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Mountaineer Morning Links: Monday (3/16/15) Edition

WVU in NCAA reactions, football practice reports, Holgorsen completes staff, recruiting updates, pro updates, Big 12 roundup & more.

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Welcome, By-Godders, to the Shotgun/Throwdown, WVU's best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor and daily distractions. We're being brought to you today by Dancing Bear Bavarian Extra Pils ('cause the hoops team is going dancing this week).

What You May Have Missed:

National Champs Score 23 All-America Honors - WVU Athletics
On the heels of its third straight and nation-best 17th national championship, the No. 1 West Virginia University rifle team scored 23 All-America honors at the NCAA Postseason Banquet, March 14, in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Baseball Falls in Rubber Match at No. 16 Texas - WVU Athletics
The WVU baseball team dropped the series at No. 16 Texas.

WVU Drops Series With Texas - BGN
West Virginia hit the ball hard on several occasions and got a good starting outing from Chad Donato, but key mistakes allowed Texas to cruise to a 5-1 Big 12 baseball victory in Austin on Sunday.

WVU posts season-high score at Senior Night - Daily Athenaeum
In a sweep of all events, the Mountaineers posted their highest score of the season, 196.075, and took the win.

Overcoming the Odds: Lanay Montgomery - WVU Athletics
Center Lanay Montgomery overcome the odds to be successful at WVU.

News of Note:

WVU to Face Buffalo in NCAA Tournament - WVU Athletics
West Virginia making first trip to NCAAs since 2012.

WVU seeded No. 5 in NCAA tournament, will face Buffalo on Friday - Charleston Daily Mail
Sunday was the day Juwan Staten has been waiting a while for.

No. 5 seed WVU draws Buffalo and will play in Columbus - Charleston Gazette
West Virginia got just the kind of location its fans will love in the NCAA tournament. The seed isn’t bad, either.

WVU men get No. 5 in NCAA tournament - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
For Bobby Hurley — whose father, Bob, presides over an empire at St. Anthony High School, which has won 27 New Jersey state titles — life was largely the same as it was for Huggins growing up.

WVU gets No. 5 seed, will play No. 12 Buffalo in 1st round of NCAA Tournament - Pittsburgh Tribune Review
"We feel like we got a good first game, and we definitely want to go out there and impose our will on Buffalo," said senior guard Juwan Staten

Mountaineers to meet Buffalo in NCAA Tournament - Exponent Telegram
“It’s great,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said of the location. “It’s 200 miles from here. Our fans can get to it. Tickets will be an issue.”

WVU draws Buffalo in NCAA Tournament - Beckley Register-Herald
After a two-year hiatus, the Mountaineers are dancing again.

WVU Opens With Buffalo - Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register
No. 5 Mountaineers could get Kentucky in Sweet 16

Mountaineers bound for Columbus as fifth seed to face Buffalo - WV MetroNews
West Virginia will face the MAC champion and their famous coach Bobby Hurley on Friday in the NCAA first round.

WVU pegged as popular upset victim by pundits - Charleston Daily Mail
If Bob Huggins has his druthers, the Buffalo men’s basketball team will bookend its 2014-15 season with a team from the Mountain State.

Pressure could give WVU edge in NCAA tourney - Charleston Gazette
"We feel like that’s something that’s definitely going to be to our advantage in the tournament.’’

Home-state NCAA debut gives Staten ‘special’ feeling after injury doubts - WV MetroNews
West Virginia point guard pondered severity of knee injury:

Mountaineers to begin Big Dance with Buffalo - WVUPros
The Mountaineers will get things started Friday

WVU Receives Five-Seed in Midwest Region - EerSports
The winner of the game will play the winner of Maryland and Valparaiso, while undefeated Kentucky will likely be waiting in the Sweet Sixteen.

WVU Draws Five Seed, Close Location in NCAAs - BGN
After a two-year absence from the NCAA tournament, West Virginia returns to the big show with a number five seeding and a first round match-up with #12 Buffalo in Columbus, OH.

No. 5 WVU to Face Buffalo in NCAA Tournament - WVillustrated
Mountaineers will play Friday in Columbus against the Bulls in the same region as undefeated No. 1 Kentucky.

