The Morning Mix

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– The big news of the day is that Baylor men’s and women’s basketball teams were found to have made several hundred impermissible texts and phone calls to recruits. This all took place on the same day that star forward Perry Jones III decided to enter the NBA draft. But Gary Parrish takes an astonishingly brilliant angle on the possible sanctions: If this is all they get busted for, they should be happy. Quincy Miller will make his NBA decision later today. Rush The Court ponders the age-old question: Do the ends justify the means?

– Members of Florida International’s basketball team walked out of their banquet last night in protest over the school’s firing of head coach Isaiah Thomas

– Eamonn Brennan provides your must-read of the day: A riveting list of all the “what-ifs” from the 2011-2012 season

Jeff Eisenberg provides an interesting take on why Trent Johnson would want to leave LSU for TCU

– Ryan Fagan lists the top-ten first round upsets in tournament history. This past season’s tournament is most certainly represented

– Hey look, another person doesn’t think the new NBA draft deadline is helping the players. Is anybody at the NBA offices reading this?

– Michigan guard Trey Burke will return to Ann Arbor for his sophomore season, despite reports last week that he was expected to declare for the draft. With Burke running the point, and a talented recruiting class on the way in, the Wolverines will be one of the favorites to win the Big-Ten

– Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum, one of the darlings of the NCAA tournament, is staying in school for his senior year. Let him tell you why he decided to come back

– Central Michigan transfer Trey Zeigler will attend Pittsburgh, but it is still unclear if he will be able to play in 2012-2013 or if he will have to sit out a year

– Vanderbilt star guard John Jenkins will forgo his senior season in order to enter the NBA draft

– Kansas junior Thomas Robinson is officially declaring for the draft, and the issue of his real height should be the topic of many a pre-draft debateMinnesota has granted Chip Armelin his release, meaning the sophomore guard is free to transfer. it also means that the Golden Gophers will have a scholarship available to use on Trevor Mbakwe, who has granted another year of eligibility

– Not all is lost in Arkansas. freshman guard B.J. Young has decided to return for his sophomore season in favor of entering the draft

– North Texas fresh Tony Mitchell, a likely first round draft pick, has decided to return to school for his sophomore year. Mitchell initially committed to Missouri in 2010 but did not qualify academically. With the dominant forward back, the Mean Green are being considered by some as a preseason top-25 team

– After becoming one of the first players to declare for the NBA draft early, South Florida’s Victor Rudd Jr. has made the smart decision and will return to school next year

– Oregon State guard Jared Cunningham will not return for his senior season in Corvalis, opting to head to the NBA instead

– Matt Fultz provides a nice little SEC recap on NBA draft decisions

– In case you missed it, College  Basketball Talk unveiled their “Dunk of the Year” Awards yesterday. The Top-10 Dunks of the Year will be released later today

– You won’t find a more in-depth, detailed season-in-review post on Clemson’s 2011-2012 campaign as the one you will find at Shakin’ in the Southland. You just won’t

– In case you missed it, Georgia State is leaving the CAA and will become a member of the Sun Belt Conference in 2013-2014

– I don’t know if you’ve seen this yet, but if you haven’t make sure you have. It’s post-game locker room video following Kentucky’s national championship victory

– Speaking of Kentucky videos, the Wildcat’s bench mob, dubbed the W.B.A (or White Boy Academy) released a legit music video honoring BBN’s eighth National Championship

– Delaware women’s basketball phenom Elena Della Donne threw out the first pitch at the Philadelphia Phillies home opener. If you watch until the 2:10 mark, you may notice The Philly Phanatic breaking the most sacred of all mascot rules: NO TALKING!

– Speaking of baseball, Kentucky’s Darius Miller is going to throw out the first pitch for a Lexington Legends Class-A game next week. We already know he can’t possibly do any worse than John Wall

PHOTOS: Miami, Syracuse wear shirts honoring Florida shooting victims

Photo via Mike Waters, Syracuse.com
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Syracuse is playing in Miami on Saturday, the first game that the Hurricanes have played at home since the shooting at Parkland, Florida’s, Stoneman Douglas High School.

