The Morning Mix

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Today is the day. This is our Superbowl. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Bracket Challenge or no Bracket Challenge, this is the best day of the year.

Gene Wojciechowski wrote a phenomenal piece on “The Kentucky Way” and how we perceive its effectiveness

– As Steve Rushin points out, it’s not just the action on the court that makes March Madness great, it’s the sights and sounds of the environment

Fifth grader gets sent to principal’s office for running a bracket pool. We live in a such a soft world. I was bracketeering the preseason N.I.T. as early as the grade

Michael Rosenberg breaks down a host of different storylines that could make March Madness even more compelling

Dana O’Neil predicts the fortune of every team in the tournament

– Rush The Court makes five bold tournament predictions

– Apparently, these are the seven best bracket tips for the casual fan

– Apparently Brent Kulwiki knows exactly how to win the Bracket Challenge you are participating in

– I’ve often felt that we should keep track of people’s prognostications more often, especially, say, meteorologists

– A handful of NFL players have made their bracket picks. Texans’ running back Ben Tate thinks Loyola is going to shock the world. Ballsy pick, but I like it

Five Vegas trends to keep track up

– Now this is my kind of bracket challenge: Cheerleader edition

Is mometnum really that big of a deal when it comes to March Madness longevity?

– So, Jakarr Sampson has recommitted to St. John’s. Does anybody know why he decommitted in the first place?

A nice-read on VCU’s Juvonte Reddic, who remains the calm inside the havoc

– With every passing day of March Madness, the Circle of March gets smaller and smaller

– According to Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, the other conferences were not happy that the Big East got nine teams in to the tournament

– As Jon Rothstein would say: So much Danny Ferry in Ryan Kelly….. Seriously, Kelly is pretty vital to Duke’s post-season success

– The only remaining member of Harvard’s last NCAA tournament team will be on hand for the Crimson’s second round game against Vanderbilt

– Iowa State superstar Royce White is afraid of flying. So naturally, he’s decided to drive to Louisville for the Cyclone’s second round matchup with UConn

– The Crosstown Brawl didn’t impact the Bearcat’s season as much as we think it did, but it wasn’t exactly a non-event either.

– With Mike D’Anotni resigning as head coach of the Knicks, John Calipari has jumped to the top of the list of potential replacements. Except coach Cal isn’t leaving Kentucky.  But UConn coach Jim Calhoun could see Calipari leaving Kentucky for the NBA. Where does coach Cal rank among the best coaches never to win a National Championship

– Central Michigan has fired head coach Ernie Zeigler, whose son Trey, plays for the team. With his father out as head coach, a hot recuriting battle could ensue for Trey’s services

Durand Scott has been reinstated at Miami, but must sit out five games and will have to repay the monetary value of the benefits in the form of a charitable donation

Villanova guard Maalik Wayns will test the NBA draft waters. it makes sense, his stock won’t get any higher next year, and the Wildcats were pretty bad this past season

– I’ve been to LIU-Brooklyn’s gym, and they could definitely use a much larger gym. Looks like they might just get one

– You don’t need to be a fan of UCLA to get behind this cause

Five-star 2017 point guard Trevon Duval down to 10 schools

CHARLOTTE, NC - JULY 9: Trevon Duval during the 2015  Under Armour All-America Basketball Camp on July 9, 2015 at Queens College in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Under Armour)
(Photo by Ned Dishman/Under Armour)
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Five-star point guard Trevon Duval is the most electrifying lead guard in the Class of 2017. The native of Delaware dominated the Under Armour circuit this spring and is currently regarded by many as a top-five player in the class by most recruiting services.

Now he’s down to 10 schools as his recruiting is starting to become more of a focus. The 6-foot-2 Duval is down to Arizona, Cal, Kansas, Maryland, Oregon, St. John’s, Seton Hall, UCLA, USC and Villanova.

Things are still early in the process for Duval and it will be interesting to see if he schedules any official visits soon.

