The Morning Mix

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– Yesterday College Basketball Talk released season preview list of the 15 players with breakout potential in 2012-13. We also published part-2 of the 2012-13 CBT Unified All-Name Team. Trust me, you do not want to go any further until you check it out

– In unquestionably the most disgusting piece of news today, the house of Bowling Green State head coach Louis Orr was vandalized with racist graffiti over the weekend.  Just because we all know racism still exists does not mean we should tolerate it and allow it to happen. Disgusting.  Back in 2007, Ball State head coach Ronny Thompson resigned after just one season because of racist threats towards him. Thompson stated that he had been working in a racially hostile work environment.  Disgusting.

– Saint Louis point guard Kwamain Mitchell, a member of the Atlantic-10 All-Conference Third Team last season, underwent successful foot surgery yesterday to repair a fracture, and will miss at least the next six weeks. Mitchell is the team’s veteran ball handler and led the teams in steals and assists last season

– Who doesn’t love a story like this? 5-foot-10 Syracuse walk-on guard Nolan Hart was rewarded a scholarship by head coach Jim Boeheim. Walk-ons work just as hard as scholarship athletes, and it’s always nice to see the bench-warmers rewarded for their hard work

The Duke Blue Devils spent Monday at Fort Bragg, where they practiced in-front of roughly 1,000 troops. The Blue Devils also went through a rigorous boot camp, but took a lot away from the special opportunity they were blessed with. The Dukies also received some bad news on Monday, as it was announced that freshman Marshall Plumlee, the younger brother of senior Mason, will miss the next six to eight weeks due to a stress fracture in his left foot. The youngest of the Plumlee brothers took a redshirt season last year.

– This is kinda interesting: Due to the announcement that the state of New Jersey will begin issuing sports betting licenses in January, the NCAA has decided to remove all scheduled championship events from the Garden State. While no men’s basketball championship events will be relocated, the women’s east regional was scheduled to take place in Trenton and will no have to find an arena in a new state. Since we’re on the topic, you should probably know that the NCAA just surpassed $500 million in net assets, including an endowment fund of $260, which is double what it was in 2006.  Yet despite these gaudy numbers, the NCAA still refuses to provide student-athletes with a small stipend….

– The NCAA will not look to alter their current charge/block rules in the wake of the announcement that the NBA will be imposing fines for “flopping”. Hey look, it’s a rare sighting of the NCAA actually doing the right thing. Cherish these moments folks

– For the second straight day, Bob Knight is in the headlines for peculiar circumstances. Over Sunday is was reported that Knight, an outspoken critic of John Calipari and the University of Kentucky, will announce two Wildcat games this season. On Monday, news broke that the coaching icon will be auctioning off his three national championship rings, his gold medal from the 1984 Olympics and other various trophies and memorabilia  Why? No it’s not for a good cause. It turns out Knight just doesn’t have a use for any of those things, and wants to make some easy coin

– If Kansas wins the Big-XII Cofnerence title this season, it will be the school’s ninth in a row. It’s insane that this isn’t getting more publicity. Nine straight championships in anything is insanely difficult to do

– Athlon published their list of the top-10 impact freshman in 2012-13 (No real surprises here)

– Class of 2013 guard Roddy Peters will make his college decision tomorrow and is expected to choose his hometown Maryland Terrapins

– Yup, look for Adrien Payne to have an increased role for the Spartans, which should lead to a breakout season for the junior big-man

– Jim Calhoun gave a speech at a UConn Alumni dinner, and provided a bunch of thoughts on the players he won’t be coaching this year

– Speaking of former UConn people, Kemba Walker is narrating a 10-part documentary series that follows a New York City AAU team. When you play for the Charlotte Bobcats, you always have to have a back-up plan

– Hustle Belt ranks the non-conference schedules of all the team in the MAC

– Mid-Major Madness ranks the top-10 players in the Horizon League. Be on the look out for Cleveland State’s Anton Grady and Detroit’s Nick Minnerath. Both players should have breakout-caliber seasons

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

No. 17 Michigan beats Maryland 85-61 for 5th straight win

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 22 of his career-high 28 points in the decisive first half, and No. 17 Michigan easily defeated Maryland 85-61 Saturday for its fifth straight victory.

Using runs of 9-0 and 16-3, the Wolverines built a 54-24 halftime lead and cruised to the finish. Michigan went 17 for 28 from the floor in the first half, including 11 for 19 from 3-point range.

The Wolverines (24-7, 13-5 Big Ten) have clinched the No. 5 seed in the conference tournament, but can earn a No. 4 seed and a double bye if Nebraska loses to Penn State on Sunday.

Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 17 for Maryland, which suffered its most lopsided home loss since a 104-72 defeat against Duke on Jan 3, 1998.

The Terrapins (19-12, 8-10) were 15-2 at home and lost to Michigan on the road by just one point on Jan. 15, which made the blowout that much more surprising.

Abdur-Rahkman made six 3-pointers in the first half and also led the Wolverines with five rebounds and four assists. The senior guard cooled off in the second half, but nevertheless surpassed his previous career best of 26 points.

After Michigan rattled off 10 straight points to take a 20-12 lead, Kevin Huerter hit a 3 for Maryland before Jaaron Simmons launched the pivotal 16-3 run with a long-range jumper. Jordan Poole chipped in with a pair of 3-pointers and another by Abdur-Rahkman made it 34-18.

The Wolverines had three turnovers in their opening four possessions, but added only one more before halftime.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan: The Wolverines have plenty of momentum to bring into the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan won it all last year, and again appears ready to take on the big boys in the conference.

