The Morning Mix

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Before we begin, take a moment of silence for the passing of Louisiana Tech bulldog mascot “Tech XX”. After being labeled “missing” for two days, animal care workers came forward and  revealed that the dog had been mistakenly left outside for too long, and died of  heat stroke.

Bulldogs are way too damn cute to pass away.

– Your must-read of the day is from Eric Prisbell of The USA Today. It’s about recruiting and improper benefits. You’ll want to make sure you read this. Apparently a former Big-XII recruit who was drafted in the second round a recent NBA draft got paid six figures (I’d go with Tiny Gallon, but all the evidence points towards DeAndre Jordan)

– Ken Pomeroy thinks there are three specific players that could have breakout seasons due to an expanded role  (Insiders Only)

– Central Florida head coach Donnie Jones is optimistic about the Golden Knight’s future despite their one-year postseason ban

– Ken Caldwell, the runner at the focus of the UCF violations, took to a webcam to “speak the truth”. Gary Parrish reviewed the video. It’s hilarious

– Gary Parrish also ripped in to the sleazy side of recruiting. Reads like this never get old

– This is what our US Olympic basketball teams would have looked like if it was open to college players only

– Jeff Goodman takes a gander at what the 2016 Olympic Team might end up looking like

– The Hustle Belt is one of the best conference-specific blogs out there. They showed why with a great list of all the NCAA violations in MAC history. Quality stuff, gents

Fran Fraschilla details the list of schools that need to bolster their rosters with a strong 2013 recruiting class (Insiders Only)

– Both Laurence Bowers and Jio Fontan have been cleared to participate following extended time off due to ACL tears. Bowers should stake his claim again as one of the best dunkers in the country. Fontan is going to be doing a lot of the heavy lifting for USC this season

– Andy Glockner explains why some improved luck will help schools like Memphis St. Joseph’s, and USC

Here are the five keys to success for Ben Howland at UCLA this season

– A list of the top student sections in Philadelphia

A preview about Robert Morris with only one sentence about Velton Jones? Homeboy deserves more than one sentence. Dude is a wrecking machine

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

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: