The Morning Mix

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– Andy GlocknerBrendan PruntyDan Wolken and Eamonn Brennan provide the bubble watches for us today

– Kentucky is clearly a favorite to win the National Championship. But what about New Mexico? What about Michigan? What about Wichita State? All three of those teams are part of Luke Winn’s “Magical Eight”

Dana O’Neil tells us about the teams that “answered the bell” last night

– Filling your monthly quota of “College Basketball Music Videos” in one day: Bellarmine – We’re Back (Virtual Linsanity)  Kansas – Runner Up (Awful, just awful), Syracuse – We need a new rap song (You might, but we don’t)

Can anybody make sense of the South Florida Bulls? Are they a tournament team? Conventional wisdom says “no”, but conventional wisdom is so 2006

– John Gasaway details the life and times of the RPI

A solid cheat sheet if your are behind schedule on the bubble

– Yahoo Sports’ Mike Huguenin is All About The Big Ten

A historical look at the rivalry between Temple and LaSalle

– Did you know that South Dakota State’s Nate Wolters leads the country in points-per-steal?

– This seems like a bizarre time to debate about the top-16 teams in NCAA basketball history

Jason King searches for “the next Butler”. After Creighton, Long Beach State and Murray State, who ya got?

The dangers of auto-pilot: America East-leading Vermont lost to winless-Binghamton last night

– Florida forward Will Yeguete is out indefinitely after breaking his left foot in the Gators’ Tuesday night victory over Auburn. Pat Forde believes that the injury to Yeguete will hurt Florida’s chances at sustaining a long March run

– North Carolina State head coach Mark Gottfried blasted referee Karl Hess for his egregious ejection of two NC-State alums on Saturday. Those same alums,  Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani were back at the RBC Arena last night as part of the school’s honorary recognition of the 1989 Wolfpack team. In the game itself, NC-State lost to North Carolina 86-74

A good-read from the New York Times on Siena’s O.D. Anosike, who leads the country in rebounding

– The critics are wondering if maybe Syracuse should switch from zone to man-to-man defense. Do we really need to ask you what you think Jim Boeheim’s response is going to be?

– The Loyola Greyhounds are going to be a dangerous assignment for any team when the MAAC Tournament rolls around

– Is Pittsburgh the most disappointing team of the 2011-2012 season?

– Speaking of Pitt, it’s time we show them some love. This article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Tray Woodall is a must-read

– Hey, Missouri/Kansas, are you listening? Xavier and Cincinnati plan on keeping their rivalry afloat, and they actually came to blows. Why are you guys calling it quits again?

– St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin plans on returning to the sidelines next season after battling prostate cancer for much of 2011-2012

– After watching Oregon and Maryland screw up uniforms forever, it should become abundantly clear why college basketball teams are going with “platinum jerseys”

– The reason Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley has emerged as such a viable low-post threat? Cutting back in the video games

– Finally, Norfolk State’s Kyle O’Quinn receives some recognition from the media

– Former-George Mason coach Jim Larranaga puts the CAA “on blast”

– I guess “Spoon” is Kentuckian for “People I don’t like”

– In case you didn’t know, Iona’s Scott Machado became the MAAC’s all-time leader in assists over the weekend

– You don’t know anything about the Great West Conference. No worries. That’s why we keep John Templon around

– Central Florida has announced it’s self-imposed sanctions stemming from the Ken Caldwell fiasco

– File this under the “You Just Hate To See That Happen” category: Broadcaster falls off his stool before Xavier/Dayton game

– Colorado State’s court-storming might have been questionable, but their execution wasn’t. Seton Hall’s execution, on the other hand, was well, non-existent

– Speaking of Seton Hall, not very many teams outside the top-5 were going to beat Jordan Theodore & Co last night

–  A look at Hinkle Fieldhouse through the eyes of Butler’s Blue II

– Speaking of Butlerm former-bulldogs coach Todd Lickliter wants to be a head coach again

Report: Dillon Brooks to return to Oregon

Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, left, reacts after scoring a basket against Utah during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Oregon defeated Utah 77-59. (AP Photo/George Frey)
(AP Photo/George Frey)
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Dillon Brooks will be returning to Oregon for his junior season.

Brooks, a 6-foot-6 forward that averaged 16.7 points, 5.4 boards and 3.1 assists as a sophomore, went through the NBA Draft process without hiring an agent. He did not receive an invitation to the NBA Draft combine, however, and that is as good of a sign as any that he was not likely to get drafted.

According to a report from ESPN, he has heeded the advice he received and will be returning to Eugene.

