The Morning Mix

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– Seth Davis provides his weekly Hoops Thoughts, which is a weekly must-read.This week he discusses UConn’s new athletic director and a host of other interesting basketball tidbits

– A fantastic statistical comparison of Steve Lavin and Ben Howland’s time at UCLA. (If you have 15 minutes to spare, I highly suggest you read this)

– The referees that worked Saturday’s game between Niagara and Rider have been suspended by the MAAC for their egregious clock error

– The NCAA is looking to streamline their rule book. Jon Solomon of the Birmingham New has some solid suggestions on how to make it more efficient

– The CAA is likely to only get one team into March Madness, but that may depend on how the conference’s teams fare in BracketBusters this week . Speaking of the CAA, they have signed a five-year media deal with NBC Sports

– The Summit League is the “Anti-Big Ten”. The conference has had more players produce 3-point performances than any other conference this season. The Big-Ten? They’ve had just two. But surprisingly enough, the SEC has had as many 30-point performances as both you and I combined

– Louisville might have lost last night, but you have to feel much better about them going forward

– Eamonn Brennan provides his weekly Poll Thoughts

– We’re all aware of the widespread mediocrity sweeping the Pac-12 landscape. But maybe, just maybe, there could be an exciting finish in store for us

– Say what you will about Jon Calipari. But there is not a coach in the country who “gets it” as much as Coach Cal does

– You probably didn’t think that Tennessee would even be near the this year, but they’ve gotten some big wins this year, and well, the Volunteers while likely be in the discussion come Selection Sunday

– NC-State is another team that is likely to be firmly planted on the bubble come Selection Sunday, but Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski likes the Wolfpack’s chances

– Oregon may be on the wrong side of the bubble now, but if they want to improve their chances, Carlos Emory is going to have to be a key contributor

– While we’re on the subject of bubble teams, we might as well show a little love to the West Virginia Mountaineers

– Remember when Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery got all pissed off and superplex’d a folding chair a few weeks back? Well, that chair is being auctioned off for $2,100

– Rush the Court’s Zach Hayes tells us about what he learned from Rivalry Week

– It looks like the MWC and C-USA will indeed merge to form a super-mid-high-major conference

– UConn has six games left on the regular season schedule. Can the Huskies solve their chemistry issues before the Big East Tournament? Speaking of UConn, both Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond sat out of practice on Monday due to injuries

– The key the Michigan State’s recent surge has been their stifling defense. Considering the old adage about defense and championships, and coach Izzo’s track record, this team should not be left out of the Final Four discussion

– It is likely that two of the four suspended Alabama players are allowed back on the court for tonight’s game against Florida.  Speaking of Florida, both will Yeguete and Mike Rosario will miss the game for the gators due to injuries

– Don’t look now, but Butler is making a very “Butler-like” late-season surge

– Jeff Withey had himself one helluva ball-game last night. There is no doubt that he is the most improved player in the country

Ken Pomeroy on Murray State. Nothing more needs to be said.Just go read it.

– Video of Peyton Siva grabbing his teammate’s butt? There’s a joke about his two late-game turnovers to be found somewhere in there

Kennedy Meeks to return to North Carolina

Kennedy Meeks
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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North Carolina center Kennedy Meeks announced on Wednesday that he would be withdrawing his name from NBA Draft consideration.

“I’m thankful I had the chance to explore my draft options, but I’m excited about the opportunity to rejoin my teammates and work toward having another outstanding season at UNC,” says Meeks. “I appreciate the support my coaches and teammates gave me during this process as we gathered information about my professional opportunities at this time. The feedback on what I have to work on so that I can have a great senior year, help my team have a great season and be ready to take that next step is invaluable.”

Meeks did not get an invitation to the NBA Draft combine, which is a pretty clear indication that he did not have a real chance to get drafted this year. But the new rule allows him to gather feedback on what he needs to do to improve and get himself into a position where he can land a professional contract after he graduates next season.

As a junior, Meeks battled injury but still managed to average 9.2 points and 5.9 boards.

