The Morning Mix

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Happy “Bi-quarterly Expansionocalypse Update Tuesday” everybody!

– The WAC is closing up shop for FBS football. That conference is dead in the water. Abeline Christian and Incarnate Word will be joining the Division-I ranks, headed to the Southland Conference. No word yet on Little Sisters of the Poor…..

– Rush The Court’s Christopher Johnson provides a brilliant op-ed on the NY Times article involving Dan Dakich’s brief tenure at West Virginia

– UCLA’s Josh Smith is struggling to lose weight? Shocker. I know

– The guys at CBS’ Eye on CBball continue their coaches survey series. 58% of coaches polled believe players should get compensated

– Apparently, the administrations at both Louisville and Kentucky monitor the social networks of student-athletes for potential client relations. See, I have no problem with this. Schools like LSU, Nebraska and Oklahoma were doing it all wrong, but #BBN and “The ‘Ville” have gotten it right. Glen Logan and NBC’s own Mike Miller both offer solid opinions on the matter

– The words “Rutgers” and “NCAA Tournament” haven’t been said in the same sentence in quite some time.  Despite the transferring of Gilvydas Biruta, the Scarlet Knights could sneak in to the field of 68 in 2012-2013

– Washington has added walk-on potential #AllNameTeam candidate Quinn Sterling. Kid has an amazing story too

– Former-Florida guard and Virginia Tech-transfer Allen Chaney is hoping to revitalize his collegiate career at High Point despite an ailing heart condition that sidelined him two years ago

– A list of all the 2012 Big Sky transfers

– Iona has landed a commitment from former-Penn State transfer Tre Bowman. The junior guard will be able to play immediately but the team may struggle to embrace him. Why? Because just under a month ago, Iona-bound Michael Hayns was shot and killed in Chicago. The Gaels are now foreced to grieve the loss of a teammate and embrace a new one at the same time

– Oklahoma State’s potential season success took a hit on Monday with the announcement that gritty sophomore guard Cezar Guerrero is transferring out of Stillwater

– Sudanese big-man Mankog Mathiang has earned academic clearance at Louisville but is still waiting to hear back about his overall eligibility for this season

A great take from ESPN’s Myron Medcalf on the numerous recent struggles of Calvin Godfrey. A hot prospect out of the midwest in 2009, Godfrey has never been able to mature or develop past the “prospect” phase, as evidence from his recently denied NCAA transfer status

– Former-Indiana recruit Rob Patterson is going to attend Brewster Academy. This, coming just a week after the rising freshman guard was denied eligibility. The Hoosiers have already overbooked their class of 2013, so it is unlikely that Patterson will head to Bloomington after his year at the New Hampshire prep school

– This Kentucky-related topic got much less chatter than I expected. Rant Sports, the site that published the original post, went back to the same subject later in the day without referencing the conversation-starter or the reaction at all

– Aaron and Andrew Harrison, the most popular package of twin recruits since the Wear Bros. have set their announcement date for October 29. It’s either going to be Kentucky (#BBN) or Maryland (Under Armor) ?

– Hilariously-Awesome-Post-of-the-Day: Colorado bloggers had a Q&A session with the french broadcasters provided the radio call for the Buffs’ recent exhibition games

– Tom Crean snapped a photo with Young Jeezy? That’s trill

– Set the “way-back machine” to 1992! Limited Edition Pop-Tart boxes are back! Of course there is in-depth box analysis on this!

– And to think…..I was positive that the portrait of Anthony Davis made out of Reese Puffs would be the weirdest piece of art I’ve ever seen. I was wrong. OF COURSE IT WAS MADE IT KENTUCKY

– Basketball hoops made out of yarn. Weird

Remember, if you find an article that is worthy of being in The Morning Mix, be sure to use the #ReadoftheDay hashtag on Twitter. 

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

Arizona lands Pitt transfer forward Ryan Luther

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Arizona landed a key addition for its frontcourt on Wednesday as Pitt transfer forward Ryan Luther pledged to the Wildcats.

The 6-foot-9 Luther is expected to receive a hardship waiver that would give him immediate eligibility, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com, as Arizona gets some much-needed help up front.

Playing in 10 games last season before a stress reaction in his right foot ended the season, Luther averaged 12.7 points and 10.1 rebounds per game for the Panthers. In his final game of the season, Luther went for 13 points and 12 rebounds in a Pitt loss to West Virginia. Luther shot 45 percent from the field and is a noted perimeter threat as he was 38 percent from behind the three-point line.