Player Reaction: NCAA Tournament Bid - BGN
Juwan Staten and Gary Browne are primed to return for West Virginia's first NCAA Tournament bid in three seasons. Here, the senior guards detail their thoughts, the team reaction, the match-up and playing on Friday instead of Thursday - giving both an extra day to heal injuries.

2015 NCAA Tournament Midwest Region Preview: Kentucky Favorite to Final Four, but Kansas Looms - Mid-Major Madness
Best First Round Upset: Buffalo Bulls

NCAA Midwest Region preview - ESPN
One thing the region does have plenty of, though, is top point guards.

WATCH: WVU Coach Huggins and Players React to NCAA Tournament Ma - WVillustrated
Huggs, Browne & Staten

WVSports.com TV: Basketball Interviews - WVSports.com
Huggs, Staten & Browne

WVU hoops, football and the nation’s top LB - Charleston Gazette
The views from here

Photo Gallery: Selection Sunday Mar. 15, 2015 - WVU Athletics

Football

Dana Holgorsen: Spring Football Update - WVU Athletics
Video & transcript here

Holgorsen Announces Final Coaching Addition - EerSports
Meeting with the media prior to today's first spring practice, Dana Holgorsen made his final hire official, adding long-time graduate assistant Mark Scott to the coaching staff.

Mark Scott Hiring Headlines WVU’s First Spring Practice - WVillustrated
News and notes from West Virginia's first practice of the spring season, which was held on Sunday evening in Morgantown.

Holgorsen placing early emphasis on turnovers - Charleston Gazette
It was easy for Dana Holgorsen to decide where to put the emphasis when his team began spring drills Sunday.

Six key spring issues for Mountaineers - Exponent Telegram
It’s time for spring football at West Virginia University.

WVU opens spring practice - BGN
Although there won't be games played for another few months, a new season kicked off Sunday as the West Virginia football team began spring practice.

Five questions facing West Virginia entering spring practice - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
With spring practice kicking off Sunday, here are a few questions that could define the Mountaineers season

Galloway: WR Position a Work in Progress - WVU Athletics
WVU must replace two NFL-caliber players at WR this spring.

WVU receivers coach searches for replacements for White, Alford - Charleston Daily Mail
"They’re all going to get a shot," Galloway said last week before the Mountaineers opened spring football drills Sunday.

West Virginia football team kicks off spring practice - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Perhaps more importantly, the Mountaineers opened their new team meeting room, something that Holgorsen said will help with both recruiting and to help the players already in Morgantown.

WVU opens spring practice - Beckley Register-Herald
Most fans of college sports were focused on basketball Sunday, as the field for the 2015 NCAA Tournament was announced shortly after 6 p.m. But at West Virginia University, it was also football season — spring football, that is.

WVU Spring Football: Offense - BGN
There are a lot of questions surrounding the WVU offense this year. Who will be starting at the Quarterback position? Will anyone be able to fill Kevin White and Mario Alford's shoes? We get our first look at spring practice with these clips.

Gibson expects greatness from defense - Exponent Telegram
A year ago, Gibson reshaped the Mountaineer defense, a defense that was among the nation’s most porous the previous two years

Defensive Outlook: Gibson and Mitchell - BGN
West Virginia's defense returns 10 starters - coordinator Tony Gibson counts Jared Barber among them - and is primed for the pressure and expectations of such. Here, Gibson, along with cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell, preview the expectations and goals of the upcoming spring session.

More WVU Spring Preview: S&C and OL - BGN
West Virginia has multiple goals entering the spring practice sessions, perhaps none more so than the continued improvement of both lines. That entails every bit of the development abilities of offensive line coach Ron Crook and director of strength and conditioning Mike Joseph. Here,t he two discuss their goals, and the issues and improvements identified.

WVU Spring Football Outlook: Linebackers - BGN
The second installment of our West Virginia spring football preview looks at a position of strength on the Mountaineer defense.