Maryland: A flat performance at home means the Terrapins have to win the Big Ten Tournament to extend their run of appearances in the NCAA Tournament to four.

CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS

Former Maryland WR Torrey Smith, who earned his second career Super Bowl ring this season, returned to his alma mater to promote a charity basketball tournament next month in Baltimore. Also, Ravens coach John Harbaugh, the brother of Michigan football Jim Harbaugh, sat courtside.

UP NEXT

Michigan: Big Ten Tournament in New York.

Maryland: Big Ten Tournament on Thursday.

Mark Emmert hints at changes coming to rules regulating agents in college basketball

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Whatever changes Mark Emmert has planned, they’re going to happen quickly.

In an interview with CBS Sports prior to the start of Saturday’s college hoops action, Emmert said that the “systemic changes” that he is hoping to implement will, ideally, be in place for the start of the 2018-2019 season.

“They’re going to be putting forth their recommendations and bringing them forward during the month of April, and then the boards are going to act on them and act on them quickly,” Emmert said. “We need to act and have changes in place before tipoff of next season. Failure to do that will really erode everyone’s confidence in what this wonderful game is truly all about.”

What are the changes going to be?

Emmert didn’t spill the beans there, but it does seems like the NCAA will consider changing the rules involving agents and college basketball players. When asked why there’s a difference between the way the NCAA views hockey/baseball players and basketball players with regards to agents, Emmert said, “It makes perfect sense to me that it ought to be very different than it is now.”

This would be the smart move to make. Of Friday, I wrote a long column about how the only way to clean up college basketball is to allow players to have agents and to eliminate amateurism. This would not entirely solve the problem, but it would be a major step in the right direction.

Emmert also said that he hopes that the eligibility concerns involving the players that are mentioned in these reports will be figured out by the start of the NCAA tournament. The process for determining this is simple: Right now, the onus falls on the school. They essentially have three options:

  1. They can provisionally suspend the player, keeping them out of competition until they can determine whether or not a violation took place. This is why Collin Sexton and Jeffery Carroll missed time earlier this season.
  2. They can self-report a violation, announce that the player is ineligible and immediately apply for reinstatement with the NCAA. The player would have to make restitution for the impermissible benefits and, depending on the value of those benefits, they’d face some kind of suspension. This is like what happened with the Georgia Tech players earlier this season.
  3. They can announce that they do not believe any violations occurred, play out the rest of the season and hope that no evidence pops up that proves the guys that played were ineligible at the time.

At this time, we are still waiting to hear from Alabama on Collin Sexton, Michigan State on Miles Bridges and Arizona on Deandre Ayton and Sean Miller.

Chimezie Metu cleared to play by USC

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USC has cleared junior forward Chimezie Metu as he’ll be allowed to play on Saturday against Utah, the school announced.

The 6-foot-11 Metu is the leading scorer and rebounder for the Trojans this season as he was one of the players named in the Friday reports that linked him to NBA agent Andy Miller and Christian Dawkins.

The Trojans are the latest school to allow their player to play after the reports as they follow schools like Duke and Kentucky, as they also did the same with allowing Wendell Carter Jr. and Kevin Knox Jr. to play.

It’s also noted in the release that USC is reviewing Bennie Boatwright’s eligibility as well even though he’s out for the season with a knee injury.

On Friday, Yahoo Sports reported a wide-scale payment operation from Miller and Dawkins in order to recruit players for Miller’s agency. The records allege that Bennie Boatwright Sr. received about $2,000. The records also allege that Metu or his advisor, Johnnie Parker, also got $2,000.

Although the allegations look serious, Dawkins has also proven to be untrustworthy in many instances and it’s hard to tell what might be real and what might be a cover for another expense. It’s hard to prove a lot of these things presented in a business expenses spreadsheet. USC is backing Metu by saying he never received anything that would harm his eligibility as they try to make a final push at Arizona before the postseason.

Bubble Banter: There will be some NCAA tournament bids determined today

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As we will do every day throughout the rest of the season, here is a look at how college basketball’s bubble teams fared on Saturday.

It’s worth reminding you here that the way winning are labeled have changed this season. Instead of looking at all top 50 wins equally, the selection committee will be using criteria that breaks wins down into four quadrants, using the RPI:

  • Quadrant 1: Home vs. 1-30, Neutral vs. 1-50, Road vs. 1-75
  • Quadrant 2: Home vs. 31-75, Neutral vs. 51-100, Road vs. 76-135
  • Quadrant 3: Home vs. 76-160, Neutral vs. 101-200, Road vs. 136-240
  • Quadrant 4: Home vs. 161 plus, Neutral vs. 201 plus, Road vs. 240 plus

The latest NBC Sports Bracketology can be found here.

YET TO PLAY

MARQUETTE
PROVIDENCE
SETON HALL
BAYLOR
TCU
LOUISVILLE
VIRGINIA TECH
SMU
MIAMI
LSU
TEXAS
USC
UTAH
MISSISSIPPI STATE
TEXAS A&M
WASHINGTON
ALABAMA
KANSAS STATE
OKLAHOMA
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
ST. BONAVENTURE
FLORIDA

Marvin Bagley III returning to Duke lineup against Syracuse after knee injury

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Duke star freshman Marvin Bagley III will be available for the Blue Devils on Saturday when they play Syracuse in an ACC home game.

Bagley missed the past four games due to a knee strain that he suffered in the Feb. 8 game against North Carolina. During Bagley’s absence, the Blue Devils went 4-0 as their defense looked very good and senior Grayson Allen became an aggressive scorer.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of changes Duke makes with Bagley’s return. Watching Bagley’s health and seeing how many minutes he plays will be another subplot to watch against the Orange.