When West Virginia walked off their floor following the Mountaineers Sweet 16 loss to eventual national champion Villanova, it signified the end of an era.
The loss marked the final time senior guards Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. will don a West Virginia jersey. In the case of Carter, his departure is especially significant, as he’s the reigning back-to-back Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, a First-Team All-Big 12 performer, and the team’s leading scorer with 17.3 points per game, along with 6.6 assists per game.
Their absences will leave Bob Huggins tasked with retooling a rotation moving forward without its two most proven talents.
Yet, despite that fact, West Virginia still opens the offseason with the 11th-best odds to win the 2019 NCAA Tournament at 30/1.
2018-19 College Basketball National Championship Odds from Vegas: Duke Blue Devils favored to win it all at 5-1 (Villanova Wildcats 8-1 and Michigan Wolverines 20-1)!#NationalChampionship #GoBlue #LetsMarchNova @golfodds @JayKornegay @LVSuperBook #NCAAChampionship pic.twitter.com/0Esar1rq1u
— Johnny Detroit (@Johnny_Detroit) April 3, 2018
Among Big 12 teams, those odds trail only Kansas, which owns the second-best odds at 8/1.
Of course, to live up to those expectations, West Virginia will need to find new headliners. Although it’s possible Sagaba Konate departs for the NBA after finishing second in the nation in blocked shots, his return would obviously bolster the Mountaineers’ roster tremendously, and Esa Ahmad should be a force entering his senior season. Surrounding him will be James Bolden. Lamont West, and Wesley Harris, which will each be entering their junior campaigns to make up an experienced rotation.
Will that be enough to overcome the losses of Carter and Miles?
That remains to be seen, but as for now, West Virginia is still expected to be a force in 2018-19.