West Virginia University's 73-66 win over Kentucky in Saturday's NCAA men's tournament game earned Gov. Joe Manchin a Louisville Slugger from his Bluegrass State counterpart, the result of a friendly wager, The Register-Herald reports.
"As part of the bet, Manchin put up a product of the renown Blenko Glass Co.," the Beckley newspaper noted. "'I might give him the glass anyway,' Manchin said. 'That way, they’ll always remember our win.'"
MetroNews is among those carrying Manchin's statement praising the Mountaineers for their conduct on and off the court.
The Charleston Daily Mail observes that those rooting for WVU in its April 3 Final Four appearance will include U.S. Reps. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, and Nick Rahall, D-3rd, both alumni of opponent Duke.
"Meanwhile, Rahall said his wife, Melinda, a native of Ashland who graduated from the University of Kentucky, still isn't speaking to him after WVU's upset win over the Wildcats," that article said.
(Rahall threw in a "Go Mountaineers" line during a brief interview last week with The Associated Press. But AP also reports that Las Vegas oddsmakers made Duke "a 2.5-point favorite to beat West Virginia in the semifinals" and "a 7-5 favorite to win the title." The gambling consultants added that "either Duke or West Virginia would likely be favored over Butler or Michigan State in the finals," putting the Mountaineers' odds "at 2-1.")
Update: President Barack Obama touted WVU's chances during an appearance on NBC's Today (about 4 minutes into the interview segment). He quickly qualified his pick by predicting that the winner of the WVU-Duke matchup would prevail in the finals:
Host Matt Lauer had noted that of the four states with teams left in the tournament, Obama had carried all but West Virginia in 2008.