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.

Louisville’s Deng Adel and Ray Spalding to test draft process

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A season that began with the firing of Rick Pitino in mid-October came to an end Tuesday night, as Louisville lost to Mississippi State 79-56 in a Postseason NIT regional final. There are a lot of questions to be answered, most notably who will lead the program moving forward after interim head coach David Padgett led the Cardinals to 22 wins.

As for the players, two announced following the loss that they will be going through the NBA Draft process. Junior wing Deng Adel and junior forward Ray Spalding both confirmed that they will be entering the NBA Draft but not hiring agents, so as to preserve their collegiate eligibility should they decide to return to school.

This will be the second time that Adel has entered the NBA Draft, doing so last spring before making the decision to return to school.

Playing just over 33 minutes per game, the 6-foot-8 Adel averaged 15.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per contest, shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from three. Moving into the starting lineup after serving as a reserve in each of his first two seasons at Louisville, the 6-foot-10 Spalding averaged 12.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 27.4 minutes per game.

Mississippi State advances to NIT semifinals at MSG

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and Mississippi State advanced to the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York with a 79-56 victory over Louisville on Tuesday night.

Mississippi State (25-11) will face Penn State (24-13) on March 27.

Lamar Peters opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer and Mississippi State led by at least nine points the rest of the way. Weatherspoon scored eight points during a 12-3 run to start the third for a 51-31 advantage and MSU cruised.

Aric Holman added 16 points and eight rebounds for Mississippi State, which has won its most games since the 2009-10 season. Xavian Stapleton and Nick Weatherspoon each chipped in with 12 points. Abdul Ado had three blocks to tie Jarvis Varnado for the most blocks by a MSU freshman with 67.

Ray Spalding paced Louisville (22-14) with 13 points and 11 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season. The Cardinals shot 35 percent from the floor and were outrebounded 42-32.

Gregg Marshall does right by Alex Lomax with NLI release

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Memphis introduced Penny Hardaway as its new head coach Tuesday morning, with the former Tiger great and Memphis native making his triumphant return to campus.

And it didn’t take long for Hardaway’s hiring to have an impact on the recruiting trail either, as the point guard who led Hardaway’s Memphis East squad to its third straight TSSAA AAA state title is expected to play for his longtime mentor.

Alex Lomax, who signed a National Letter of Intent to play for Gregg Marshall at Wichita State, requested to be released from his NLI on Tuesday. It didn’t take Marshall long to make his decision, granting Lomax’s request and citing the unique circumstances in his statement as to why.

“Obviously, we take commitments to the Shocker program very seriously, but this is a very unique situation where a young man’s mentor and coach since the 5th grade has become a Division I head coach,” Marshall said. “Allowing him out of his NLI without any penalty is the right thing to do.”

The National Letter of Intent, for those who may not be too familiar with it, is a document that when signed binds the recruit in question to the school they’ve committed to. If the circumstances surrounding the recruitment change, getting released from the NLI can be incredibly difficult. Coaches and universities have no obligation to release a recruit once they sign, and it seems like every year we run into a situation where a coach is refusing to so.

Kansas point guard Devonte’ Graham is only a senior this season because, after signing an NLI with Appalachian State, he was not given a release and forced to go to prep school for a year. That’s not as uncommon as you might think.

That is also perfectly within the bounds of the rules, if not the laws of being a decent human being.

Wichita State and Marshall could have taken this opportunity to make life miserable for Lomax, and there would have been those who rushed to say that since the young man made a commitment he should stick by it no matter what. Lomax was a noteworthy recruiting win for the program during its first season in the American Athletic Conference, as the Wichita State went into Memphis and landed a pledge from a prospect who was likely to be a key part of the program’s plans moving forward.

But the hit that comes with allowing Lomax to leave without fuss is far less severe than what happens if Wichita State and Marshall make things difficult for him.

Faced with the opportunity to do the right thing and help out a young player, Marshall and Wichita State did just that.

The program should, and will, be applauded for it.

Stevens’ 30 points leads Penn State past Marquette in NIT

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Lamar Stevens tied his career high with 30 points, Tony Carr added 25 and Penn State beat Marquette 85-80 on Tuesday night to advance to the NIT semifinals.

The Nittany Lions (24-13) will face either Mississippi State or Louisville at Madison Square Garden in New York on March 27. They advanced to the NIT semis for the first time since winning the 2009 tournament.

Stevens hit three crucial buckets in the final three minutes, including a dunk off an alley-oop pass from Josh Reaves for an eight-point lead with one minute left. The 6-foot-8 Stevens then maneuvered through a couple Marquette players to secure a rebound off Andrew Rowsey’s missed 3 with 46 seconds left.

Carr went 5 of 8 from the foul line over the final 30 seconds to give Marquette another chance. Rowsey hit a 3 and a layup to get the Golden Eagles as close as 83-80 with six seconds left before the Golden Eagles ran out of time.

Rowsey, a senior, scored 29 points for Marquette (21-14).

The Golden Eagles had whittled a 14-point deficit early in the second half to 72-68 with 2:39 left on three foul shots by Rowsey. Penn State went nearly three minutes without a bucket and got sloppy with the ball and the sharpshooting Golden Eagles started hitting 3s to get back in the game.

Report: Joseph Chartouny to transfer from Fordham

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After three seasons at Fordham, guard Joseph Chartouny will be leaving the school to play his final year elsewhere. News of Chartouny’s transfer was reported Tuesday afternoon by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, and the 6-foot-3 guard from Montreal will be eligible immediately as a graduate transfer.

Chartouny made 28 starts for the Rams this season, averaging 12.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.3 steals in 36.0 minutes per game. Leading the nation in both total steals and steals per game, Chartouny was an Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team selection.

In three seasons at Fordham Chartouny, the 2016 Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, averaged 11.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.9 steals per game. Given his abilities as a defender and a distributor, Chartouny stands to be a popular player amongst programs looking to add an immediately eligible contributor who also has ample experience at the Division I level.

With Chartouny reportedly moving on, Fordham head coach Jeff Neubauer has a significant hole to fill in his backcourt rotation for 2018-19.

Transfers Antwon Portley (Saint Peters’s) and Erten Gazi (DePaul) will be eligible next season, with reserve Cavit Havsa set to be a junior next season. Fordham’s also landed three perimeter recruits in its 2018 class, with three-star point guard Nick Honor among that trio.