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Mountaineer Morning Links: Wednesday (3/18/14) Edition

Hoops previews/features, Baseball tops Akron, Football notes, Rifle team celebrates Championship, recruiting updates, WVUPros reports, 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 Blue Moon Spring Blonde Wheat Ale.

What You May Have Missed:

Baseball Defeats Akron Behind 20 Hits - WVU Athletics
The WVU baseball team tied a season high in hits.

WVU Rips Zips, Tops Akron 14-9 - BGN
Ray Guerrini hit a grand slam for his first career home run and West Virginia racked up 20 hits in beating Akron 14-9 on Tuesday.

Mazey, WVU Battery Talk Win Over Akron - BGN
Here, head coach Randy Mazey, along with starting pitcher BJ Myers and catcher Ray Guerrini, discuss the contest and the decision to pitch Myers in a midweek game.

NCAA Champion Rifle Team Celebrates 2015 Win! - WVU Athletics
Coach Jon Hammond and the WVU rifle team celebrated its 2015 NCAA win.

Rifle Team Brings Home More Championships - BGN
West Virginia's rifle team is a dynasty. The team has accumulated a nation's best 17 total national championships, including the past three in a row. The latest titlists, along with their head coach, Jon Hammond, recapped their year and their experience in Alaska, where they defeated the homestanding UA Nanooks to bring home the trophy.

WVU Rifle Returns with National Championship Hardware - WVillustrated
Coach Jon Hammond and the national champion WVU Rifle team returned to campus Monday before meeting with the media and a gathering of fans to celebrate a 17th title.

Becht enjoying career as football analyst - Beckley Register-Herald
After 11 seasons in the NFL, Anthony Becht’s body let him know it was time to hang up the cleats.

News of Note:

Huggins Returns to Hoops Roots - WVU Athletics
Bob Huggins returns to his Ohio hoop roots this weekend.

WVU happy to return to big stage of NCAA tournament - Charleston Daily Mail
There is a joke to be made about West Virginia’s most-experienced NCAA tournament player, but Gary Browne takes that role seriously.

About Buffalo - WVU Sports with Mike Casazza
What we know from a quick glance about West Virginia’s first round opponent Friday is that it’s a MAC school coached by maybe the best college point guard ever, and The State University of New York at Buffalo is making its first ever trip to the NCAA tournament.

Mountaineers dig in for ‘two-game tournament’ - Charleston Gazette
"I’ve probably made all the mistakes you can make,’’ Huggins said Tuesday.

With Staten, Browne back in mix, WVU at full strength - Exponent Telegram
Without Staten and Browne, a number of roles changed on the Mountaineer team for the final four games of the year.

Kentucky still must earn title - Exponent Telegram
See, Staten really believes that WVU has a chance to win it all.

Can ‘brand-new team’ snap WVU’s 7-game postseason losing streak? - WV MetroNews
The Mountaineers haven't won a postseason game of any sort since 2011, but they hope to change that against Buffalo on Friday.

Mountain State coach had first peek at Buffalo - Charleston Gazette
See, Wheeling Jesuit traveled to frigid Buffalo back on Nov. 9 to play an exhibition game against the Bulls.

Gold & Blue Now: Tuesday, March 17 - WV MetroNews
Bowling Green assistant Mark Downey, joins us to breakdown Buffalo.

Breaking down West Virginia’s side of the Columbus Bracket in the NCAA Tournament - Daily Athenaeum
With senior guards Juwan Staten and Gary Browne looking like they will be good to go for the big dance, West Virginia’s odds of making a run and making it out of Columbus increased exponentially.

After long journey, West Virginia's Staten returns home for NCAA Tournament - Pittsburgh Tribune Review
The West Virginia senior guard's latest and perhaps greatest test arrives Friday — in an arena that sits a little more than an hour from his family's Dayton home.

WVU Seniors Ready to "Go Out with a Bang" - WVillustrated
Gary Browne and Juwan Staten have waited a long time for this NCAA Tournament and neither are willing to let injuries stand in their way of helping the Mountaineers make a run.

VIDEO: Huggs previews Buffalo - BGN
There's a good chance West Virginia could have its hands full when it takes on a talented Buffalo team Friday in the Round of 64 at the 2015 NCAA tournament.