Luther hasn’t logged heavy minutes as a contributor through a full season. Mostly a role player at Pitt until last season, Luther was the team’s most productive player when he was on the floor. But that production also didn’t come during ACC play and through the course of a full season.

Thankfully at a program like Arizona, Luther should have a bit more help around him. He could be a nice addition to the Wildcats, particularly if he rebounds and spaces the floor in the frontcourt as he did at Pitt. Arizona needed someone like Luther to provide more stability after losing players like Deandre Ayton and Dusan Ristic.

In the last few weeks, Arizona has rebounded nicely to land three commitments for next season — including freshmen Devonaire Doutrive and Omar Thielemans. The group isn’t as heralded as some past Arizona recruiting efforts. Given where the Wildcats were in recruiting a few weeks ago, however, this isn’t a bad turnaround.

TCU extends Jamie Dixon’s contract by two more years

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TCU has given head coach Jamie Dixon a two-year contract extension through the 2023-24 season, according to a release from the school.

Dixon took the Horned Frogs to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 20 years this season as he’s done a great job of turning around his alma mater. The release also notes that TCU had the highest average attendance in program history this season. Fans are also taking notice of a revitalized team.

With back-to-back 20-win seasons and postseason appearances, Dixon and TCU have a lot of positive momentum going on right now. The two-year extension for Dixon should help a bit in recruiting when it comes to overall stability, as well, as he’s been able to attract some quality talent so far.

Report: Kevin Ollie claims UConn violated rights with firing

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Fired former UConn head coach Kevin Ollie is claiming that the school violated his constitutional rights during his departure.

Ollie sent a letter to UConn school president Susan Herbst which was obtained by ESPN’s Myron Medcalf in a report released on Wednesday. Ollie’s lawyers are claiming the school proceeded with his firing before giving Ollie a proper chance to contest his termination — which was guaranteed in his contract and also the collective bargaining agreement with the University of Connecticut’s branch of the American Association of University Professors. Ollie was fired, with cause, in late March as the school mentioned an NCAA inquiry as the reason why. According to Medcalf’s report, the NCAA has not sent a notice of allegations to the school.

Ollie’s union membership includes thousands of faculty members around the country as the collective bargaining agreement demands a hearing process before any employee can be terminated for allegations of serious misconduct. Ollie claims he didn’t receive a letter he was supposed to get to begin the termination process.

“From our review of the facts and circumstances relating to Coach Ollie’s employment status, it is apparent that the University of Connecticut has already violated [Coach Ollie’s] rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution by subverting Coach Ollie’s opportunity to respond to charges and evidence in a meaningful way in advance of the decision to terminate his employment,” said the letter dated April 3.

“The public record, action taken, and authorized communications by representatives of the University of Connecticut, demonstrate that the decision to terminate Coach Ollie has already been made and therefore the University of Connecticut has effectively negated Coach Ollie’s property right protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

This letter to UConn likely begins a long legal battle to try to get an eight-figure payout back as Ollie is going to do everything he can to clear his name.

South Carolina’s Brian Bowen, still ineligible, to declare for draft

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Former Louisville forward and current South Carolina Gamecock Brian Bowen will declare for the NBA draft without signing with an agent as a safety measure in case the NCAA does not clear him to play in the 2018-19 season.

Bowen is the former top 25 prospect that was forced to leave the Louisville program after the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college hoops turned up evidence that his family had accepted the first payment of what was supposed to be a $100,000 fee to get him to be a Cardinal.

That investigation was ultimately what got Rick Pitino fired.

“I just felt that it was the right decision,” Bowen told ESPN. “My goal is still to play college basketball, but I felt as though it makes sense to cover my bases.”

Bowen is in a tough spot right now.

On the one hand, he has already missed an entire season of college basketball and there is no guarantee that he will be cleared to play next season, if at all.

On the other hand, the fact that he has not played in a year and that he has not played against any collegiate level competition is one of the reasons that NBA front offices are going to be hesitant to draft him, and that’s not a good thing for a player that was considered a second round pick before he spent a year on the sidelines.

North Carolina’s Cam Johnson undergoes hip surgery

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For the second time in the last six months, North Carolina wing Cam Johnson has undergone the knife.

On Wednesday, North Carolina announced that Johnson underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his hip on Monday, and that he is expected to make a full recovery and return to school in time for the start of the 2018-19 season.

The 6-foot-9 Johnson was UNC’s third-leading scorer a season ago, averaging 12.4 points while shooting 34.1 percent from three. He only played 26 games, however, after missing time due to a surgery to fix a torn meniscus.