Michigan State Spartans center Derrick Nix dunks on Louisville Cardinals forward Chane Behanan during the first half during the first half during the NCAA men's West Regional basketball tournament in Phoenix

Tom Izzo shows why his players love him at Derrick Nix’s press conference

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On Thursday afternoon, Tom Izzo provided yet another example of why he is one of the most popular coaches in the college ranks.

Izzo reinstated senior big man Derrick Nix after Nix pleaded guilty to a charge of impaired driving stemming from an arrest in which he was caught with weed in his car. Well, it wasn’t his car, actually. The police report said that he was driving a 2011 Dodge Charger, a car that very few college students are going to be able to afford.

Obviously, the rumors started: Why was Nix driving a 2011 Charger? Who did he get it from? Is this how Izzo is able to land players?

But as it turns out, the car wasn’t a 2011 Charger, it was a 2007 Charger. And it didn’t belong to a booster or a rogue car dealership, it belonged to his brother’s girlfriend. And, as you might expect Izzo had some pointed words for those critics.

“It gave a bunch of people at other universities a chance to throw missiles,” Izzo said. “And you know what? They threw ‘em, but we’re still standing.

“To me, that is nothing. It’s not pertinent to this story in any way, shape or form. And if somebody wants to make it that under the circumstance I think they want to make it at, now we got a fistfight.”

Yes, Tom Izzo just challenged “a bunch of people at other universities” to a fistfight while standing up for a player that was being reinstated to the team after nearly getting the boot for a possession arrest.

Who wouldn’t want to play for a guy will to do that?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

North Carolina to wear black jerseys December 19 vs. UCLA

UNC Athletic Communications
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While there have been some alterations made to North Carolina’s basketball uniforms over the years, there haven’t been too many drastic shifts. Of course there was the move to the Alexander Julian-designed argyle print during the 1990’s, and there were also those jerseys in 1999 that had the interlocking “NC” logo as opposed to “North Carolina” on the front.

Friday the program announced a major uniform change for its game against UCLA December 19 in Brooklyn. North Carolina will be wearing black jerseys for the first time in school history. Senior guard Marcus Paige showed off the new look to his teammates, and it’s safe to say that they’re happy with the new uniforms.

Traditionalists probably won’t like the uniforms, and that’s fine. Changes such as these tend to focus more on the younger crowd (especially recruits), which in some instances like the status that can come with having something that’s both new and exclusive.

Villanova forward to undergo hip surgery

Jay Wright
Associated Press
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Two-time defending Big East champion Villanova will be down a man in its front court, as the program announced Friday that freshman forward Tim Delaney will undergo hip surgery. According to the release a torn labrum in Delaney’s left hip is the reason for the surgery, and it has yet to be determined how long the freshman will be sidelined.

“I’m disappointed for Tim,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “Tim had a great summer and preseason. He’s a very coachable young man and was picking up everything we do. The good news is that the doctors tell us this is an injury that can be fixed and we know Tim will be fully committed to his rehab.”

Villanova’s front court rotation will be led by senior Daniel Ochefu, who averaged 9.2 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds per game in 2014-15. Junior Darryl Reynolds and sophomore Kris Jenkins will also see minutes in the front court, with redshirt freshman guard/forward Mikal Bridges factoring into the competition as well.

Villanova also has Fordham transfer Eric Paschall, but he isn’t eligible to compete in games this season.