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Mountaineer Morning Links: Wednesday (3/25/15) Edition

Sweet Sixteen previews, football notes, women advance in WNIT, baseball wins, recruiting notes, Big 12 roundup & more.


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 Highland Brewing's Little Hump Spring Ale, in honor of Hump Day.

What You May Have Missed:

Early Runs Lead Baseball to Victory - WVU Athletics
The WVU baseball team used an eight-run first inning.

Bats Boom Early In WVU Win - BGN
Powered by a Shaun Wood grand slam, West Virginia scored eight runs in the first inning on the way to a 14-4 win over Stephen F. Austin in non-conference baseball action on Tuesday.

WVU Reaches 20-Win Mark, Advances in WNIT - WVU Athletics
WVU rallies past Hampton for 20th win.

POSTGAME VIDEO: WVU Women's Coach Carey and Players React to Win - WVillustrated
Watch full video interviews with West Virginia Women's Coach Mike Carey and his players following their 57-39 win over Hampton in the second round of the WNIT.

Cheerleaders of the 2015 NCAA Sweet Sixteen [Photos]
We've put the March Madness Sweet Sixteen cheerleaders in a head-to-head competition just like their teams. Vote for your favorites now.

Wearing the Jersey: Kelly Kramer - WVU Athletics
This week's profile is on Lakewood, Ohio resident Kelly Kramer, a senior on the WVU rowing team.

Two endowed scholarships named in honor of Gary McPherson at VMI and WVU - Times West Virginian
Gary "Mac" McPherson, who coached at the college level for more than 40 years, has been honored with his naming of endowed basketball scholarships at both VMI and West Virginia University.

News of Note:

Wildcats Tall Order for WVU - WVU Athletics
Kentucky is tallest team in college basketball.

UK’s numbers boggle the mind, but merit a look - Charleston Daily Mail
The University of Kentucky has a stellar set of game notes. A total of 191 pages. All the information a columnist like myself can sit and divulge for hours and hours.

Kentucky’s strength is shutting down opposition - Charleston Gazette
"They’re so long,’’ Huggins said of this year’s version of UK. "I believe the stat is they block one shot every five possessions. That’s phenomenal when you stop and think about it.’’

Kentucky’s unprecedented size will have Mountaineers looking up - WV MetroNews
Three matchups where West Virginia must overcome a substantial height disadvantage against the long, tall Wildcats.

Scoring will be a challenge for Mountaineers - Exponent Telegram
Kentucky is third in the nation, allowing just 53.9 points per game and is No. 1 in the nation allowing teams to shoot just 35.1 percent against it.

WVU coach holds upper hand in battles with UK’s top Cat - Charleston Gazette
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins has had his way against Kentucky’s John Calipari over the years.

WVU's Huggins has seen Calipari's act before - Pittsburgh Tribune Review
West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins knows well what his Mountaineers are about to face.

Kentucky Basketball: Examining West Va, By The Numbers + Huggins vs. Calipari Hype - A Sea Of Blue
As we head into the sweet 16 matchup against West Virginia, I wanted to examine the numbers behind the 'Cats vs. the Mountaineers as well as the Huggins vs. Cal hype

Best Bob Huggins Quotes From 2015 NCAA Tournament - CBS DC
West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins is not a man of many words, swapping 'coach speak' platitudes for blunt descriptions.

Strengths and weaknesses for Sweet 16 teams in the NCAA tournament - ESPN
Here's a look at what it will take to keep playing or get sent packing

West Virginia’s Upset Strategy Against Kentucky: Press, Press, Press - NY Times
The Mountaineers swarm, trap, jab, club, bother and bruise their opponents up and down the court, underneath the basket and on the baseline. Their goal seems to be annihilation.

Shane Battier: ‘West Virginia Will Beat Kentucky’ - Gio And Jones/CBS Sports Radio
"They’re No. 1 in forcing turnovers," Battier said. "They’re going to force 20 turnovers (against Kentucky). They are (one of the best teams in) offensive rebounding. What’s Kentucky’s weakness? Offensive rebounding. I think most importantly the toughness of West Virginia is going to give Kentucky problems. They’re going to sock them in the mouth and we’ll see how Kentucky reacts. I’m excited."

Pundits Working Overtime To Find Ways West Virginia Beats The Kentucky Wildcats - A Sea Of Blue
Everyone wants to find the team to upset Kentucky. Is West Virginia that team? Unlikely.

Huggins Previews Kentucky, Talks Comparisons to 2010 - EerSports
Once West Virginia put the final touches on their second round win over Maryland on Sunday night, the comparisons to the Mountaineers’ matchup with an invincible Kentucky team from 2010 were almost immediate.

Preparing for undefeated -
West Virginia will head to Cleveland Tuesday to prepare for its Sweet 16 showdown with No. 1 overall seed and undefeated Kentucky and head coach Bob Huggins knows he will have his work cut out for him when it comes to doing what 36 other teams haven't done this season.

Unbeaten mark adds pressure to Kentucky - Exponent Telegram
Greatness is earned. It cannot be bestowed upon you, nor can you stumble into it.

Preview: WVU vs Kentucky - BGN
West Virginia tries to do what 36 opponents have not been able to accomplish this year -- knock off Kentucky in a men's basketball game.

