The Morning Mix

Leave a comment

Monday didn’t provide a bunch of action on the hardwood. But with early season injuries springing up and the Big Ten/ACC Challenge gearing up, we got a lot to get to.

Lets hit the links.

 

Monday’s Top Games:
7:00 p.m. – Vermont @ Harvard
7:15 p.m. – Iowa @ Virginia Tech
7:15 p.m. – No. 21 Minnesota @ Florida State
7:30 p.m. – No. 18 North Carolina State @ No. 3 Michigan
9:15 p.m. – Maryland @ Northwestern
9:15 p.m. – Nebraska @ Wake Forest
9:30 p.m. – Texas Southern @ No. 19 Colorado
9:30 p.m. – No. 14 North Carolina @ No. 1 Indiana

 

Read of the Day:
In what may be the most brilliant article you read all week, Will Blythe explains how to fix college basketball. Read It. (The New Republic)

Read of the Day:
In what may be the second-most brilliant article you read all week, David Pargman swiftly and thoroughly explains why athletes should be able to major in sports. Read it. (The Chronicle)

 

Top Stories:
Daniel huge as Murray State survives Lipscomb: Ed Daniel, purveyor of the best afro east of the Mississippi River, had himself a monster night, scoring 20 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and swatting away five shots. If Murray State is going to be as successful as last season, Daniel may have to replicate this performance again.

Now retired, Jim Calhoun to host Golf Channel show: Of course he is. He’s retired. All retired people play golf. But he’s actually not the first college hoops coach to broadcast golf programming. Former-Maryland coach Gary Williams frequently co-hosted coverage of the AT&T National Golf Tournament for CSN Washington.

Jeff Withey swats his way to a triple-double: The Kansas big-man recorded 16 points, 12 rebounds and a school-record 12 blocks en route to a 70-57 win over San Jose State.

Cyber Monday is over, so check out what teams we bought at a discounted price: After watching three weeks of college hoops, the College Basketball Talk staff details who they are buying cheap, buying a lot of and flat-out ignoring this holiday season.

UCLA or Memphis, who is more disappointing? We were having these exact thoughts roughly 365 days ago. At this point one has to wonder if if these two teams aren’t just really good at destroying hype

 

Hoops Housekeeping:
– ICYMI, Pittsburgh’s Trey Zeigler was arrested over the weekend for driving under the influence and has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Jamie Dixon. (Sporting News)

– Julius Randle, one of the top-3 uncommitted recruits in the class of 2013 will be sidelined for three months with a fractured foot. (USA Today)

– North Carolina State forward Thomas de Thaey has decided to leave the program and will return to Europe to be closer to his father, who has been battling cancer since April. (Fayetteville Observer)

– Louisville center Gorgui Dieng will have surgery later today on his injured wrist and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. (The Cardinal Connect)

– North Carolina sophomore guard P.J. Hairston has been ruled out of tonight’s game against Indiana because of recurring knee pain. (ESPN)

 

Observations & Insight:
– Ken Pomeroy has some stats, graphs and number in advance of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. (KenPom Blog)

– Jeff Eisenberg previews and predicts winners for all the Big Ten/ACC Challenge games. (The Dagger)

– An AP voter kept UCLA in their top-25 after losing to Cal-Poly. Naturally, they were featured in Gary Parrish’s Poll Attacks. (Eye on College Basketball)

– A mid-major recap of Monday’s action. (Mid-Major Madness)

– Denver is heading to the Summit League, which will be their third conference in as many years. This is the most entertaining read on the subject. (Mile High Mids)

– We knew Creighton was legit, but they aren’t the only MVC team thriving thus far. In fact, the Missouri Valley Conference is having its second best season in conference history. (Evansville Courier-Press)

– Paul Biancardi hands out his grades for the ACC recruiting classes. (ESPN Insider)

 

Odds & Ends
– The Mid-American Conference is applying to trademark the term/hashtag #MACtion. This my friends, is a brilliant, brilliant marketing move (CBS Sports)

– After a tough week in the Bahamas, the Memphis Tigers are regrouping, which happens to including changing their media policies. (Memphis Commercial Appeal)

– A Louisville Cardinals fan diary from the Battle 4 Atlantis holiday trip. (Card Chronicle)

– Philahoops.com is the best site on the web for Philly-area college hoops news, but they need your help to stay afloat. (Philahoops.com)

 

Dunk of the Day:
A recap of all the #POSTERIZED entries from a wild Feast Week (Ballin’ is a Habit)

 

Video(s) of the Day:
Kentucky mascot hits backwards half-court shot (Kentucky Sports Radio)

 

Do you like the new Morning Mix? Hate it? Have a suggestion or wanted something featured? Troy Machir will take all your praise, insults and inquiries via Twitter (@TroyMachir)

Report: Texas’ Jones to test NBA possibility

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
1 Comment

Both of Texas’ McDonald’s All-Americans from its 2016 class will test the NBA waters.

Andrew Jones will declare for the draft, but will not hire an agent, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

The 6-foot-4 guard joins Jarrett Allen, the Longhorns’ star center, in utilizing the rule change that became available to players last year in which they can declare, workout for teams, attend the NBA combine and still return to school.

Jones averaged 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a freshman. He shot 42.5 percent from the field overall and 32.8 percent from 3-point range.

Allen seems the likelier candidate to remain in the draft as a potential lottery pick, but Jones came to Austin with similar one-and-done possibilities given his status as one of the class’ top recruits.

Texas, of course, is hoping both return, not just because they’re both big talents, but because incoming and highly-touted recruit Matt Coleman fills the major hole in last year’s lineup – point guard. If the three of them can share the floor together, Year 3 of the Shaka Smart era will be much more interesting.