Brooks is a versatile player whose role for the Ducks is similar to what Draymond Green plays for the Warriors, but he’s not the athlete that Green is. Returning to school, tightening up his shooting stroke and getting into better shape could help him play his way into a spot where he can get a guaranteed contract after next season.

The Ducks are still awaiting word on whether or not rising sophomore Tyler Dorsey will return to school as well. With both players back in the fold, Oregon is a potential top five team next season.

Malik Newman to return to school, considering transfer

Mississippi State guard Malik Newman (14) dribbles past a Northern Colorado player during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/15712769/mississippi-state-malik-newman-withdraw-draft-transfer
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Malik Newman will withdraw his name from consideration and return to school for his sophomore season.

Newman was a top 10 recruit in the Class of 2015, a high-scoring combo-guard that opted to stay home and play for Mississippi State instead of enroll at one of the blue bloods that was recruiting him. He averaged 11.3 points as a freshman, but it was a largely disappointing season as he spent the year off of the national radar playing inefficient basketball.

Put another way, the fourth-leading scorer on a 14-17 SEC team isn’t exactly a lock for the lottery.

But here’s the catch: he may not be returning to Mississippi State, as Newman is considering a transfer, according to a report from ESPN. That report quotes a source close to the situation saying “unhappy with his role and how he was utilized.”

It will be interesting to see what happens from here. Newman would have to sit out a year if he transferred to another Division I program, and for a kid that thought he was destined to be a one-and-done star, locking himself into a three-year college career would be an odd move.

Seton Hall’s Isaiah Whitehead to stay in NBA Draft

Seton Hall guard Isaiah Whitehead (15) shoots past Xavier forward Sean O'Mara (54) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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Seton Hall sophomore guard Isaiah Whitehead has signed with an agent and will remain in the NBA Draft.

Whitehead announced his intention to stay in the draft last night on his Twitter account.

Whitehead averaged 18.2 points, 5.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game last season for Seton Hall, which went 25-9 and reached the NCAA tournament. He likely projects as a second-round pick with a bit of a shaky shot, but a high usage and assist rates. His strong finish to the season likely lifted him on some draft boards, but his inefficiency will cap his ceiling in June’s draft.

The loss is significant for the Pirates as Whitehead was so much of their offense, but they’ll bring back Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez, Angel Delgado and Ismael Sanogo. It’s a group that will miss Whitehead’s playmaking, but is still a solid enough foundation that Seton Hall will still likely be competitive in the Big East and vying for another NCAA tournament berth.

Hart returning for Villanova’s title defense

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 26:  Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats reacts in the second half against the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at KFC YUM! Center on March 26, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Villanova’s title defense just got a whole lot stouter.

Josh Hart, the leading scorer of the Wildcats’ national championship team, will return for his senior season, he announced on Twitter.

The decision for Hart to return is a major boost for Villanova in its quest to become the first back-to-back champions since Florida in 2006 and 2007. Hart, a 6-foot-5 guard,  averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the floor and 35.7 percent from 3-point range.

Most draft pundits had him pegged as a potential end-of-the-first-round pick in next month’s draft though he could have certainly slid into the second should he had decided to forego his senior season. Instead, Hart will be a potential first-team All-American exhausting his eligibility in Philadelphia.

The 2016-17 season is taking shape nicely, and Hart returning to Villanova only increases the strength of the field at the top. Title game hero Kris Jenkins as well as Jalen Brunson, Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges are also back for the defending champs while the super recruiting classes of Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State, Kansas’ returning core along with Josh Jackson and a solid group of teams including North Carolina, Arizona, Louisville and Wisconsin make for an intriguing upper-tier of teams that could very well make for a top-heavy season following last year’s free for all.

College basketball isn’t the NFL. Parity doesn’t equal strength and quality, and when the sport has a handful high-quality teams, it is at its best. It’s looking like that is a possibility for the 2016-17 campaign.

UConn duo returning to school

brimah
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Connecticut may have lost its 6-foot-7 wing scorer but it is keeping its defensive stalwart and leading scorer.

Center Amida Brimah and guard Rodney Purvis have withdrawn their names from NBA Draft consideration and will return to the Huskies for another year, the school announced Tuesday.

The decisions from Brimah, a 7-foot center, and Purvis, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, help soften the blow dealt by Daniel Hamilton’s decision to sign with an agent and leave school despite having some shaky draft stock. The Huskies may not open the season as a top-25 team, but they won’t be far behind and will be one of the AAC’s favorites, along with Cincinnati.

Brimah averaged 6.5 points per game last year, but blocked 2.7 shots per game. He missed 11 games last season with a broken finger. Purvis registered 12.8 points per game while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor.

Neither Brimah or Purvis were among those invited to this month’s NBA Draft combine nor were either expected to be drafted should they have kept their names in the draft.