Louisville students’ lawsuit against escort is dismissed

Rick Pitino
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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A Louisville judge has dismissed a lawsuit by University of Louisville students filed against Katina Powell that said the escort’s book allegations of sex parties at the men’s basketball players’ dormitory had devalued their education.

Kyle Hornback and three other students sued Powell last fall, saying her book damaged the school’s reputation. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry denied their argument in Friday’s decision but allowed others who joined the suit after being named in the book to file amended complaints that they were falsely accused and defamed.

Powell has said that former Cardinals basketball staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to entertain recruits and players. Several investigations are ongoing including one by Louisville, which self-imposed a postseason ban and reduced scholarships and recruiting opportunities.

Report: Wichita State approaches Mountain West

gregg marshall
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A year ago, Wichita State president John Bardo called for the school to study the feasibility of bringing football back to the athletic program.

Apparently the Shockers administration has even grander designs.

Wichita State has approached the Mountain West Conference about membership, according to a report from CBSSports.com.

The Missouri Valley Conference, which has been the Shockers’ home since 1946, is aware of Wichita State’s interest in switching conference affiliation, the report states. The Mountain West would makes sense for the Shockers as the conference currently has an odd-number hoops membership of 11 and would provide them with higher-profile opponents than the Valley. Just twice in conference history has the MWC been a one-bid NCAA tournament team, with last year being the first since 2001 for it to occur. The Shockers are also reportedly eyeing other leagues, like the AAC and Conference USA.

MWC commissioner Craig Thompson told CBS Sports that if Wichita State were to leave the Valley, “it ain’t going to be to us.”

Wichita State, which dropped football in 1986, has seen its basketball profile skyrocket in recent years under Gregg Marshall, who led the Shockers to a Final Four and a 35-0 start to the season in back-to-back years before reaching the Sweet 16 in 2015 and the Round of 32 last year. Marshall now makes more than $3 million per season.

Losing Wichita State would be a considerable blow to the Valley, which already lost perennial power Creighton to the Big East in the last round of realignment. Loyola Chicago, formerly of the Horizon League, filled the Bluejays’ spot.

Michigan’s Chatman transferring

Michigan  guard/forward Kameron Chatman (3) passes against Northwestern during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
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Kameron Chatman is leaving the Michigan program after two seasons, the school announced Tuesday.

The 6-foot-8 forward will transfer following a sophomore season in which his minutes were halved from his freshman campaign.

“I am incredibly grateful for my two years at Michigan,” Chatman said in a statement released by Michigan. “I would like to thank coach (John) Beilein and his entire staff for taking a chance on a small town kid out of Portland. I know my experience has inspired others as I will take all of my lessons learned to continue my pursuit of becoming the best man and player I can.”

Chatman is now the fourth Wolverine to transfer this spring, as Spike Albrecht (Purdue), Aubrey Dawkins (Central Florida) and Ricky Doyle have already departed. The Wolverines, who still have not announced replacements for assistant coaches LaVall Jordan (Milwaukee) and Bacari Alexander (Detroit), have been active in graduate transfer market as they look to rebuild much of their depth on the perimeter.

Chatman, who was a top-50 recruit out of high school, averaged 3.2 points and 2.0 rebounds per game for Michigan. He made 15 starts as a freshman, but only two as a sophomore.

Gilmore leaving VCU

Will Wade (AP Photo)
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Sophomore forward Michael Gilmore is transferring from VCU, the school announced Tuesday.

Gilmore started 18 games and appeared in 55 total for the Rams, but never carved out more than a marginal role, averaging 11.5 minutes per game as a sophomore after 6.3 his freshman season. He averaged 3.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game this past year as he saw his role dwindle down the stretch for the Rams.

His departure will take away some interior depth for VCU, but coach Will Wade will still be returning the bulk of the team that tested eventual Final Four participant Oklahoma in the Round of 32 a month ago.

For Gilmore, he’ll likely have plenty of suitors despite the pedestrian numbers he posted over the last two years as 6-foot-10 forwards who have shown the ability to space the floor don’t hit the transfer market with great regularity.He was a consensus four-star recruit in the Class of 2014.