Ohio State gaining recruiting momentum with two 2018 commitments

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 24: Head coach Thad Matta of the Ohio State Buckeyes claps on the sideline in the first half against the Iowa State Cyclones during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 24, 2013 in Dayton, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Ohio State has lost quite a few transfers and hasn’t had a lot go their way with regards to recent recruiting, but things could be changing after a good weekend.

The Class of 2018 is starting to look really good for the Buckeyes as they landed commitments from wings Darius Bazley and Justin Ahrens this weekend. The two in-state products are grassroots teammates together on King James and they give Ohio State three commitments in that class.

Bazley is considered a four-star prospect on Rivals while Ahrens checks in as a three-star. They join another Ohio native, guard Dane Goodwin, in the class as this could be the group that helps bring Ohio State back in regular Big Ten contention.

Butler lands commitment from four-star 2017 forward Kyle Young

Atlanta, GA - SUNDAY, MAY 29: Nike EYBL. Kyle Young #34 of King James Session 4. (Photo by Jon Lopez)
(Photo by Jon Lopez)
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Butler picked up an important commitment on Monday as four-star forward Kyle Young committed to the Bulldogs.

A Class of 2017 stretch forward who can hit jumpers and has an improving skill set, the 6-foot-7 Young comes from Massillon, Ohio and he’s regarded as the No. 109 overall prospect.

Young was impressive in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer with King James as he averaged 15.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game as he shot 48 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3-point range.

This is a nice grab for Butler as Young is the type of versatile perimeter shooter that they like to utilize and he should be able to help a bit on the glass as well.

Young joins a class that includes guards Cooper Neese and Jerald Butler.

VIDEO: Collin Sexton with a trick shot for the ages

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 1.33.34 PM
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Earlier this summer, we told you the story of Collin Sexton, how the 6-foot-2 Georgia native went from being a mid-major recruit to a five-star prospect being courted by the likes of Kansas, Arizona, North Carolina and Villanova.

It’s because he’s a bucket-getter.

     RELATED: Making A Five Star

He averaged 31 points in the Nike EYBL circuit, nine points better than Michael Porter, who finished second in the league in scoring. No one puts points on the board like he does, so it’s only fitting that he was the guy that made a shot from the balcony during ‘The Trip’, Nike’s effort to keep kids associated with their brand from Elite 24:

Lonzo Ball struggled on UCLA’s Australian tour

Lonzo Ball (UCLA Athletics)
UCLA Athletics
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UCLA capped their three-game trip to Australia on Sunday night with a 94-91 win over the Brisbane Bullets, a game in which sophomore point guard Aaron Holiday finished with a team-high 17 points. Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton both added 16 points and freshman Ike Anigbogu finished with 13 points and 10 boards.

This win came just two days after the Bruins lost to Melbourne United, 89-84, when Hamilton — 18 points and five assists — and Holiday — 16 points — were both once again impressive. Alford also added 18 points in Friday’s loss.

It’s not surprising that the Bruins had some up and down performances abroad. Everyone does. It’s what happens when a team of college kids, with three freshmen playing key roles, heads to the other side of the world to square off against teams made up of professionals. Don’t go hanging the ‘Fire Steve Alford’ banners on anymore airplanes just yet.

There are, however, two interesting things to consider from this trip:

– Lonzo Ball, UCLA’s star freshman, was, at best, their fourth-best perimeter player. Seniors Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford and sophomore Aaron Holiday all played well and posted impressive numbers on the three-game trip. Ball? He didn’t shoot well. At all. In UCLA’s 47-point opening win, he was 3-for-9 from the floor and 1-for-3 from three, putting together was was by far his best shooting performance of the trip. In the three games, he shot a total of 25 percent (9-36) from the field and 19 percent (4-21) from three. He did average 5.0 assists and, in one game, notched 13 boards, but Ball’s ability to shoot will be something to keep an eye on.

– And then there’s this, from Bryce Alford:

UCLA needs to travel with more towels.