West Virginia’s win narrows South Florida’s at-large hopes

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West Virginia threw a kink into South Florida’s NCAA tournament plans Saturday by boosting its own hopes for an at-large bid.

That’s what happens this time of year.

Kevin Jones and Darryl Bryant scored 34 of the Mountaineers’ points in 50-44 victory. It marked the first time Jan. 21 that West Virginia (19-12, 9-9 in Big East) has won back-to-back games and was by far their biggest victory in more than a month. It needs a win or two in the Big East tournament next week to cement its hopes for an at-large bid, though.

It needs to find offense from sources other than Jones and Bryant, too. Jones was 6 of 18 from the field and made the Mountaineers’ only two 3-pointers vs. the Bulls. Jones’ shot was off, but found ways to get to the free-throw line.

Could be worse, though. Could have South Florida’s offense.

Three of the last four games, the Bulls (19-12, 12-6) haven’t broken 50. Defense is their strength – and the primary reason why it won a school-best 12 league games – but even in Wednesday’s win against Louisville, the offense had serious issues.

They’re in decent shape for an at-large bid, but one win in the Big East tourney might be needed. And it would be nice to have the offense show up and make it easier.

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