The Morning Mix

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– An awesome story about what Nerlens Noel did to show his support for a young Kentucky fan battling cancer (We have ourselves a #RefereeGuy Vinny Swope Reference!)

Sign me up for this: Butler is auctioning off a chance to walk the beloved Butler Blue II out to the Hinkle Fieldhouse court for the Bulldog’s two preseason scrimmages

– Is Texas guard Myck Kabongo finally in the clear from NCAA investigations? Rush The Court has the answer

– Maryland senior captain James Padgett will stand trial in a Maryland court today on charges of driving while impaired, stemming from a June arrest. The Terps’ top returning scorer could be in jeopardy of missing Maryland’s first game of the season, against Kentucky at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY

– It’s a new week, and UCLA still doesn’t have an answer from the NCAA on the eligibility issues of Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad, so sayeth Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times

– Now that coaches are allowed to contact recruits via unlimited text, they will have to learn how to use text messaging effectively (Sounds easy, right? But if you are a young adult, you should be aware how often our elders struggle with newer forms of technology)

– Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe still isn’t free of all his legal obligations stemming from past probation violations and could cloud his focus heading into the season

– Georgetown and North Carolina are holding another “secret scrimmage”. Last year, the Hoyas traveled to Chapel Hill for a closed scrimmage, and this year the Tar Heels will return the favor and visit the nation’s capital

– Having been spurned by the Harrison twins two weeks ago, Maryland head coach mark Turgeon rebounded nicely by getting a committment from Class of 2013 guard Rodney Peters. The Maryland-native is not as highly touted as the Harrison twins but is another piece to a strong puzzle being put together by Turgeon

UConn will break ground this spring on a new basketball training center, and has raised roughly $24-million towards the $32-million project

Here’s a look at the current Sports Books odds for the 2012-13 National Championship. As expected, Indiana, Kentucky and Louisville are the top contenders

– With Steve Lavin back on the sidelines this year, the St. John’s Red Storm look to continue growth in a “new-look” Big East. Lavin sat out most of last season while he recovered from prostate cancer surgery

Interesting stuff from Glen Logan, who details the possibilities of highly touted forward Julius Randle committing to Kentucky with the Harrison twins already having committed

– Dana O’Neil fills us in on what she can’t wait to see from the programs in the Atlantic-10 Conference

Murray State has been placed in a difficult situation now that the police videos of Zay Jackson’s wanton endangerment (See: hitting people with a moving vehicle) have been released. It will be really interesting to see what direction the university goes in. The video is pretty disturbing

– We brought this up last week, but it needs to be reiterated. The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints is in the process of lowering the age at which members of the church go on their missions from 19 to 18. This change could drastically alter the recruiting processes of schools like BYU

A Horizon League round-up of preseason accolades. Despite Butler’s departure, the Horizon League still boasts a bevy of mid-major talent, and will have a few schools in the discussion for potential at-large bids

– Louisville received all 15 first place votes and was the unanimous pick by Big East media members to win the conference this year

– The Drexel Dragons were chosen by CAA media and coaches as the preseason favorites to win the conference this year

A Mountain West Conference preview from NBC Sports College Basketball Talk. A MAAC and Sun Belt preview from CBS Sports Eye on College Basketball. A Missouri Valley Conference preview from Yahoo Sports The Dagger

– The Eastern Washington basketball blog EWU Eagle Eye provides a solid Q&A session with Eagles head coach Jim Hayford

– He’s no Hauns Brereton, but Florida’s Patric Young goes through some pretty intense workouts

No. 5 Villanova beats Tennessee 85-76 in Battle 4 Atlantis

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats drives against Elijah Long #55 of the Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers in the first half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Jalen Brunson scored 25 points to help fifth-ranked Villanova rally from 15 down and beat Tennessee 85-76 in Thursday’s semifinals at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

The Wildcats (5-0) trailed 44-29 with 1:39 left before roaring out of a break with a dominating run. Villanova scored the first 11 points as part of that 23-2 burst, with the Wildcats playing far more aggressively and getting out in transition.

Mikal Bridges added 21 points for Villanova, which shot 52 percent after halftime and built a 15-point lead with 4:40 left before having to hold off a late rally by the Volunteers.

Grant Williams scored 20 points for Tennessee (3-1), which clawed to within 79-76 on Admiral Schofield’s 3-pointer with 51.6 seconds left. But that was as close as the Volunteers got, with Villanova hitting four free throws and getting a breakaway dunk from Donte DiVincenzo with 13.2 seconds left to seal it.

BIG PICTURE

Tennessee: The Volunteers were coming off an overtime win against No. 18 Purdue in the first round and they were poised to add an even bigger upset. But that flat second-half start wiped out a strong half’s worth of work and squandered the momentum that came through their board work and converting turnovers.

