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

Villanova’s Jenkins to return for senior season

Villanova forward Kris Jenkins (2) reacts to play against North Carolina during the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game Monday, April 4, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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After briefly taking part in the NBA Draft evaluation process, Villanova forward Kris Jenkins announced Monday night that he’s decided to withdraw and return to school for his senior year. Jenkins, whose three-pointer as time expired gave the Wildcats the win over North Carolina in the national title game, announced the news via Twitter.

2015-16 was a breakout season for Jenkins, who moved into the starting lineup and averaged 13.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. The 6-foot-6 forward shot 45.9 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from beyond the arc, and with starters Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu graduating he’ll have even more opportunities to produce next season.

Jenkins’ decision to return leaves wing Josh Hart as the lone Wildcats going through the early entry process at this time. Hart was a first team All-Big East selection as a junior, and his return would be the final piece to the puzzle for a team that many expect to be a national title contender in 2016-17.

Jenkins and Hart wouldn’t be the only returnees who had a part in the national title run, with guards Jalen Brunson and Phil Booth, wing Mikal Bridges and forward Darryl Reynolds back as well. To that group Villanova adds Fordham transfer Eric Paschall and a recruiting class anchored by Omari Spellman and Dylan Painter with Donte DiVincenzo and Tim Delaney available after being hampered by injuries last season.

Delaney missed all of last year after undergoing surgical procedures on his hips, and DiVincenzo played a total of 74 minutes over the first nine games before having to sit due to a broken foot.

Florida State guard Rathan-Mayes to return for junior season

Florida State guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes (22) drives past Notre Dame guard Rex Pflueger, left, for a score in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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With their top three scorers from last season all deciding to declare for the NBA Draft, Florida State was facing the possibility of having to rebuild their backcourt ahead of the 2016-17 season. However two of those three have decided to return to Tallahassee, with rising junior Xavier Rathan-Mayes announcing on Monday that he will be back in school.

Rathan-Mayes joins rising sophomore Dwayne Bacon in returning to play another season for head coach Leonard Hamilton, with Malik Beasley hiring representation and remaining in the draft.

Rathan-Mayes had more scoring help last season and as a result was able to concentrate more on the distribution aspects of the point guard position, as he averaged 11.8 points and 4.4 assists per contest. With the return of Rathan-Mayes and Bacon, Florida State will have two of its top three scorers from last season back on campus.

The Seminoles did lose some veteran players, most notably guard Devon Bookert and center Boris Bojanovsky, but the returnees and a recruiting class led by McDonald’s All-American forward Jonathan Isaac means that they won’t lack for options next season.

Auburn lands third transfer within the last week

Auburn guard T.J. Dunans (4) and coach Bruce Pearl celebrate a 75-74 win over UAB in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, at Auburn Arena in Auburn, Ala.  (Julie Bennett/AL.com via AP)
Julie Bennett/AL.com via AP
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After receiving commitments from former Purdue/Houston guard Ronnie Johnson and former Presbyterian forward DeSean Murray, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl continued to load up on the transfer market Monday. Forward LaRon Smith, who was named MEAC Defensive Player of the Year at Bethune-Cookman last season, announced that he will use his final season of eligibility at the SEC program.

Like Smith, Johnson will also be eligible to compete immediately for the Tigers while Murray will have to sit out next season before having two years of eligibility remaining.

The 6-foot-8 Smith played two seasons at Georgia State before transferring to Bethune-Cookman, where he averaged 7.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per contest in 2015-16. Smith played just over 25 minutes per game for the Wildcats, shooting 58.5 percent from the field.

Smith reached double figures in scoring in four of the Wildcats’ final seven games, including a 20-point, 11-rebound, three-block outing in an overtime win over North Carolina A&T. He joins a front court in need of depth following the departures of the likes of Cinmeon Bowers and Tyler Harris, with Horace Spencer, Trayvon Reed and incoming freshman Anfernee McLemore also competing for minutes in 2016-17.

SMU lands former Arkansas guard Jimmy Whitt

Arkansas guard Jimmy Whitt (24) leaps for a layup past Tennessee guard Shembari Phillips (25) during an NCAA college basketball game in Knoxville, Tenn., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. Arkansas won 75-65. (Adam Lau/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)
Adam Lau/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP
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With a five-member recruiting class set to arrive on campus this summer, SMU added a talented transfer Monday afternoon. Jimmy Whitt, who played his freshman season at Arkansas, committed to join Larry Brown’s program. Whitt, a 6-foot-4 guard from Columbia, Missouri, will have three seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2016-17 campaign.

As a freshman at Arkansas, Whitt averaged 6.1 points and 1.7 rebounds in just over 17 minutes of action per game. He reached double figures in scoring nine time, with the high being a 15-point outing in a blowout win over Missouri in mid-January. Whitt produced a stretch of four consecutive games in double figures during non-conference play, but he struggled to maintain that consistency against SEC competition.

At SMU he’ll join a perimeter rotation that will lose rising senior Sterling Brown following the 2016-17 season. Among those who will have eligibility remaining when Whitt becomes eligible are Ben Emelogu, Shake Milton, Jarrey Foster and incoming freshmen Tom Wilson and Dashawn McDowell.

 

Boise State assistant named head coach at Northern Colorado

rp_primary_Linder_Jeff_Action_vs_Dayton_031815_2_
Courtesy UNCBears.com
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GREELEY, Colo. (AP) Jeff Linder is the new basketball coach at Northern Colorado. He spent the last six seasons at Boise State, where he was associate head coach for the Broncos since 2013-14.

Linder replaces B.J. Hill, who was fired last month amid an NCAA investigation into allegations of violations in the program.

University President Kay Norton and Athletic Director Darren Dunn announced Linder’s hiring Sunday.

Linder played high school ball in Lafayette, Colorado, and college ball at Mesa State and Western Colorado State. He began his coaching career under Colorado head coach Ricardo Patton.

In a statement, Linder said, “I look forward to returning home to the state of Colorado and continuing to build this program into something everyone can be proud of.”

Hill was 86-98 in six seasons at UNC.