The Morning Mix

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– It looks like College of Charleston will be leaving the SoCon in order to join the CAA. Davidson on the other hand will not be leaving. Jeff Eisenberg explains why both schools got it right. This is your #ReadoftheDay

– Just go read the latest from Glen Logan at A Sea of Blue. His articles are always worth your time

– This post on why North Carolina has to spend an extra $120,000 on a trip out west tells a lot about the NCAA’s lack of continuity and consistency

– We will find out on Friday if Minnesota star Trevor Mbakwe will have to serve any jail time for violating probationary terms. The situation is rather confusing, but it’s entirely possible that the Gophers star forward receives some jail time for his past discretions.  He violated terms of a restraining order and violated terms of his probation by getting a DUI

Seth Davis explains why it’s possible for Ohio State to achieve great success this season despite the “rebuilding mode” label

– Yesterday Kansas officials endorsed a major building project that includes the construction of a museum which will serve as the home to James Naismith’s “Original Rules of Basketball”

Well this is interesting: the Big East is in ongoing television negotiations with both CBS and ESPN. The Big East has called ESPN for much of the conference’s existence. It would be a huge coup if CBS could pull away the Big East from ESPN, regardless if the conference  hits a decline due to the departure of Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia

– Former-Pittsburgh star Ashton Gibbs predicts that his Alma mater will make the Final Four this year. Who am I to disagree with Ashton Gibbs? Well, nobody, but let’s be frank: Pittsburgh has struggled in post-season play with far more talented lineups than what Jamie Dixon will field in 2012-13. Sure, you can blame Scottie Reynolds for their failure to make the 2009 Final Four, but it’s the harsh reality. Could Pitt make the Final Four this year? It’s certainly possible.  But are they a team we should pencil in before the season begins?  Absolutely not

– “Russdiculous”, the Rick Pitino-owned horse named after Cardinal guard Russ Smith, will make its debut this weekend at Santa Anita Park

– Georgia? Relevant in basketball? I’ll have to see it to believe it. Gary Parrish believes it could happen

– Oklahoma State guard Brian Williams is expected to miss some significant time due to what head coach Travis Ford called a “pretty serious wrist injury”

– UMass head coach Derek Kellog has agreed to a three-year extension with the school

– Chris Burrows of Horizon League Hoops provides a great statistical breakdown of the 50 most efficient scorers in the Horizon League

– Four-star class of 2013 forward Jonathan Williams III verbally committed to Missouri yesterday, choosing the Tigers over Georgetown, Memphis and Michigan State

– Duquesne-transfer T.J. McConell isn’t happy that he has to sit out a season, but is glad to be a part of the Arizona Wildcats program

– I love Matt Norlander’s writing, I really do.  But I could pick out every single one of his articles from a blind lineup based solely on article titles. OF COURSE the title for his Mid-American Conference preview features a musical play on words. That’s such a Norlander thing to do

– While Senior Khalif Wyatt will gain the most spotlight for the Temple Owls this season, sophomores Anthony Lee and Will Cummings should be able to step up and provide quality support this season

A nice little rapid reaction piece to the Big Sky announcing it’s preseason polls

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

Bluiett back to Xavier for senior season

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Xavier lost one significant piece to the professional ranks this spring, but will return another.

Trevon Bluiett, the team’s leading scorer last year, announced via social media that he will be back to play his senior season with the Musketeers.

Chris Mack will return the bulk of a roster that struggled February only to make a run to the Elite Eight, but getting Bluiett for a final season makes the Musketeers especially dangerous. The 6-foot-6 Bluiett scored a team-high 18.5 points per game last year while also putting up 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per night. He shot 37.1 percent from 3-point range, the second-best mark on the team. His return, even with point guard Edmond Sumner going pro amid his ACL tear recovery, makes Xavier one of the top teams in the Big East heading into the 2017-18 season.

Bluiett himself is enough to keep Xavier relevant in the league, but when he’s coupled with the likes of returners JP Macura, Sean O’Mara and Quentin Goodwin, plus a recruiting class featuring two four-star prospects, it’s not difficult to see a path for Mack’s group to a place where they can compete with the likes of Villanova and Seton Hall atop the league.

Welsh and Holiday returning to UCLA

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UCLA sustained some major, though expected, attrition from its roster this spring. On Tuesday, the Bruins announced a pair of significant contributors that will be back.

Thomas Welsh and Aaron Holiday will both return next season to the UCLA program, according to the school.

