The Morning Mix

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Your must-read of the day comes from Mike Vaccaro, who wrote a magnificent article about St. Bonaventure’s making it back to the NCAA Tournament

– St. Bonaventure’s got “a hero’s welcome” upon returning to school from the Atlantic-10 Tournament……at 2:30AM

– The gap between graduation rates for white and black players at schools in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament has shrunk for the first time since 2009

– If North Carolina and Creighton meet in the third round, it will be a battle of former-high school teammates in Harrison Barnes and Doug McDermott

– A fantastic-read from John Ezekowitz on the importance of rebounding and turnovers in NCAA Tournament upsets

– A manager for the Georgia Tech basketball team has been dismissed for his involvement in a shooting incident prior to the ACC Tournament

68 interesting tidbits about the coaches representing the NCAA Tournament teams

– South Carolina’s two-sport star Bruce Ellington has decided to hang up the football cleats and focus specifically on basketball

– Mike DeCourcy ranks the Tournament teams based on their National Championship chances

– West Virginia freshman Tommy McCune has decided to leave the program. The Mountaineers are left with JUST seven freshman on the roster. That’s obscene.

– Georgetown has lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament in three of the last four years. That fourth year? They didn’t make the tournament. They also have not a single player on their roster with tournament experience. That being said, is an upset loss to Belmont likely to happen?

– Virginia will need to find scoring production from somebody other than Mike Scott if they want any chance to advance

Is Iona going to be this season’s VCU? Not if they can’t learn to defend the basketball better

– Speaking of VCU, the Rams took out an ad in the newspaper telling us that they are “back to bust your brackets”

– A nice-read on the senior class at Southern Mississippi

– This is arguably the most logical reasoning as to why it’s a good thing that Vermont is playing in the Play-In Game

Another great-read on Loyola (Md.) head coach Jimmy Patsos, one of the most entertaining coaches in the country

– Rick Pitino believes that Davidson is the toughest first round opponent he’s ever faced. Clearly he’s unaware that a) Steph Curry is long gone and b) they play in the second round, not the first

– The Morehead State program took some time off from basketball in order to help out tornado victims in Kentucky

–  We shouldn’t complain about tournament snubs because the number of legitimate snubs is declining every year

– Yeah, I’m with Jason Lisk on this one: Stop bragging about projecting bracket selections

the Busted Mug Tournament is one of the most under-appreciated bracket-style challenges out there. It’s also wildly hilarious

– Speaking of wildly hilarious, you just can’t go wrong with a Mascot Madness bracket

– Is Scoop Jardine dating the daughter of Michael Jordan?

I don’t think this is the change that President Obama was talking about

– This is just the most bizarre and disgusting basketball-related story we’ve seen in a long time: Middle school coach bites off ear of opposing coach after a loss

Troy Machir is the managing editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @TroyMachir.

John Calipari reminds Kentucky fans to remain classy in defeat

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Before traveling to Phoenix for the Final Four festivities, Kentucky head coach John Calipari used his Twitter account in an effort to diffuse the angry members of Big Blue Nation have directed at a referee following a heartbreaking loss in the Elite Eight.

In the days following the season-ending loss to North Carolina, some fans — not all — have harassed official Jim Higgins. They’ve flooded the Facebook page of his roofing business, leaving negative reviews and lowering his company’s star rating. Some have gone even more extreme, going as far as sending death threats over the phone.

Based on the replies, some have received the message. Others haven’t. The latter, despite it being a small but vocal group, can, unfortunately, paint a fan base with a broad brush.

Mark Emmert: NCAA Board of Governors to meet ‘in the next few days’ to determine N.C.’s tournament standing

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Late on Wednesday night, the state of North Carolina reached an agreement to repeal the controversial and discriminatory House Bill 2 law, which is commonly known as the bathroom bill.

The NCAA had given the state a deadline of Thursday morning to make a change in this law or they would miss out on hosting NCAA tournament game until the 2022 season, so it’s not hard to connect the dots here. The pressure the NCAA asserted on the state helped create a change.

The question is just how much of a change, as many believe that the repeal does not do enough to change what is discriminatory about the law.

“What distinguished North Carolina,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said, “there were four distinct problems that the board had with that bill, and they removed some of them but not all of them. If you removed two or three of them, is that enough?”

The NCAA Board of Governors have stretched out the process of determining future tournament sites as far as possible, Emmert said, meaning that a decision on this new bill will be made soon.

“Because this happened on such short notice, we have to find a time to get together with the board, and that will probably happen in the next few days,” Emmert said, and in those meetings, the board “will determine if this [new] bill is sufficient change.”

“I’m personally very pleased they have a bill to debate and discuss. Hopefully we can be in a place where we can announce the board’s decision early next week.”

Gonzaga’s Mark Few named AP Coach of the Year

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Gonzaga head coach Mark Few has added to his program’s banner season with an individual award, being named AP Coach of the Year on Thursday afternoon.

Few led the Bulldogs to their first Final Four. The Zags enter the national semifinal with a 36-1 record. Up until Feb. 25, they were flirting with a perfect season. A loss to BYU is currently the only blemish on their season.

Few also won his 500th career game during the course of the 2016-17 season. Since 2014, two coaches from outside the major conferences have earned his honor. Gregg Marshall was named AP Coach of the Year in 2014 after leading the Shockers to a perfect regular season.

This was a very competitive race this season. Sean Miller lost two players expected to be key pieces this season — and had Allonzo Trier miss 19 games — but guided Arizona to the Pac-12 Tournament championship. Jay Wright led Villanova to another Big East title despite two cornerstone pieces — Ryan Arcidiancono and Daniel Ochefu — gone from last season’s national championship team. For a while, Baylor’s Scott Drew seemed to be the favorite. The Bears didn’t receive a single vote in the preseason top-25 poll but went on to earn a No. 1 ranking.

Few’s season continues on Saturday against South Carolina.

Frank Mason is named AP Player of the Year

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Kansas point guard Frank Mason III was named the AP Player of the Year on Thursday afternoon.

The senior floor general for the Jayhawks headlined the AP All-American team, which included UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, Villanova Swingman Josh Hart, Purdue big man Caleb Swanigan and North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson.

Mason averaged 20.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and shot 49 percent from behind the 3-point line during the 2016-17 season. He helped guide Kansas to its 13th consecutive Big 12 regular season title.

He becomes the fourth senior in a row to win the award, preceded by Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine, Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminksy and Creighton’s Doug McDermott.

He had previously been named player of the year by NBC Sports.

TJ Leaf declares for the 2017 NBA Draft

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UCLA freshman forward TJ Leaf announced he is declaring for the 2017 NBA Draft on Thursday afternoon.

The 6-foot-10 Leaf averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. His shooting numbers were also impressive, connecting on 62 percent of his field goals, including 27-of-58 from beyond the 3-point arc.

This news comes six days after Lonzo Ball officially announced he had played his last game at UCLA. Neither move is shocking, with Ball in the running for the No. 1 overall pick and Leaf also pegged as a first round selection.

The Bruins will have quite a bit of turnover next season with guards Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton exhausting their eligibility. UCLA head coach Steve Alford has a six-man recruiting class set to come in to help replenish the roster. It’s led by versatile forward Kris Wilkes, point guard Jaylen Hands, and big men Cody Riley and Jalen Hill.