The West Virginia Mountaineers will get the 2020-21 college basketball season underway next Wednesday, November 25th as they tipoff against Northern Iowa in the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic in South Dakota.
Expectations are high for this deep and experienced squad and it even has head coach Bob Huggins thinking big as he called it "The best roster we've had since 2010." Just how good can this team be? Take a look below at what our staff at Mountaineer Maven thinks!
Note: ***These projections are based of the assumption that West Virginia will play all 27 games on the schedule, including the Youngstown State game which has been postponed.***
Schuyler Callihan: 21-6 (13-5)
This is the most talented group that Bob Huggins' has had during his tenure at West Virginia and special things can happen once March arrives. Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver now have a year playing together under their belt and feel more comfortable with each other. Emmitt Matthews Jr. is in line for a bounce back season after a very disappointing sophomore campaign. I believe his confidence will be back and better than ever which only helps the Mountaineers. I love West Virginia's backcourt with Jordan McCabe, Deuce McBride, Taz Sherman, Sean McNeil, and Kedrian Johnson. They have guys that can shoot, facilitate the ball, and play suffocating defense. As good as West Virginia is underneath, I think you have to have solid guard play to make a deep run and the Mountaineers will have that. Jalen Bridges will be my breakout player of the season and his emergence further strengthens the depth of the Mountaineer bench. The key will be to find a way to finally sweep Kansas and at least split with Baylor, who is projected to win the league. If they can do that, they'll be in great position to win the Big 12 conference.
Jonathan Martin: 23-4 (14-4)
West Virginia head men’s basketball coach, Bob Huggins, is ecstatic about his team entering the 20-21 season – and with good reason. The Mountaineers return a large portion of their team from last season and added even more firepower to boot. A frontcourt of Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe and returning guards Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil provide a deadly combination of defense and scoring.
Not many programs outside of the Big 12 can match the size of West Virginia. I would not expect – except for Georgetown – a testy non-conference slate. Expect the Mountaineers to win the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic and not look back.
It would be tough for the Mountaineers to run the table in conference, despite their talent. I am leaving room for four losses – all on the road – to Kansas, Baylor, Texas Tech and Texas.
Zach Campbell: 21-2 (17-1)
There’s no question Bob Huggins returns a deep roster in 2020, but just how deep is it, really? At least in this guy’s opinion, it’s (ostensibly) the deepest roster he’s ever had as a head ball coach. The frontcourt was already stacked with the the duo of man-child Oscar Tshiebwe and stalwart Derek Culver returning. Toss in heralded Jalen Bridges and Isaiah Cottrell and that unit now looks like a world beater. Deuce McBride, Sean McNeil, Tax Sherman and veteran Jordan McCabe are all back, as well and, if word out of Morgantown is true, they’re all better than ever. Even in a league as merciless as the Big 12, the Mountaineers might go 14-deep this season and there’s a bloom of talent at just about every spot to match it. Huggs has knocked on the door several times but given the arsenal at his disposal, this might very well be the year he kicks it in. It just feels like a landmark year for the Bear.
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