Whether or not that will translate into a large fan following, though, remains to be seen. There are a couple of things that could factor into that.
First, West Virginia will get no more than the usual ticket allotment, the same as Gonzaga and the other six teams playing there. And after tickets for staff, players' and coaches' families, etc., are taken out, that could be no more than a couple hundred tickets.
The second variable, of course, is that while Pitt is not in the field, many of the fans with tickets to the games will be from Pittsburgh. That could work against the Mountaineers if they decide to join whatever fans Gonzaga brings to the games.
"We need all the help we can get, so I hope it helps,'' Huggins said when asked if there was any advantage to playing so close to home. "We're only going to get our allotment. Hopefully our fans can find ways to get tickets. They did when we went to [Washington, D.C. in 2008 and beat Arizona and Duke]. Hopefully they can do it again.''
For his part, Gonzaga's Few wasn't thrilled with the draw and the site, but he's not raising a fuss over it, even though four years ago his team was in a similar situation, seeded seventh and playing No. 10 Davidson in North Carolina. The Bulldogs lost that one.
"That's always hard to swallow, but there's so much criteria that goes into these things ... you start worrying about the 7 and 10 seeds, you'd never get it one,'' Few said. "But it's tough. That's twice we've been in this situation.''
West Virginia has never faced Gonzaga, but Huggins has. His Cincinnati teams were 1-1 against the Bulldogs, winning an early-season game in 1999-2000 when the Bearcats were ranked No. 1, and losing in the first round of the 2003 NCAA tournament.
It was in that 74-69 loss that both Huggins and a radio color commentator from Cincinnati were ejected from the game.
West Virginia was one of nine Big East teams to make the tournament field, two short of the record the league sent last season, but still the second-highest number from one conference in the tournament's history. The other Big East teams in the field are Syracuse (a No. 1 seed), Marquette (3), Georgetown (3), Louisville (4), Cincinnati (6), Notre Dame (7), Connecticut (9) and South Florida (12).
BRIEFLY: Of the 15 players on Gonzaga's roster, seven are from outside the United States, including four of the five starters. The top three scorers are Canadian freshman guard Kevin Pangos (13.8 points per game); 6-7, 240-pound German forward Elias Harris (13.1); and 7-foot Canadian center Robert Sacre (11.7).
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1