Welsh, a 7-foot center, averaged 10.8 points and 8.7 rebounds as a senior last year for the Bruins. He shot 58.5 percent from the floor and blocked 1.2 shots per game, and decided to declare for the NBA Draft without an agent before ultimately deciding to return to Westwood.

“Thomas has worked hard all spring,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said in a statement. “We supported him testing the NBA waters and are excited to have him returning for his senior year. He simply continues to develop each and every season.

“Thomas will be one of the top centers in college basketball next year and, undoubtedly, has a great chance to be a first-round pick in next season’s draft.”

The 6-foot-1 Holiday averaged 12.3 points and 4.4 assists last season while sharing a backcourt with Lonzo Ball, whose departure, along with those of TJ Leaf, Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton will leave UCLA with a very different look next season. The positive results, however, may not fluctuate too significantly with Welsh and Holiday coming back to play alongside two five-star recruits, Kris Wilkes and Jaylen Hands, as well as Lonzo’s younger brother LiAngelo.

West Virginia’s Macon forgoing final year

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West Virginia’s attempt to dethrone Kansas atop the Big 12 took a bit of a hit Tuesday.

Elijah Macon, a 6-foot-9 forward, announced his decision to forego a fifth year in Morgantown in order to pursue a professional career.

“First things first I would like to say thank you Bob Huggins and Erik Martin for believing in a young 15-year-old boy growing up from the Southside of Columbus, OH losing my mother and still having you guys push me to be the man I have become,” Macon said according to the school. “I can do nothing but thank you for all you and Mountaineer Nation (have) done for me. Unfortunately, I will not be returning for my senior season at WVU and instead sign with a(n) agent and play professional basketball. Thank you guys for all the love and support!”

Macon wasn’t a major contributor for the Mountaineers last season, averaging 6.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16 minutes per game, but he was an experienced and tough player who was well-versed in Huggins’ style and demands. Given the pace that the newly-fashioned Press Virginia plays at, depth is also paramount for them as a program.

Macon’s departure, though, may have been expected or at least partly anticipated by West Virginia. The Mountaineers signed five players in its most recent recruiting class, putting them one over their allotment of 13, so something had to give. West VIrginia will stay have interior depth, anchored by junior Esa Ahmad, so the loss of Macon is one they likely can weather, even if it may take some time to acclimate the newcomers.

“Elijah is in the process of completing classes during this summer school period that ends June 2 and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in August,” Huggins said in a statement released by the school. “I respect his decision to become a professional basketball player and to go make money to support his family. He had a great four years with us, and we wish him nothing but the best.”

Key returning to Alabama for sophomore season

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Alabama’s top scorer is returning to school.

Braxton Key has withdrawn his name from the NBA draft and will be back with the Tide for his sophomore season, the school announced Tuesday.

“I spoke to coach Avery (Johnson) just over a week ago and informed him of my decision to withdraw my name from the NBA Draft and return to the University of Alabama for my sophomore season,” Key said in a statement. “I made that official when I sent my paperwork to the NBA league office Monday morning. I want to express my appreciation to my teammates, Coach Johnson and the entire coaching staff for giving me their full support while I went through this process.

“I am excited for the future of the Alabama basketball program and looking forward to getting to work as we prepare for next season. Roll Tide and Buckle Up!”

The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 12 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while shooting 43.3 percent from the field as a freshman. He gives Alabama four returning starts to pair with one of the country’s highest-regarded recruiting classes, headlined by five-star guard Collin Sexton. The Tide will also have an eligible Daniel Giddens, who previously transferred in from Ohio State.

Key didn’t seem likely to stay in the NBA draft, especially after he wasn’t invited to the combine, but his ultimate decision is a huge one for Avery Johnson as he looks to break through in his third season in Tuscaloosa with his first NCAA tournament appearance. 

Report: Justin Jackson to return to Maryland

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Maryland forward Justin Jackson is expected to return to school for his sophomore season, according to a report from FanRag Sports.

Jackson is an intriguing talent, a 6-foot-7 combo-forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan that shoots 44 percent from three. But he’s also still developing his offensive game and consistency on the defensive end of the floor, which is why he was projected as a second round pick in this year’s draft.

With Jackson back in the fold, Maryland is a borderline top 25 team. They lost Melo Trimble to the professional ranks, but that’s something that Mark Turgeon has prepared for. With a sophomore class that also includes highly-regarded point guard Anthony Cowan and sharp-shooter Kevin Huerter, the Terps have a promising season ahead of them.