Morrow announces transfer from Nebraska

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Nebraska was once again hit with a surprising and damaging transfer.

Ed Morrow, Jr., who led the Huskers in rebounding last year, announced his intention to transfer, the school announced Wednesday.

“I support Ed in his decision to transfer schools and wish him well,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said in a statement. “We appreciate his hard work over the last two years. Although I am disappointed, we will continue to recruit young men who are committed to our mission of building Nebraska Basketball with a culture of success in all areas…life, school and winning basketball at its highest level.”

The 6-foot-7 sophomore’s departure is a major hit to the Huskers, who are coming off a 12-19 year in which Miles’ job security was called into question. It almost assuredly will be again this year as Nebraska hasn’t been able to build on its 2014 NCAA tournament appearance, instead putting together three-straight losing seasons.

Morrow’s decision is surprising not only given he’d been a productive member of the team – averaging 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game – but because he was born in Nebraska before attending high school in Chicago and both his parents were Nebraska student-athletes his father winning a national title on the football team in 1994 and his mother an all-Big Eight performer on the basketball team.

“I want to say thank you to my teammates, coaches, the fans and the University of Nebraska athletics department for giving me the opportunity to play Division I basketball,” Morrow said in a statement. “It is hard to leave home, and Nebraska is my home. I was born and raised here, it is my parents’ alma mater, and I have a lot of friends here. But sometimes you have to venture out to pursue dreams and aspirations in a career. This is a sacrifice I have to make to better myself.”

Morrow’s transfer comes a year after Andrew White surprised Nebraska with his decision to graduate and transfer to Syracuse, which no doubt impacted the Huskers’ poor 2016-17 record.

Miles was on the hot seat at the end of last season and will assuredly begin this season there as well. A roster hit like Morrow won’t do much to help him improve the situation. Nebraska does, however, have three starters returning while Georgetown transfer Isaac Copeland is eligible, as is Miami (Fla.) transfer James Palmer, Jr.

Lonzo Ball says “I’m better than” Markelle Fultz

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
1 Comment

Usually, it’s LaVar Ball that makes news for what he says.

His eldest son is now getting in on the business of generating headlines with something other than his play.

The UCLA star, who said he’ll enter the draft after just one season with the Bruins, claimed he’s the better prospect than Washington freshman Markelle Fultz, who many have pegged as the No. 1 pick in June’s draft.

“Markelle’s a great player,” Ball said, according to ESPN, “but I feel I’m better than him,” “I think I can lead a team better than him. Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him.”

Not exactly inflammatory stuff – like saying you could have beaten Michael Jordan, that you want a $1 billion apparel deal or a number of things his father has said – bu Ball is certainly projecting confidence. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. There’s quite a bit of money – and pride – at stake with the draft, and Ball put up a season worthy of comparison to Fultz, who had great numbers but played for an abysmal Washington team. Ball, on the other had, had strong numbers while leading UCLA to the Sweet 16.

Both are going to go at the top of a draft that’s stocked full of promising point guards. Which player goes before the other remains to be seen, but it’s likely public pronouncements aren’t going to affect the draft order.

 

UMass hires McCall away from Chattanooga

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Leave a comment

UMass has found, once more, the man to take over its basketball program.

The Minutemen have reached an agreement with Chattanooga coach Matt McCall, the school announce Wednesday

“The tradition and resources that are in place not only make this one of the best basketball jobs in the Atlantic 10 Conference,” McCall said in a statement released by the school, “but one of the best jobs in the country. We couldn’t be more excited about becoming part of the UMass family and look forward to building upon the rich tradition that has been established here in the past.”

In McCall’s two years at Chattanooga, the Mocs to the NCAA tournament in 2016 and a 19-12 record this year that featured five-straight losses to end the season.

The move will take McCall out of the southeast for the first time in his career as he previously served as at Florida and Florida Atlantic before getting his first head coaching job at Chattanooga.

McCall wasn’t the Minutemen’s first choice to replace Derek Kellogg after three-straight lackluster seasons. Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey had agreed to take the job before a last-minute about-face that saw him return to the Eagles program just before his introductory press conference was scheduled to begin.

“Matt is a rising star in college basketball coaching who has been a key piece of three successful programs in his career,” UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said in a statement. “He has earned a reputation as a relentless worker, a great teammate and colleague and a confident leader of young men.

“Matt has worked with some of the most respected coaches and administrators in the country, who loudly sing his praises. Coach McCall’s appointment begins an exciting new chapter for our tradition-rich men’s basketball program at UMass.”

Despite being the second choice, McCall’s reputation in the coaching industry makes him a strong hire, having worked under Mike Jarvis and Billy Donovan. He took over at Chattanooga for Will Wade, and brought the Mocs to a 29-6 record and a  12-seed in the NCAA tournament in 2016.

UMass went to just one NCAA tournament under Kellogg (in 2014) during his nine seasons leading the Minutemen.

VIDEO: Frank Martin’s sideline demeanor as a high school coach

Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
Leave a comment

South Carolina coach Frank Martin has the reputation of being rather, shall we say, intense on the sidelines during games.

The coach has a stare that seemingly could bore a hole through his players when they do something that doesn’t reach his level of expectation. Martin’s demeanor, though, didn’t just come into form once he hit the college ranks.

He was plenty intense on high school sidelines as well.

Martin won three titles while at Miami Senior in the mid-1990s, coaching the likes of future pros Steve Blake and Udonis Haslem. Now having reached his first career Final Four, that sideline persona has put him on the precipice of winning yet another championship, this time at the collegiate level.