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The Shotgun/Throwdown: 2011 NCAA Tournament Round of 64, Day 1 (3/17/11) Edition

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Welcome, By-Godders, to the Shotgun/Throwdown, WVU's nationally recognized best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor and daily distractions. We're being brought to you today by Smithwick's, in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Slainte!!!

Yes, it's St. Patrick's Day and the REAL opening day of the NCAA Tournament. Livers are gonna be suffering tomorrow. WVU has the honor of opening the day's festivities at 12:15 against Clemson. There are plenty of previews and a complete viewing guide for today's contests inside. And don't forget to fill out your brackets in The Smoking Musket Bracket Challenge (you still have time, deadline is Noon EDT). I feel like I'm on a game-show right now: the password is humpday.

If you have any tips, suggestions or requests for content that you think is worth sharing, you can send them to me by email or Twitter and don't forget to "LIKE" the Smoking Musket MAIN PAGE on Facebook (follow this link, then hit "LIKE" at the top of the page). Many thanks to those who already "LIKE" us. We now stand at 688. 700 is getting closer and closer. Please, spread the word!! See ya after the jump. Take a long lunch, enjoy the games and festivities and...

Let's GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What You May Have Missed:

NCAA Tourney Tidbits - MSNsportsNET.Com

WVU is once more talking about practice - WVU Sports with Mike Casazza

Let’s get into the thing no one wants to get into - WVU Sports with Mike Casazza

NCAA tournament 2011: Best-case/worst-case scenarios for 66 teams - ESPN

WVUSportsBuzz - yfrog Photo
New shoes the guys (and women?) are gonna be wearing today and subsequent games in the Dance

The Big East's best: No. 4 - Big East Blog - ESPN
Geno Smith

Football: Season Ticket Renewal Statements - MSNsportsNET.Com
Season ticket renewal statements for the 2011 WVU football season have been mailed to 2010 season ticket holders. Season ticket holders can renew their tickets online at and save $10 on the order fee. The priority renewal deadline is Friday, May 13.

News of Note:

NCAA Tournament Preview: Clemson - BGN

WVU Men's Basketball Game Preview: WVU vs. Clemson -

Preview article includes a small gallery and a few videos

Mountaineers set to begin NCAA Tournament against Clemson - Daily Athenaeum

Logistics of Play-In Game in Question for WVU, Clemson -

WVU arrives in Tampa feeling fresh, confident - Charleston Daily Mail

Clemson rested, ready to go against Mountaineers - Charleston Gazette

After late-night flight, Clemson rested, ready to go - Charleston Daily Mail

Clemson has had hectic NCAA Tournament run so far - Daily Athenaeum

West Virginia, Clemson dealing with unfamiliarity - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Notebook: WVU Ready for Clemson Tigers, NCAA Tournament -

‘Eers expect tough test - Bluefield Daily Telegraph (AP)

March into madness - Times West Virginian
Doing ‘the best you can’ Huggins’ focus in NCAA play

Tourney Time - Parkersburg News and Sentinel

No. 12 seed upsetting No. 5 seed an NCAA Tournament guarantee - Andy Staples -

Mitchell feeling good from head to toe - Charleston Gazette

Is it Mazzulla's time to shine? - Charleston Gazette
Senior guard leads WVU into NCAA opener vs. Clemson

WVU senior closes in on record - Charleston Daily Mail
Joe Mazzulla

Unfinished business for Jonnie West - Times West Virginian
Hertzel Column

NCAA Press Conference - Mountaineer TV
West Virginia players John Flowers, Joe Mazzulla and Kevin Jones attend Wednesday's press conference at St. Pete Times Forum.

NCAA Preview - Mountaineer TV
MSN’s Tony Caridi and Jay Jacobs preview West Virginia’s NCAA tournament game against Clemson Thursday at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. Tipoff is set for 12:15 p.m.

VIDEO: WVU NCAA Second Round Interviews -
Huggs, JFlow, Truck, Casey and a couple from Clemson

Photo Gallery: Getting Ready - BGN
A look inside the St. Pete Times Forum as final touches are applied for today's practice session and tomorrow's second round games.