Villanova: That’s two straight days the Wildcats put together a second-half spurt to take control in the Bahamas. They did it in Round 1 against Western Kentucky to finally break the game open, but this one — full of active hands, deflected passes and guys diving on the floor — brought them back in a game that was once getting away from them.

UP NEXT

Tennessee: The Volunteers will play the North Carolina State-Northern Iowa loser in Friday’s third-place game.

Villanova: The Wildcats will play the N.C. State-Northern Iowa winner in Friday’s championship game.

VIDEO: Mike Brey celebrates Maui win shirtless

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Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey celebrated his team’s win in the Maui Invitational by going shirtless in the team locker room:

This came after Brey spent the entire tournament coaching in shorts and a t-shirt:

Mike Brey (Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)

I think it’s safe to say Brey enjoyed himself on the islands.

No. 13 Notre Dame lands come-from-behind win to beat No. 6 Wichita State in Maui

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Notre Dame led twice during Wednesday night’s Maui Invitational title game.

At 4-2, and, after Martinas Geben hit the second of two free throws with 2.3 seconds left, at 67-66.

That score would end up being the final, as the 13th-ranked Irish erased a 14-point second half deficit to knock off No. 6 Wichita State and bring home that Maui trophy.

Bonzie Colson led the way with 25 points and 11 boards while Matt Farrell chipped in with 15 points, four assists, four boards and three steals. Geben chipped in with 12 points, including those two free throws that served as the eventual game-winners.

Beyond the simple fact that they did it against one of the best teams in the country, what makes this comeback so impressive is that the Irish didn’t rely on a flurry of threes to change the course of the game. This comeback came through grit, toughness defensively and, if we’re being honest, a little bit of luck.

With less than 20 seconds left on the clock and the Irish down by three points, Colson airballed a pretty good look at a three from the top of the key. On the ensuing inbounds, Farrell stole the ball and happened to find Colson under the rim for a layup. The lead was cut to one, and Wichita State proceeded to miss the front end of a one-and-one after being fouled.

The ball once again ended up underneath Notre Dame’s basket, but this time it was the Irish ball, and after a gorgeous inbounds play, Geben headed to the line for two shots. The first shots somehow managed to go down after bouncing off the back of the rim, the backboard and the front of the rim twice.

And with that, Notre Dame would get off of the islands with another quality win for their résumé and a title to their name.

No. 8 Kentucky finally has it easy against Fort Wayne, 86-67

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Nick Richards had career highs of 25 points and 15 rebounds, and 70 percent first-half shooting propelled No. 8 Kentucky to an 86-67 rout of Fort Wayne on Wednesday night.

Kentucky’s 19-of-27 shooting before halftime countered the Mastodons’ eight 3-pointers that kept them close for a while. Once Fort Wayne started missing, it couldn’t match the length or speed of the young Wildcats (5-1), who eventually led 78-48 with 6:50 remaining on the way to their most decisive win this season.

Richards thrived in both halves and on both ends, making 9 of 10 from the field and all seven free throws for his first career double-double. The 6-foot-11 freshman’s previous highs were 10 points against Utah Valley and nine rebounds against Kansas last week.

Quade Green, Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander each added 11 points as Kentucky shot a season-best 33 of 55 (60 percent) and dominated the rebounding 44-21.

Junior guard John Konchar had 19 points and Bryson Scott 18 for Fort Wayne (3-2), who had won three in a row before losing on 40 percent shooting.

BIG PICTURE

Fort Wayne: A year after upsetting Indiana, the Mastodons led Kentucky 37-36 with 3:51 left in the first half behind 8-of-22 shooting from long range. They went cold from outside and elsewhere after that and the Wildcats pounced to lead at the break and stretch the advantage to 30 points in the second half. The Mastodons’ 12 3-pointers were their third-highest total this season.

Kentucky: Something had to give after all those tense performances and the Wildcats thrived because of their size and best shooting effort this season. Richards couldn’t be stopped on either end, and teammates seemed in sync for the first time. Sophomore forward Wenyen Gabriel came up just short of a double-double with 10 rebounds and nine points.

UP NEXT

Kentucky hosts Illinois-Chicago on Sunday to wrap up the Rupp Classic before getting a few days off.

Fort Wayne visits East Tennessee State on Saturday. ETSU lost 78-31 to Kentucky last Friday.

VIDEO: Providence beats Belmont on Kyron Cartwright’s buzzer-beating three

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We got the first wild buzzer-beater of the college basketball season on Wednesday night, as Kyron Cartwright answered a Belmont bucket with 3.7 seconds left by going 94-feet to hit a leaning three at the buzzer:

Providence won the game 65-63.

Cartwright finished with 17 points in the win.