TAMPA, Fla. -- West Virginia came away from Selection Sunday in 2011 feeling a little less slighted and a little more vindicated than in 2010.
Last year the Mountaineers had won the Big East Tournament after securing a two-round bye and hoped and thought they'd be given a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They were given a No. 2 instead and felt a little put off by the experience.
This year, WVU (20-11) was expecting to be a No. 5 or a No. 6 and prepared for the latter. They got the former as well as a trip here, which was their preferred destination.
"It's a different feeling," junior guard Truck Bryant said. "Can't lie about that."
The 22nd-ranked Mountaineers were also the top No. 5 seed and will play UAB (22-8) or Clemson (21-11). They were the last two at-large teams included in the new 68-team field.
"It is what it is," WVU senior point guard Joe Mazzulla said. "From one standpoint, it says a lot about us as a team and obviously teams can't overlook us and have to have a certain respect for us and know what we're capable of doing.
"The other side of it is we have to pay attention to them and focus in a short period of time and get to know what they do and how to execute on offense and defense against them."
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SENIOR FORWARD Cam Thoroughman said the coaches were talking as though WVU would be a No. 6 seed and Thoroughman, who pays close attention to things like bracket projections, saw pundits predicting the same.
He even spotted the No. 6 vs. No. 11 matchup that would have had lot of people talking - WVU against Michigan and former Coach John Beilein.
"I think that would have been more fun for you guys than for us," Thoroughman said.
The Wolverines (20-13), who played into the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, ended up as a No. 8 seed and will play No. 9 seed Tennessee in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday afternoon.
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BRYANT GREW up playing basketball with Connecticut guard Kemba Walker and watched the All-American light up Madison Square Garden in the Big East Tournament. Walker led the Huskies to the unprecedented five wins in five days for the championship and vaulted them to a No. 3 seed in the NCAA field.