WVSports.com TV: Basketball Interviews - WVSports.com
Huggs, D. Williams, Browne & Holton

WATCH: Huggins, Mountaineers Talk Buffalo Match-Up - WVillustrated
Huggs, D. Williams, Browne, Staten & Paige

NCAA tournament Midwest Region: Dream and nightmare scenarios - Yahoo Sports
From Yahoo Sports: What are the best- and worst-case scenarios for your team this NCAA tournament? Yahoo's Pat Forde breaks it down.

2015 NCAA Tournament Midwest Region: Previewing #12 Buffalo Bulls vs #5 West Virginia Mountaineers with the Four Factors - Bull Run
West Virginia has built its success this year on a nation-leading offensive rebounding percentage and a wildly aggressive defense that forces turnover more than 25% of the time, two stats that directly flow into the Four Factors.

Guessing game: Where will each Big 12 team tap out of the NCAA tournament? - WV MetroNews
After zero Elite Eight appearances the past two years, the league needs to show some March muscle. Allan Taylor's bracket projections for all seven qualifiers.

WVU Biggest Loser - Revenue-Wise - in NCAA Tournament - EerSports
According to a report from ESPN's Darren Rovell, 28 of the 68 teams in this year's NCAA Tournament either broke even or lost money on their men's basketball team in 2013-2014.

Football

Freshman trio join Skyler Howard in West Virginia's QB derby - Big 12 Blog - ESPN
William Crest, David Sills and Chris Chugunov are the relative unknowns in the competition to be the starting quarterback at West Virginia this spring. That trio of freshmen join Skyler Howard in the horse race which has started with Howard a couple of lengths ahead of the competition.

WVU defense taking shape at spring practices - Daily Athenaeum
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen and defensive coordinator Tony Gibson have lots to be excited about as the Mountaineers continue spring practice this week.

Take Two: Tougher to replace, Kevin White or Paul Dawson? - ESPN
Losing White's other-worldly downfield pass-catching ability could have a severe impact on the Mountaineers.

Kevin White might have the highest upside of any receiver in the NFL Draft - SBNation.com
Retired NFL defensive end Stephen White takes a closer look at West Virginia receiver Kevin White, who has the potential to be the best receiver in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Helmet Madness: college football bracket: Sweet 16 voting - CBSSports.com
Osborne Regional: (8) West Virginia vs. (5) Navy

Recruiting:

WVU football recruiting: Sutton liked what he saw in Morgantown - Charleston Gazette
Linebacker Tymar Sutton, who is from McKeesport, Pennsylvania, was one of more than three dozen prospects who made their way to Morgantown over the weekend.

Tatum lands WVU offer - EerSports
Offensive tackle Marcus Tatum (Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland) took to Twitter to announce West Virginia offered.

SC’s Knapper tops All-Kanawha Valley boys - Charleston Daily Mail
With a commitment to West Virginia University in hand and less pressure, South Charleston point guard Brandon Knapper finished the boys basketball season second in the Kanawha Valley in scoring.

WVU commit Harler handles heat, pours in the points - Charleston Daily Mail
The 36 points, including eight 3-pointers, didn’t matter to Wheeling Central basketball star Chase Harler. The loss did.

Pro News:

VIDEO: Mountaineers In The Pros 2014 by Doug Cross - WVUPros
Video creator extraordinaire and consultant with WVU football Doug Cross (@DougityDog) released his annual Mountaineers in the Pros 2014 video on Tuesday.

Top 5 highest paid WVU players in the NFL - WVUPros
who has the largest contracts among WVUPros in the NFL going into next season? Here’s the list.

Around the League (and Beyond):

Baylor men's zone defense an issue for opponents - Waco Tribune

Selection Sunday just the start of what ISU’s after - Ames Tribune

Can the Kansas Jayhawks actually play up to their seed? - Rock Chalk Talk

Blame spread around for K-State's season of turmoil - Topeka Capital Journal

Path to the Championship - Crimson And Cream Machine

A Way Too In Depth Look At Oregon - Cowboys Ride For Free

Texas Longhorns March Madness Basketball: Butler Bulldogs Scouting Report - Barking Carnival

Declining CBI Bid was the Right Decision for TCU - Frogs O' War

Coach Kingsbury Talks 2015 Season - Viva The Matadors

What's On Tap:

WNIT First Round Tip Set for 7 p.m. Thursday - WVU Athletics
Tipoff for the WNIT first round game has been set.

Video of Interest:

Video of (Dis)Interest:

Hump Day Video of the Week:

Miss Throwdown:

Today's Miss Throwdown is an Irish lass who I should have featured yesterday. CLICK HERE for today's gallery of Nadia Forde.