Cornerbacks, DBs "Leaps and Bounds" Better Than Last Year - EerSports
For the first time since Dana Holgorsen arrived in Morgantown, West Virginia will trot out the most experienced defensive backfield in the Big12, and maybe the country.

Hallelujah - WVU Sports with Mike Casazza
Between the enhanced offices and the spectacular weight room and this, WVU’s got a few of the corner pieces in place, and the school will start filling in the middle with that super bond and all the work included in those plans.

Coaches, scouts disagree on Amari Cooper vs. Kevin White - NFL.com (autoplay)
Alabama's Amari Cooper and West Virginia's Kevin White are the top two wide receivers in the 2015 NFL Draft, but the order in which they will be chosen remains a question.

Photo Gallery: WVU football spring practice Mar. 15, 2015 - WVU Athletics

Recruiting:

In-State QB Commits to WVU - EerSports
Capital (WV) quarterback Tyrhee Pratt has committed to West Virginia, he informed EerSports this evening.

Capital QB Pratt commits to play football at WVU - Charleston Daily Mail
Capital quarterback Tyrhee Pratt ended his college football recruiting process Sunday when he made a verbal commitment to West Virginia University.

BREAKING: WVU Picks up Second Junior Day Commitment - EerSports
Just a couple hours after West Virginia added Capital (WV) quarterback Tyrhee Pratt, the Mountaineers secured the commitment of Sherwood (MD) wide receiver Marcus Simms.

Simms Makes It Two For Sunday - BGN
Just a week after listing a pair of Big Ten schools as co-leaders in his recruitment, a wide receiver made a switch to the Big 12.

3-star Sherwood WR Marcus Simms makes surprise commitment to West Virginia - Testudo Times
All five Crystal Ball predictions had him ending up in College Park.

Freshman Scores First Offer From WVU - Scout
Tipping the scales at 6-foot-1, 220-pounds, Hialeah (Fla.) Champagnat Catholic defensive standout Donovan Georges is just a freshman in high school, but scored his initial scholarship offer of the recruiting process from the West Virginia Mountaineers on Thursday evening.

Bob Huggins watching top 50 prospect - EerSports
Ward, a 6-9, 235-pound power forward, is ranked No. 50 in the 2016 247Sports Composite.

Pro News:

Once a Mountaineer ... - WVU Athletics
Former Mountaineer football players returned for a good cause.

New Jet Brandon Marshall sings Geno Smith's praises - NY Daily News
Geno Smith has a new teammate in his corner. And a new workout buddy as well.

Trickett: "I’ve Moved On & Happy Where I’m At" - EerSports
When asked about confronting the fact that he wasn’t participating as an NFL prospect with his former teammates, Trickett told media members that he knows he made the right decision and is exactly where he is supposed to be.

Around the League (and Beyond):

Baylor Lands a 3 Seed in the West Region - Our Daily Bears

Iowa State a 3 Seed in the South, Will Play UAB in Louisville - Wide Right & Natty Lite

Kansas draws 2 seed in the Midwest Regional opposite Kentucky - Rock Chalk Talk

Marcus Foster was at the center of Kansas State’s disappointing basketball season - Wichita Eagle

Sooners a 3 Seed in NCAA Tournament - Crimson And Cream Machine

9-Seed Oklahoma State Draws 8-Seed Oregon In The NCAA Tournament - Cowboys Ride For Free

Texas Longhorns Get 11-Seed in Midwest Region; Will Play the 6-Seed Butler Bulldogs - Burnt Orange Nation

TCU Left Out of NIT Field - Frogs O' War

Video: Texas Tech Pro Day - Viva The Matadors

What's On Tap:

National Championship Celebration - WVU Athletics
The 2015 NCAA Rifle team will meet with fans Tuesday at the Coliseum.

NCAA Tournament Ticket Information - WVU Athletics
Tickets on sale for WVU-Buffalo NCAA tournament game.

Video of Interest:

Coverage of Kevin White and WVU Pro Day from 10AM and 11AM Sportscenter on 3/13/2015

Video of (Dis)Interest:

Miss Throwdown:

Today's Miss Throwdown is another knockout from Down Under. CLICK HERE for today's gallery of Kahili Blundell.