The Morning Mix

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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)

Villanova beats Duke, Kansas, Indiana for Jermaine Samuels

Atlanta, GA - MAY 27: Nike EYBL. Session 4. Jermaine Samuels, Jr. #23 of Expressions Elite dunks. (Photo by Jon Lopez)
Jon Lopez/Nike
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Villanova landed a commitment from top 50 prospect Jermaine Samuels on Saturday.

Samuels is a tough and athletic 6-foot-5 wing that will remind many Wildcat fans of Josh Hart. He’s got the same kind of versatility and nose for the ball that will let him guard perimeter players as well as work in as a small-ball four. Players like this are a specialty of Jay Wright.

Samuels picked up an offer from Duke recently and also had Indiana, Kansas and Georgetown in his top five. Beating out blue-bloods for a prospect like this is quite the statement for Villanova, one that should tell you the reigning national champs are here to stay as a national power.

Syracuse lands critical piece in Andrew White

LINCOLN, NE - FEBRUARY 3: Andrew White #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers shoots the ball over Rasheed Sulaimon #0 of the Maryland Terrapins during their game at Pinnacle Bank Arena on February 3, 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images
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Syracuse has found their replacement for Malachi Richardson.

On Sunday, Nebraska transfer Andrew White committed to the Orange, picking Syracuse, in the end, over VCU. White is a graduate transfer who spent last season with Nebraska, where he averaged 16.2 points while shooting 41.2 percent from three. A top 50 prospect out of Virginia back in the Class of 2012, White played a limited role for Kansas his first two seasons in college.

This is a significant pickup for the Orange, one that legitimately puts them into the conversation as a Final Four contender and a threat to finish at or near the top of the ACC. Jim Boeheim has put together a roster full of talented, long and athletic front court players, but after Richardson declared for the NBA Draft as a one-and-done freshman, he was left with just two back court players on his roster.

Earlier this offseason, Cuse landed Colorado State grad transfer John Gillon, a 6-foot-1 combo-guard, to reinforce their back court. The addition of White gives them a lights-out shooter and a big-time scorer on the wing, something that would have been a major void on their roster.

With Paschal Chukwu getting eligible at the center spot and Tyler Lydon likely landing on every breakout player list this preseason, the Orange should be a markedly better team than the one that made their way to the Final Four last season.

Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.