The Morning Mix

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– The big news of the day is that UNC point guard Kendall Marshall fractured his wrist in the Tar Heels victory over Creighton on Sunday. He plans on having surgery today, but his status for Friday is still unknown. But even if he play at less than 100%, it gives UNC the best chance to win. If Marshall can’t play, who is going to fill in? Do you even know who the back-up is?

– The game against Creighton was riddled with physical play. Grant Gibbs drew a technical foul on John Henson, and played the role of a pro wrestling “heel” very nicely. Greg Echinique threw a massive forearm shiver at Tyler Zeller that went unnoticed

– The Creighton-UNC game got started later than expected because the driver of Creighton’s team bus suffered a heart attack on the way to the arena

– So who was the biggest winner from the first weekend? The state of Ohio

If this video doesn’t make you appreciate Draymond Green as a person, player and teammate, I have nothing else to say to you

– But if you still aren’t conviced, read this great piece from Jeff Goodman. Day-Day is a one-of-a-kind player and person

– The Baylor Bears are the western-most team remaining in the tournament. There are no Mountain or Pacific time zone teams remainingin

– Clark Kellogg, the lead color commentator for CBS’ tournament coverage, was calling the Xavier-Lehigh game when he found out that his son Nick, a guard for the Ohio Bobcats, would be moving on to the Sweet-16. One of the best moments of the tournament thus far. Kellogg won’t ask to cover his son’s region. I don’t think we could have said the same thing about Craig James

– Ohio is the last of the little guys to remain standing in the tournament. The No.13-seed Bobcats are the first MAC team to reach the Sweet-16 since Kent State in 2002. The Golden Flashes head coach at the time was Stan Heath, who is the current head coach at South Florida, the team Ohio beat to make the Sweet-16. The Bobcats become the first No.13-seed to make the Sweet-16 since Bradley in 2006

– Speaking of Ohio, Pete Thamel wrote a great article on D.J. Cooper and the recruitment of his services that took place following his freshman season

– Vanderbilt was bounced from the tournament on Saturday, but not before Jeffery Taylor made his “one shining moment”

Kenny Frease had a monster-game for Xavier last night, and is the main reason the Musketeers are heading to the Sweet-16. If Frease had been able to play like this all season, we probably wouldn’t be as shocked to see the X-Men in the Sweet-16 as we are

What is next for Duke? Austin Rivers and Mason Plumlee could bolt to the NBA, and the first round loss to Lehigh isn’t going to go away any time soon

– Georgetown heads home after yet another early season tournament loss, and it’s all thanks to NC-State. The Wolfpack have gone from the last team unveiled to the Sweet-16

– Nine teams lost to double-digit seeds this week during the second round of the NCAA tournament

– Florida steamrolled tournament darlings Norfolk State, but can the Gators handle Marquette? They certainly think so. But what’s next for Norfolk State? Next to the Ohio Bobcats, they are the darlings of the 2012 tournament

– Kentucky’s dominant win over Iowa State ensured the Wildcats a rematch with the Hoosiers.

Ashley Judd stole Terrence Jone’s cell phone following the Wildcats’ victory over Iowa State. But fear not, she left a hand-written apology letter

Not too many ESPN bracketeers correctly picked all 16 Sweet-16 combatants

The creepiest picture of the entire tournament

– A great-read on why transfers are a (unfortunate) part of the rebuilding process

– As if we didn’t already know that Jim Boeheim was a sourpuss. Apparently he was quoted this weekend as saying that he’s never really enjoyed coaching

– St. John’s Moe Harkless, the Big East Freshman of the Year, is scheduled to declare for the NBA draft tomorrow afternoon

– Sensational super-senior Nerlens Noel has trimed his list to three schools: Syracuse, Georgetown and Kentucky

An essay from a struggling Georgia Tech fan. Give him some love, that program is going through some dark times right now

 

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

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.