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No. 8 Maryland vs. No. 9 West Virginia preview for March Madness First Round matchup

No. 8 Maryland Terrapins and No. 9 West Virginia Mountaineers face off in the First Round of the 2023 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of the game and how to watch.

West Virginia Mountaineers guard Erik Stevenson (10) drives to the basket in the second half of a Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal basketball game between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Kansas Jayhawks on March 9, 2023 at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, MO. Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NCAA Tournament begins on Tuesday, March 14th with the First Four, and then moves on to the First Round on Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17. The No. 8 seed Maryland Terrapins take on the No. 9 seed West Virginia Mountaineers.

Here’s an early look at what we can expect from the matchup.

Once odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Thursday, March 16
Game time: 12:15 p.m. ET
TV channel: CBS
Location: Birminigham, AL

Odds: West Virginia -2

No. 8 Maryland

Maryland’s regular season came to a heartbreaking end after the Terps lost to Penn State 65-64 following a tip-in at the buzzer. That crushing defeat notwithstanding, Maryland still won eight of its final 12 games in the Big Ten. There are plenty of reasons to believe the Terps could be a tough out in the tournament.

Their defense allows just 63.2 points per game. A balanced scoring attack featuring four players averaging more than 11.0 points per game keeps opposing defenses on their toes. That balanced attack hasn’t seemed to matter over the last few weeks, however, as the Terps have struggled to consistently expose opposing defenses. That will have to change in a hurry if they are to play well into March.

Record: 21-12, 11-9 Big Ten

Coach: Kevin Willard

Qualifier: At-Large

KenPom overall: 21

KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 33

KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 33

Pace: 311

PPP overall: 1.067

Leading scorer: Jahmir Young

NET: 30

Quad 1 record: 3-10

Against The Spread: 21-12

Over Total: 12-21

No. 9 West Virginia

Despite finishing down in eighth place in the Big 12, the Mountaineers are a solid program that just happens to play in arguably college basketball’s most competitive circuit. West Virginia was under .500 (7-11) in conference play this season, but still managed to go 19-14 overall. To end the regular season strong, WVU won three of their final four games, only losing to the reigning champion Kansas by a single bucket after defeating Iowa State, No. 11 K-State and Texas Tech down the stretch.

In the Big 12 Conference Tournament at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri, the Mountaineers were ultimately bounced by that same Jayhawks squad. One thing is for sure: West Virginia joins the Big Dance already battle tested.

Record: 19-14, 7-11 Big 12

Coach: Bob Huggins

Qualifier: At-large

KenPom overall: 17

KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 15

KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 52

Pace: 104

PPP overall: 1.069

Leading scorer: Erik Stevenson

NET: 24

Quad 1 record: 6-13

Against The Spread: 17-16-0

Over Total: 21-12-0