Photo Gallery II: NCAA Practice - BGN

Around the League (and Beyond):

Melvin Johnson III's career game helps UTSA run over Alabama State - ESPN

VCU holds USC to one field goal in final nine minutes to advance - ESPN

Wanamaker has quote of the year (maybe the decade, maybe ever) - PPG
"We got a hungry chip on our backs again." - There's that Pitt edu-ma-cation proudly on display

Gates motivated by graduation - Cincinnati Enquirer
He says he will return for his senior year

'If we just play our game, we'll be fine' - Cincinnati Enquirer
Wright, Bearcats intend to stay grounded against Mizzou's pressing, running style

It's defining time for Louisville basketball - Courier-Journal

Zone-busting: Have the Huskies finally put their offensive woes behind them? - The UConn Blog

For All Of The Villanova Doubters... - The Nova Blog

NCAA Tournament, Syracuse vs. Indiana State: HD Or Not HD - Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician

NCAA Tournament St. John's vs Gonzaga: 5 questions with the Slipper Still Fits - Rumble In The Garden

Scouting the Enemy: When Xavier Has the Ball - Anonymous Eagle

Georgetown’s Chris Wright practices with team - Washington Post

Field of 68 too many for tournament - Daily Athenaeum

What's On Tap:

2011 NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship Tournament (all times listed are EDT)

(12) Clemson Tigers vs. (5) West Virginia Mountaineers - Preview - ESPN
12:15 from Tampa on CBS

(9) Old Dominion Monarchs vs. (8) Butler Bulldogs - Preview - ESPN
12:40 from the Phone Booth in DC on truTV

(13) Morehead State Eagles vs. (4) Louisville Cardinals - Preview - ESPN
1:40 from Denver on TBS

(10) Penn State Nittany Lions vs. (7) Temple Owls - Preview - ESPN
2:10 from Tucson on TNT

(13) Princeton Tigers vs. (4) Kentucky Wildcats - Preview - ESPN
2:45 from Tampa on CBS

(16) North Carolina-Asheville Bulldogs vs. (1) Pittsburgh Panthers - Preview - ESPN
3:10 from the Phone Booth on truTV

(12) Richmond Spiders vs. (5) Vanderbilt Commodores - Preview - ESPN
4:10 from Denver on TBS

(15) Northern Colorado Bears vs. (2) San Diego State Aztecs - Preview - ESPN
4:40 from Tucson on TNT

(15) UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. (2) Florida Gators - Preview - ESPN
6:50 from Tampa on TBS

(14) Wofford Terriers vs. (3) Brigham Young Cougars - Preview - ESPN
7:15 from Denver on CBS

(14) Bucknell Bison vs. (3) Connecticut Huskies - Preview - ESPN
7:20 from the Phone Booth on TNT

(13) Belmont Bruins vs. (4) Wisconsin Badgers - Preview - ESPN
7:27 from Tucson on truTV

(10) Michigan State Spartans vs. (7) UCLA Bruins - Preview - ESPN
9:20 from Tampa on TBS

(11) Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. (6) St. John's Red Storm - Preview - ESPN
9:45 from Denver on CBS

(11) Missouri Tigers vs. (6) Cincinnati Bearcats - Preview - ESPN
9:50 from the Phone Booth on TNT

(12) Utah State Aggies vs. (5) Kansas State Wildcats - Preview - ESPN
9:57 from Tucson on truTV

Videos of Interest:

Video of (Dis)Interest:

Miss Throwdown:

Today's Miss Throwdown is yes, once again, the lovely Miss Candice Swanepoel. I may hang out in her bushes, but 5YS hangs out in the bushes of the Puskar Center...who's more weird now? Don't answer that. Here's today's gallery (click on the picture, link includes 4 bonus galleries) and two videos.

Here's the best 12 seconds you'll ever spend...unless you're Rick Pitino. HEY-OO!!

Smithwick's image via