WVU ready for Sweet 16 matchup vs. UK - BGN
West Virginia will face the biggest test of its season Thursday night in Cleveland when it takes on No. 1 Kentucky in the Sweet 16.

Big 12 Toughness Lends Helping Hand to Mountaineers - WVillustrated
After experiencing life in the Big 12 Conference this year, the Mountaineers hope to use that knowledge in a battle against No. 1 and unbeaten Kentucky on Thursday night.

Hometown Mountaineer knows what's important - Pittsburgh Tribune Review
Nobody had to teach Nathan Adrian the words to "Take Me Home, Country Roads," or the actual roads themselves.

Gold & Blue Now: Tuesday, March 24 - WV MetroNews
Garrett and Brad recap the Maryland win and look ahead to the Sweet 16 matchup against No. 1 Kentucky.

Addition by Subtraction: WVU Uses Fresh Faces to Turn Fortunes - WVillustrated
A year removed from an offseason of transfers, the Mountaineers enter the Sweet Sixteen with a new look and a new attitude.

2015 NCAA tournament Sweet 16, Final Four picks -
Kentucky vs. West Virginia (Thursday, 9:45 p.m., CBS)

West Virginia can't lose against Wildcats - Beckley Register-Herald: College Sports
The headline got you interested, didn’t it?

Final Four is the holy grail, but Sweet 16 should be seen as success - FOX Sports
West Virginia stands out as the Sweet 16 team which, more than any other, has squeezed every last drop of potential from its roster.

Kentucky, W.Va. governors wager on Sweet 16 game - Beckley Register-Herald
Some signature goodies are up for grabs in a friendly wager between the governors of West Virginia and Kentucky ahead of the Sweet 16 matchup between the states' two flagship universities.

1 Shining Moment For a 2-Sided State - Michaelpowelson
This is from a few years ago, but still just as appropriate today

Photo Gallery: NCAA Travel Day Sweet 16 Mar. 24, 2015 - WVU Athletics


Mountaineer Football Officially Hires Assistant Coach Mark Scott - WVillustrated
Mark Scott is in his first year as an assistant coach working with the defense and special teams and in his fourth year with the West Virginia University football program.

West Virginia Mountaineers 2015 Spring Football Preview |
West Virginia rebounded from a 4-8 mark in 2013 to finish 7-6 and earn its first winning record (5-4) in Big 12 action since joining the league. The Mountaineers return 16 starters for 2015, including talented running back Rushel Shell and defensive backs Daryl Worley (CB) and Karl Joseph (S).

On the spot: West Virginia Mountaineers receiver Shelton Gibson - ESPN
The Mountaineers are looking for playmakers on the outside and Gibson is one of the favorites in the battle to fill the void left by former WVU receivers Kevin White and Mario Alford.

Rams checking out White - St. Louis - Scout
The St. Louis Rams are doing their homework on one of the top wide receiver prospects in the 2015 Draft.


Esa Ahmad Takes WVA to Another Level - Scout
The Mountaineers are already a Sweet 16 team. With Ahmad, a four-star power forward prospect, there could be even bigger things in store for the Mountaineers.

WVU recruiting: Huggins’ recruits impressed by Mountaineer run - Charleston Gazette
Wheeling Central shooting guard Chase Harler, who’s committed as a member of the Class of 2016, says it makes him want to get to Morgantown even more.

WVU’s hoops future looks bright - Charleston Gazette
And today that future looks quite bright. In case you missed it, 6-foot-7 Mountaineer signee Esa Ahmad of Shaker Heights High was named Ohio’s co-player of the year.

Cupp Set Up For Big Spring - EerSports
One of the top offensive linemen still available in Ohio for the Class of 2016 is Leipsic's Gavin Cupp.

Pro News:

Todd Bowles: Geno Smith's our 'No. 1 guy right now' -
Jets owner Woody Johnson raised eyebrows on Monday when he told reporters at the NFL Annual Meeting that Geno Smith was "way ahead" of Marcus Mariota.

Around the League (and Beyond):

LaQuan McGowan catching balls ONE-HANDED - Our Daily Bears

Clayton Custer Transferring From Iowa State - Wide Right & Natty Lite

It's been hit or miss in the NCAA Tournament for Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks - Rock Chalk Talk

Foster Gone! - Bring On The Cats

Sooners TE Taylor McNamara will Transfer to USC - Crimson And Cream Machine

Oklahoma State report card: Grading the Cowboys' 2014-15 season - Oklahoman (autoplay)

Five Texas Longhorns out for spring practice, others limited - Burnt Orange Nation

TCU's Patterson prepares for another big season - WFAA

Lil'Jordan Humphrey uses his size to thrive at running back - Lubbock Avalanche Journal

What's On Tap:

WVU alumni plan for game on Thursday - Charleston Daily Mail
Berry said the association has organized a 6 p.m. meet-and-greet at Zocalo Mexican Grill and Tequileria, which is about a five-minute walk from the arena.

Video of Interest:

I know, I know...but he spends most of the time talking about WVU & Huggs

Video of (Dis)Interest:

Hump Day Video of the Week:

Miss Throwdown:

Today's Miss Throwdown is a beautiful Argentinian. CLICK HERE for today's gallery of Ana Lucia Blaksley.