The 2012 NCAA Tournament's first round technically tipped off a couple of nights ago with the "First Four," but Thursday night's game between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the West Virginia Mountaineers will be a first round matchup for all intents and purposes. And it should be a good one at that.
The 7-10 games are typically some of the best in the Big Dance and Thursday's night game, scheduled to be televised at 7:20 p.m. on TNT, should live up to expectations. The Zags are the favorites, a different role than they were accustomed to last decade, but the Mountaineers aren't slouches.
Gonzaga has an excellent point guard in Kevin Pangos and a pair of very good frontcourt players in Elias Harris and Robert Sacre, but the problem with their team is their age. Both Pangos and the team's other guard, Gary Bell Jr., are freshman -- something that's always a bit disconcerting in March Madness.
The Mountaineers are primarily a two-man team, but that worked for them all right during the regular season. Kevin Jones averaged a double-double with 20.1 points and 11.1 rebounds while Truck Bryant did his part to the tune of 17.2 points and some valuable contributions in big games.