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

Two workouts this week could alter Caleb Swanigan’s NBA Draft decision

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Purdue big man Caleb Swanigan has the most important decision among any college basketball player who could return next season from the 2017 NBA Draft process. If Swanigan comes back for his junior season, he’s the frontrunner for National Player of the Year. More importantly, Purdue would have a serious chance to repeat as Big Ten regular season champions, especially if Vince Edwards also returns from the same draft process.

Wednesday night is the decision deadline for players to return to college basketball for next season and Swanigan will use two more workouts scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday to help decide his future. According to multiple reports, Swanigan will workout for the Orlando Magic on Tuesday and the New York Knicks on Wednesday.

Tuesday’s workout with the Magic will also reportedly involve Cal big man Ivan Rabb — an important workout for Swanigan since Rabb is listed ahead of Swanigan on a lot of popular mock drafts. The Magic own three picks between No. 25 and No. 35 — which is listed slightly above the No. 40 slot that Draft Express has Swanigan listed. So if Swanigan has a good workout against Rabb for the Magic, then he could get himself some sort of guarantee from a Magic team that desperately needs talent and has a lot of picks in that range.

The Knicks also have Swanigan scheduled for a Wednesday workout as they own the No. 44 overall pick in the second round. Again, the Knicks are a team in win-now mode with current stars like Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis openly feuding with the team’s front-office, so it wouldn’t be out of the question for Swanigan to land some sort of guarantee from New York in the second round.

Of course, guarantees for draft night are nice to have, but things can change quickly on draft night. Swanigan has to consider all of the information he is receiving before he makes his decision on Wednesday. But if Swanigan has two strong workouts and gets the information that he’s looking for this week, then he could easily bolt for a potential guaranteed contract.

Angel Delgado’s return to Seton Hall makes Pirates Big East contender

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Seton Hall got huge news on Monday when Angel Delgado announced that he would be returning to school for his senior season.

“I am coming back to school for my senior year,” Delgado said in a statement on Monday. “It’s very important to my family and me that I finish what I started. This was a difficult decision that took time and patience. Coming back feels just right.”

Delgado, a 6-foot-10 forward from the Dominican Republic, averaged 15.1 points and 13.2 boards last season for the Pirates. He was one of the best big men in the country over the last six weeks of the season.

And his return should bring about one of the best years that Seton Hall basketball has had in a long time.

The Pirates are loaded with talent, tough and, most importantly, old players, from Delgado to Khadeen Carrington to Ishmael Sanogo to Desi Rodriguez. They are going to be a nightmare to run offense against, and they may just be the best team in the Big East not named Villanova. Delgado should end up being a preseason all-american.

Seton Hall is currently ranked No. 17 in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25.

Texas to return Andrew Jones for sophomore season

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Texas got another boost on Monday as former five-star recruit Andrew Jones announced that he will be returning to school for his sophomore season.

“I’ve matured and learned a lot through this process,” Jones said in a statement released on twitter. “I enjoyed the experience and opportunity that I had to be able to participate in the combine and team workouts.

“Time to go work out with my teammates. Hungry and Humble.”

This comes on the heels of Texas landing a commitment from a top five prospect in Mo Bamba. With all those pieces in the fold, including a recruiting class that features four more top 100 prospects, the Longhorns look like they are on track to be a borderline preseason top 25 team and heading back to the NCAA tournament.

This could end up being a narrative-changing year for Texas.

West Virginia returns potential Big 12 Player of the Year in Jevon Carter

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West Virginia got some great news on Monday as Jevon Carter announced that he will be returning to the Mountaineers for his senior year.

“I’m excited about coming back to West Virginia and playing with my teammates for my senior season,” he said. “The entire NBA process was a great experience for me and to gain valuable feedback that I can use to prepare for the future.”

This is massive for the Mountaineers. Not only is Carter the team’s leading scorer at 13.5 points, but he is a three-time all-Big 12 Defensive Team member and led West Virginia in minutes played last season. He’ll be a favorite to win Big 12 Player of the Year, with Devonte’ Graham of Kansas.

Arizona adds five-star Emmanuel Akot to Class of 2017

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Emmanuel Akot, a five-star wing that has been committed to Arizona for months, announced on Monday that he will be reclassifying to the Class of 2017 and enrolling at Arizona this offseason.

“My family and I have decided to join the 2017 class and become a member of the Arizona Basketball family,” Akot said.

Akot was considered a top 15 prospect in the Class of 2018, a class that many believe to be significantly weaker than the Class of 2017. At 6-foot-7, he’s a versatile defender with quite a bit of potential that can step out and knock down threes, but he’s also far from a finish product and will likely need time to acclimate to the college level.

That said, he should be able to fill a role on the wing nicely, providing a nice bit of defensive reliance alongside more offensive-minded weapons like Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins.

Akot joins a five-man recruiting class headlined by top four prospect Deandre Ayton and four-star recruits Brandon Randolph and Ira Lee.