Marquette 61-60 and Notre Dame 55-51.
- Gonzaga has faced five schools in this year's NCAA tournament field; West Virginia has faced 11 teams in the field of 68.
- Gonzaga has only been seeded out West five times in 14 prior NCAA appearances. This year marks the fourth time under Coach Mark Few that Gonzaga has traveled more than 2,000 miles to play an NCAA tournament game.
"They were talking about them flying 2,200 miles and I said, 'they've never rode with our bus driver,'" said Huggins. "I'm stressed from the time I get on the bus.
"I think Mark would have a better handle on that," said Huggins. "Hopefully our people find ways to get tickets and we have a nice crowd here."
- Mark Few says this is one of the youngest teams he has taken to the NCAA tournament with three freshmen and four sophomores on his roster. West Virginia has eight freshmen on its roster.
- Gonzaga won its 11th straight West Coast regular season title this year, which is the longest current active streak in the nation and second to UCLA's 13 PAC-10 titles from 1967-79. Gonzaga's 13 straight NCAA tournament trips is fourth among current schools behind just Kansas, Duke and Michigan State.
- Gonzaga has players from British Columbia, Ontario, Ivory Coast, Germany and France on this year's roster.
- After starting the season 4-5, Gonzaga has won 21 of its last 25 games.
- Most famous Gonzaga alumnus? John Stockton.
- Mark Few has won 20 or more games every year he has coached at Gonzaga dating back to his first season in 2000.