INDIANAPOLIS - Perhaps it's appropriate the man who explains the seed of West Virginia's basketball run is named John Flowers.
The 6-foot-7 junior forward from Waldorf, Md., sat among the swarm of media Friday at Final Four activities. His 31-6 Mountaineers have climbed out of the rugged Big East Conference, scaled the NCAA tournament and are perched one step away from a national championship showdown with either Butler or Michigan State.
All that stands in the way is a slight upset of No. 1 seed Duke.
The Mountaineers have been on quite a roll, winning 10 straight games, including the Big East tournament.
Flowers points back to a meeting coach Bob Huggins had with his players in the summer. The coach suggested the Mountaineers might be more than good in 2010. He wondered how the players wanted him to handle the non-conference portion of the upcoming schedule.
"He asked us if we wanted to play the best,'' Flowers said. "Everyone said yes, we wanted to play the best. We wanted a tough schedule.
"Before, last year, we weren't playing that tough of teams early in the year. We wanted more of a challenge. We wanted to play a tough schedule - and get pairings to help us win a national championship.''
Mission accomplished. WVU's regular-season schedule was rated among the top three nationally, and the Mountaineers earned a No. 2 seed.
"He came to us and said, 'Do you all want to play people? Do you want to play a harder schedule?''' said Flowers' peer, 6-7 forward Cam Thoroughman. "We all said, 'Yeah, we want to do that. We want to be on TV.'
"When you play more people, you get on TV more. You get more hype and more exposure, and you become a better team in the process - for experiences just like this.''
WVU's experiences have been great, including victories at Madison Square Garden and Buffalo and Syracuse in NCAA play. But today's game at Lucas Oil Stadium is expected to be played before 71,300.
"It's beyond Syracuse,'' Thoroughman said. "And when we go to Syracuse, we're like, 'God, the background is horrible there.' Then you come here ...''
He pointed to the top of the stadium in awe.