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.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.

 

Report: Izundu’s San Diego State transfer ban rescinded

Ernie Kent
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Washington State transfer Valentine Izundu will be visiting San Diego State after all.

Coach Ernie Kent has rescinded his restriction on the 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from visiting the Aztecs, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review, citing an anonymous source. Izundu will also be reportedly visiting Fresno State and UNLV.

Izundu had previously been barred from considering the Aztecs by Kent because of suspcisions of tampering. Izundu vigorously denied that was the case as at the center of the dispute was a trip he made to San Diego for spring break. He publicly said he did not have any contact with the SDSU coaching staff , though he attended an Aztecs NIT game.

Kent, though, appears to have relented, as many coaches who have similarly faces public pressure in such situations before him have. In this era where so much attention is being paid to player rights and welfare, there only seems to be growing public sentiment against programs restricting transfers beyond the absolute bare minimum is rarely going to go over well. It may make things more difficult for coaches and programs, but it’s the deck is largely already stacked in their favor in most every other instance.

Ex-Michigan State player Keith Appling faces weapons charges

Keith Appling
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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) Authorities say former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling faces charges including carrying a concealed weapon after he was found in possession of guns and marijuana in suburban Detroit.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says 24-year-old Appling was arrested outside a Dearborn club on Sunday night. Club security called police after seeing a man pull a gun from the trunk of a car.

Prosecutors say Appling was in the driver’s seat of the car when police arrived. Officers found a handgun under the driver’s seat, a loaded weapon in the trunk and a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Weapons and marijuana possession charges were announced Wednesday.

The court says he doesn’t have a lawyer on record.

Appling played for the Spartans from 2010-2014 and plays for the NBA’s development league.

UNLV transfer to finish career at Michigan State

UNLV forward Ben Carter, right, celebrates after his team defeated Oregon in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Las Vegas. UNLV won 80-69. (AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher)
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Former UNLV center Ben Carter announced on Wednesday that he will be transferring to Michigan State to finish his collegiate career.

Carter, who began his career at Oregon, averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 boards in his one season with UNLV before tearing his ACL in late January. He spent two seasons with the Ducks before transferring to Vegas, which is why he’s eligible immediately for the Spartans.

And that’s the biggest reason that Tom Izzo and company targeted him.

The Spartans lost Deyonta Davis to the NBA Draft after one season, a fact that became an inevitability midway through the year but one that the Spartans didn’t necessarily plan for heading into last season. Carter isn’t going to be an instant impact kind of player, particularly not when he’s coming off of an ACL injury, but he is a big body and a veteran presence on a front line that wasn’t going have much of either.