The Morning Mix

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–  Harvard’s recruiting efforts might become a bit easier now that “Linsanity” is taking over the nation

– Of course we need to know what Jim Boeheim thinks of “Linsanity”!

– Jim Calhoun will miss UConn’s next two games as he remains sidelined with lingering back issues. Associate Head Coach George Blaney gave some solid quotes following the Huskie’s 26-point win over DePaul last night

– Are the Temple Owls as good as their 20-5 record indicates?

– SMU and UAB provided what may end up being the worst basketball game of the 2011-2012 season

Nick Baumgardner breaks down the four most important players on each of the Big Ten title contenders

– Apparently Jim Larranaga studied the art of Zen in preparation for the Hurricane’s game against North Carolina. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, as the Hurricanes fell 73-64

– NCAA Selection Committee Chair Jeff Hathaway (Former-UConn Athletic Director) discusses the consideration process for at-large teams

– Robert Burke, the head coach at Mount Saint Mary’s, has been placed on administrative leave by the university. The Mountaineers are currently 6-19 and 4-10 in NEC play

– St. John’s Athletic Director has been fired due to a misappropriation of tickets. The news of a possible ticket scandal was mentioned as early as last Friday

– A solid diary entry from VCU assistant coach Will Wade on preparing for BracketBusters and the stretch run

– Even if Kansas doesn’t end up winning the National Championship, the Jayhawks could walk away with a handful of end-of-the-year hardware

– Gerardo Suero, the Albany Danes’ leading scorer, did not play on Wednesday night due to shingles. Don’t know what shingles is? It’s like chickenpox, only more painful

– Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin has suspended high-flying forward Kenny Hall for “conduct detrimental to the team

– Regardless of what Penn State’s final record ends up being, this season has been a success for first-year head coach Pat Chambers. The on-court improvements will come, but he has dominated the off-court proceedings. First-off, he’s an earnest, hardworking class-act. He performed a classy-yet-entertaining salute to “JoePa”, and now, there’s video of him handing out Big Macs at McDonald’s. As the kids would say “He’s ‘Linning’ ”

– Oral Roberts became the second team in the country to clinch a regular season championship thus far. The Golden Eagles defeated IPFW 75-71 to win the Summit League for their final time. They will join the Southland Conference starting in 2012-2013

– More MWC2USA Alliance updates: Charlotte and Appalachian State could become potential additions for the new super-alliance

– This is certainly an interesting take: Does North Carolina lack the ability to close-out games?

It’s anybody’s guess as to what the final standings in the Atlantic-10 will look like

– While this might not be as awesome as “TyBrady MorningReed“, it’s still pretty good (Could I suggest, maybe, “D’Adreian PayneNix” ?)

– The recent trend of massive Non-D1 #POSTERIZED dunks continues on with Northwest Florida JuCo’s Trency Johnson

– Kentucky held an open practice and ONLY 2,000 people showed up….For a practice….in the early afternoon….on a work day….Not a game….Not a game….Not a game….We talkin’ about practice

A sure-fire winner for “Best photo of the 2011-2012 season”

USC athletic director Pat Haden to step down in June

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LOS ANGELES (AP) University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says he will retire on June 30.

USC President Max Nikias made the announcement Friday.

Haden has run the athletic department for 5 1/2 years, leading the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program. He created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department.

The former USC quarterback also received criticism for the football program’s relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year.

Nikias says Haden’s department also raised over $400 million during his tenure.

Nikias says Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after he retires.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Ivy League’s best meet in New Haven

Columbia guard Maodo Lo, right, steals the ball from Northwestern forward Aaron Falzon, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Evanston, Ill.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 p.m.

The two best teams in the Ivy League, with matching 4-0 league records, meet for the first time this season. The Lions were close to suffering their first loss last weekend, but an Alex Rosenberg jumper as time expired gave the Lions the win at reigning champion Harvard. Rosenberg’s one of four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game for Kyle Smith’s team, with senior guard Maodo Lo leading the way at 15.8 per contest.

They’ll face a Yale rotation led offensively by point guard Makai Mason (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), and the front court tandem of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod has been outstanding. The winner get a leg up in the Ivy race, with the rematch scheduled for March 5 in New York City (regular season finale).

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Central Michigan at Akron, 8:00 p.m.

Two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference meet at the JAR, as Akron looks to extend its win streak to six straight. The Zips’ balanced offensive attack has been led by forward Isaiah Johnson (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), who currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. As for the visiting Chippewas, guards Braylon Rayson and Chris Fowler combine to average 32.7 points per game, with Fowler also responsible for a MAC-best 6.3 assists per contest. CMU’s had some struggles on the defensive glass in league play, ranking 11th in that category, but they’ve done a better job defensively than they did in non-conference play.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • MAAC leader Monmouth is back in action, as they host a Fairfield team led by one of the conference’s best players in senior forward Marcus Gilbert. The Hawks have a deep lineup led by junior guard Justin Robinson, who at this point in time is the likely frontrunner for MAAC Player of the Year honors.
  • Looking to catch Monmouth is Iona, which is a game behind the Hawks at 9-3. A.J. English and the Gaels visit Canisius in a matchup that should not lack for offense. Iona’s more inclined to run, but Canisius doesn’t lack scorers either with guard Malcolm McMillan leading four players averaging double figures.
  • Given the fact that they’re 1-3 in Ivy League play, Harvard’s essentially in the spoiler role unless some chaos breaks out at the top end of the standings. The Crimson can help in that regard with a win at Princeton, with the Tigers (2-1) a game behind Columbia and Yale in the loss column. Princeton’s been the better offensive team this season, thanks in large part to junior forward Henry Caruso who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.