The Morning Mix

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– Ken Pomeroy once again provides the #ReadoftheDay. The grandmaster advanced statistician took a long hard look at the 18th most improbable comeback from last season. You should vaguely remember it too. NCAA Tournament Opening Round: Western Kentucky vs. Mississippi Valley State

-Boston College head coach Steve Donahue believes that there is not another conference in the country that can stack up against the ACC in basketball 

– Some solid responses from Eamonn Brennan and Pitt Blather regarding the Sports Illustrated article about schedule-making and the RPI

– Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Eisenberg has been churning out a bunch of fantastic mid-major conference previews. I highly recommend his Atlantic Sun preview on the heirs to the A-Sun throne now that Belmont has moved to the OVC. In his Big West preview, Jeff explains how western mid-major schools are avoiding being left behind in the ever-changing world of conference expansion. Jeff also details how a “new-look” Long Beach State team will try to defend their Big West title. Seriously, just read as many of Jeff’s conference previews as you can. It will benefit you down the road. Trust me

– According to reports from Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, the NCAA is conducting a wide-ranging investigation into Notre Dame Preparatory School (MA). This comes on the heel of two Class of 2012 basketball recruits from the school academically ineligible to play college ball this year. Sam Cassell Jr. (Maryland) and Myles Davis (Xavier) were both recently denied eligibility at their respective  schools

– Nerlens Noel recently admitted that opposing recruiters assumed Kentucky was paying him. In this Sports Illustrated article, other recruit open up about shady recruiting practices

– The SB Nation blog “Tar Heel Fan” has provided some of the best arguments and discussion topics concerning the academic scandal taking place in Chapel Hill. The most recent post questions the purpose of recent reports published by the Raleigh News and Observer

– The Ed O’Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA is not easy to keep track of. But luckily Matt Norlander fills us in on the latest updates and briefs us on the road ahead for the NCAA

– Sad new out of Baltimore, as former-Maryland walk-on Earl Badu was found dead from an apparent suicide over the weekend.  According to police reports The 33-year old former-Terp jumped to his death from the I-95 overpass onto Interstate 695 outside of Baltimore County

– The Hawaii Warriors got some terrible news on Friday, as All-Conference big-man Vander Joaquim will miss four to six weeks after he tore his MCL on Thursday. Gib Arnold’s squad is joining the Big West in 2012-2013 and Joaquim was supposed to be the team’s impact player

– One of the traditions being formed at Hawaii under third-year head coach Gib Arnold is the annual “King of the Beach” preseason fitness competition. Nebraska-transfer Christian Standhardinger won the early-morning training competition over the weekend on world famous Waikiki Beach

– No team got hit harder by the injury bug last season than the Louisville Cardinals. Mike Marra was one of the players who missed the entire 2011-2012 season. During Marra’s first practice back, he re-injured his ACL and is thus retiring from collegiate basketball

– Matt Glover started 21 games for Penn State last season before transferring out of Happy Valley admit the lengthy Jerry Sandusky scandal. The 6-foot-5 guard wanted to be closer to his family and transferring to San Francisco. Unfortunately, it was announced on Friday that the NCAA has denied Glover a hardship waiver and will have to sit out the 2012-2013 season

– JuCo star Chris Thomas announced over the weekend that he is decommitting from Xavier. This should not come as a shock considering Thomas attended three high schools and a junior college before settling on Xavier. Iowa State, Missouri and Seton Hall could all be in the mix for his services

– Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal put together a great Q&A session with Kentucky head coach John Calipari

According to the Chicago Tribune, DePaul officials are discussing the possibility of moving home games from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont to the United Center in downtown Chicago

– The Ohio State athletic department held a fundraiser in order to support an iPad program for student athletes. Why do student athletes need iPads?

A nice little review of the Athlon Sports 2012-2013 college basketball preview magazine

– It seems as though college basketball is developing another interesting publicity trend. Rutgers head coach Mike Rice rappelled down the face of a 50-story building as part of a charity fundraiser. Not to be outdone, the St. John’s Red Storm mascot did the same

– Colorado continues to haul in class of 2013 recruits thanks to the Buffs Pac-12 Tournament championship last season. The most recent addition to Tad Boyle’s future squad is 6-foot-5 wing Tre’Shaun Lexing from Takoma, WA

– Mike DeCourcy ranks his top-5 candidates for “Breakout Star” in 2012-2013

– Run The Floor ranks the top-5 guards in the Horizon League

– Ohio State President Gordon Gee spends $64,000 a year on bowties, but really likes helping out the football program on the recruiting trails

– The “Oakland Zoo” student section at Pittsburgh’s Petersen Events Center released their t-shirts for the new season. It’s solid. Not as good as some of the past seasons, but still pretty good

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.

VIDEO: Kris Dunn wills Providence to win over No. 11 Arizona

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Kris Dunn spent the first 35 minutes of Friday night’s game against No. 11 Arizona in foul trouble, splitting his time between sitting on the bench and trying to avoid finding himself, again, on the wrong side the whistle.

With 11 minutes left in the game, and with Dunn yet to find a rhythm, the all-american point guard was whistled for his fourth foul as he battled for a rebound with Arizona’s Mark Tollefsen. Head coach Ed Cooley say his superstar beside his for six game minutes, time enough for Arizona to turn a 49-47 deficit into a 58-54 lead.

There were just over five minutes left when Dunn reentered the second semifinal of the Wooden Legacy, and he proceeded to show everyone in the country why he was named the Preseason Player of the Year. Providence had nine possessions after he reentered the game. Dunn scored 11 points and had a pair of assists on those eight possessions, and if Ben Bentil had stuck a wide-open three — that was setup by Dunn — the Friars would have scored on all nine.

In total, Dunn was responsible for all 15 Friar points in a game-changing, 15-7 run in the final 4:30. It was capped off by this Kobe-in-his-prime-esque game-winner:

The win for Providence is huge for a couple of reasons:

  • Dunn showed a killer instinct against a marquee opponent, something that we didn’t necessarily see out of him a season ago. He wasn’t going to let his team lose, and given that Providence doesn’t have anyone else that can consistently create good shots, they are going to need that from him a lot this year.
  • It makes a statement for the Friars. Arizona is overrated at No. 11 in the country, yes, but going out on national television against an elite program and getting this kind of performance from Dunn is a confidence-booster and a tone-setter. Providence hasn’t been accustomed to winning in recent years. This is a way to set a trend.
  • Ben Bentil continues to play like a star. Dunn had 19 points and eight assists on Friday, but Bentil followed up a 24-point performance in the win over Evansville with 21 critical points on Friday.

This win sets up a matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence on Sunday night, which means that Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn — the two best players in the country, sorry Ben Simmons — will be going head-to-head.

Oh. Hell. Yes.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.