Mountaineers excited to head to NCAA tourney

As the Mountaineers prepare to head to Columbus to take on Buffalo in the first round of the NCAA tournament, several West Virginia players finally said what many thought last year about the team.

The Mountaineers weren't excited about playing in the NIT last season.

After working hard to improve of a 14-win season the year before, West Virginia fell short of the Big Dance for the second year in a row, WVU came up short of its ultimate goal for the second consecutive season and were on the wrong side of the bubble - instead suffering the fate of a first round defeat to Georgetown in the NIT at the high school-sized McDonough Gymnasium in what sophomore Devin Williams referred to as the "Not Invited" tournament.

But now that West Virginia is back in the NCAA tournament and looking to make a deep run, the Mountaineers are excited as ever to be back on the big stage with the entire nation watching.

Williams talked Tuesday about getting the chance to return to his home state of Ohio - along with fellow Ohio natives Juwan Staten and Elijah Macon - to play in Columbus against Buffalo on Friday, as well as potentially all the way through the Elite Eight with the sites that West Virginia could play in being located in Columbus and Cleveland, and the chance to play in his first NCAA tournament.

For Browne, it's a chance for the lone Mountaineer on the WVU roster to return to the NCAA tournament. Browne made his first appearance as a freshman when he led West Virginia with 15 points in a first-round loss to Gonzaga. The last few years have made Browne realize that you can't take chances like this for granted, but at this point the Mountaineers have to treat it like business as usual and keep moving toward their goals.

And Staten will be making his NCAA tourney debut as a senior, looking to put a solid end on his illustrious college career. The Dayton, Ohio, native said he's full go and will be ready to make an impact on the court again this weekend against Buffalo after missing the Mountaineers' last four games.

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