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

Indiana lands four-star Class of 2017 wing Justin Smith

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Indiana landed an athletic wing commitment on Monday night as four-star small forward Justin Smith pledged to the Hoosiers on Twitter.

The 6-foot-6 Smith is a native of Lincolnshire, Illinois and comes from Stevenson High School as he’s regarded as the No. 105 overall prospect in the Rivals national Class of 2017 rankings.

A high-flying wing who is great in the open floor, Smith should fit the Hoosiers’ uptempo system perfectly and if he’s able to get a more consistent perimeter jumper then he has a chance to be a really nice piece for Indiana.

Smith joins three-star guard Al Durham in Indiana’s recruiting Class of 2017.

Michigan State addingTom Izzo Hall of History wing in remodeled Breslin Center

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 22:  Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans reacts against the Virginia Cavaliers during the third round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 22, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has already been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this fall and the longtime Spartans head coach is receiving another unique honor in the remodeled Breslin Center.

The school announced over the weekend that the Tom Izzo Hall of History will be added to the Breslin Center renovations as the building is supposed to be completed by the fall of 2017.

“The Tom Izzo Hall of History will become a great gathering place on our campus where together we can celebrate the excellence of Spartan Basketball and MSU Athletics,” athletic director Mark Hollis said in a release. “When this facility project is complete it will be the finest college basketball facility in the country, so it’s only fitting that Tom’s name will be a permanent part of it.”

Overall, this is a nice addition to the Breslin Center, especially since Izzo and Michigan State basketball will forever be associated with one another. It should be cool for fans to go through it and re-live great moments in Michigan State history and the wing is another nice recruiting tool that can help point out all of Izzo’s biggest accomplishments.

 

Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament moving to Orlando amid Zika concerns

Lon Kruger
(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
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Amid concerns over the Zika virus, the annual Puerto Rico Tip-Off announced a change in venue on Monday. Rather than staying on the island, the tournament will move to Orlando and all games will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney.

The dates and teams will remain the same for the event as it will be played Thursday, Nov. 17, Friday, Nov. 18 and Sunday, Nov. 20. The field for the event includes Arizona State, Clemson, Davidson, Missouri, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma, Tulane and Xavier.

“We enjoy the beauty and accommodations that are afforded in Puerto Rico and wanted to make every effort in playing the event in San Juan, but the concern for student-athlete and spectator welfare became the primary driver in the decision,” Pete Derzis, senior vice president of ESPN Events said in the official release.  “We intend to return to Puerto Rico in the future.”

Puerto Rico is currently under a Level 2 alert for Zika according to the CDC. Since there have been cases of Zika on the island with native mosquitoes, it’s probably a smart move to eliminate all concerns over the virus if they can easily move the tournament elsewhere. It probably isn’t ideal for fans who purchased travel packages to Puerto Rico to watch the event, but it’s a small price to pay for the safety of everyone involved.

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company is also upset with the decision as Executive Director Ingrid Rivera Rocafort released a statement on Monday night.

“We are disappointed about this decision that we believe has been based on fear not the facts about Puerto Rico,” the statement read.

“There is no public health reason to cancel the Puerto Rico Tip Off or any sporting event in Puerto Rico. There is no doubt that our strong fan base and local spectators would have turned out to support their teams. Less than one percent of Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million population has contracted Zika, a far cry from projections. The hype and misinformation is fostering irrational decisions.”

PHOTO: Purdue unveils statue of John Wooden outside Mackey Arena

John Wooden (Purdue Athletics)
Purdue Athletics
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John Wooden will forever be associated with the UCLA program for what he did while coaching there.

10 national titles in 12 years, including seven in a row. Not bad, right?

What some people may forget is that before he got into coaching, Wooden was one of the best basketball players in the world. He played his collegiate ball at Purdue, where he was a three-time all-american and the 1932 National Player of the Year.

To honor Wooden’s legacy as one of the greatest Boilermakers ever, Purdue built a statue of Wooden and unveiled it in front of Mackey Arena this weekend:

“Not many people think of Johnny Wooden as a Boilermaker, but when I got here in 1957, some of the old-timers still remembered him as a player,” Jim Hicks, the alumnus that donated the statue, said. “I’m so delighted that people will see this statue and read his Pyramid of Success because I think the pyramid was his most important contribution.”

One of the neat touches of the statue: Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is right there for all to see.

North Carolina lands third commitment in 2017 class

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 23: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels looks on during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Iowa State Cyclones at the AT&T Center on March 23, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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North Carolina picked up their third commitment in the Class of 2017 on Monday in big man Brandon Huffman.

A four-star prospect who will play his final season of high school ball at Word of God Academy in North Carolina, Huffman’s strength at this point in his development is as a defensive presence around the basket. He stands 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan and should be able to help replace Kennedy Meeks, who graduates this spring.

Huffman’s development on the offensive end of the floor isn’t quite there yet. A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Huffman is still learning how to be more influential on that end.

Huffman joins Jalek Felton and Andrew Platek in UNC’s 2017 class.