Both teams wore warmup shirts honoring the victims of the shooting prior to the game:

Parkland and Coral Gables are about 50 miles apart, but both towns are suburbs with the same Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area.

St. John’s guard Lovett to leave school, turn pro

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
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Marcus Lovett announced on Saturday morning that he will be leaving St. John’s to pursue a professional career.

This decision doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Lovett, who averaged 14.9 points through the first seven games of the season, was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury despite reports that he was healthy enough to play.

According to the New York Post, Lovett was not even enrolled in school for the spring semester.

Lovett spent three seasons in New York with the Johnnies and played less than a year and a half.

Yale’s Makai Mason expected to play vs. Harvard

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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For the first time since the 2016 NCAA tournament, Yale basketball fans are going to have a chance to see Makai Mason play for the Bulldogs.

A star point guard that is already committed to play for Baylor as a grad transfer in 2018-19, Mason missed all of the 2016-17 season and the 2017-18 season to date with a series of foot injuries.

As a sophomore, Mason averaged 16.0 points and 3.8 assists for the Bulldogs as they won the Ivy League and knocked off Baylor in the first round of the NCAA tournament as a No. 12 seed. He had 31 points in that win.

The Elis are currently 5-4 in the Ivy League after beating Dartmouth on Friday night. With Mason back in the fold, they seem like a safe bet to get to the Ivy League tournament and a contender to win it all.

The way that Ivy League rules are written, players are not allowed to redshirt, even if they are injured for the season. Since Mason was in classes as a junior, during the season that he missed, this year is the last year that he would be allowed to play for an Ivy League program.

Bubble Banter: A wild Saturday is on tap

John Weast/Getty Images
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As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Saturday.

It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:

  • Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus

The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.

WINNERS

TEXAS (RPI: 49, KenPom: 44, NBC seed: Play-in game): The Longhorns landed a massive, massive win for their NCAA tournament chances on Saturday afternoon when they went into Norman and picked off Oklahoma. The win snapped a three-game losing streak and put them into a position where a 2-2 finish to Big 12 play keeps them at 8-10 in the league. That’s relevant because no team more than two games below .500 in league play has reached the NCAA tournament since the early 90s. The Longhorns are now 6-7 against Quadrant 1 opponents with some elite wins in that mix — Texas Tech, at Alabama, a sweep of Oklahoma Butler on a neutral — and no losses worse than Quadrant 2. Texas is going to have a very real chance to be an NCAA tournament team with 14 losses this season.

SYRACUSE (RPI: 41, KenPom: 48, NBC seed: First four out): The Orange hold their bubble future in their own hands, and they got started in the right direction on Saturday by going into Coral Gables and picking off Miami. That’s their third Quadrant 1 win — assuming that Buffalo, who is currently 30th in the RPI, remains top 30 — but a Quadrant 3 loss and the lack of a truly marquee victory is a glaring hole in their résumé. The good news? This is the remaining schedule for the Orange: UNC, at Duke, at Boston College, Clemson. Go 2-2 in that stretch and they will enter the ACC tournament in pretty good shape.

YET TO PLAY

VIRGINIA TECH (RPI: , KenPom: , NBC seed: )
PROVIDENCE (RPI: , KenPom: , NBC seed: )
BUTLER (RPI: , KenPom: , NBC seed: )
KANSAS STATE
LSU
BOISE STATE
ARKANSAS
N.C. STATE
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
BAYLOR
WASHINGTON
TCU
LOUISVILLE
MARQUETTE
UCLA
USC

VIDEO: St. Bonaventure’s LaDarien Griffin blocks shot, saves ball missing a shoe

Screengrab via News 4 Buffalo
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One of my favorite plays of the season to date.

With St. Bonaventure down 72-69 with just over three minutes left of their win over No. 16 Rhode Island, LaDarien Griffin lost a shoe and was forced to play a defensive possession in just a sock.

What did he do?

Well, he blocked a shot, corralled the loose ball and threw the ball off of a URI player who was standing out of bounds to stop play. Check this out:

That wasn’t the only big play that he made.

He also blocked a shot with 4.2 seconds left that helped preserve the win for the Bonnies.