The Morning Mix

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It’s day two of exam week. Very little happened last night on the hardwood. There’s a bit more action on tonight, but none of the “top games” are required viewing. Again, if you have things to take care of this week, do it.

Lets hit the links.

Monday’s Top Games: 
7:00 p.m. – Binghamton @ No. 3 Michigan
7:00 p.m. – St. Joseph’s @ Villanova
7:00 p.m. – West Virginia @ Duquesne
7:30 p.m. – George Washington @ Rutgers
8:00 p.m. – Norfolk State @ No.10 Illinois
8:00 p.m. – Chattanooga @ LSU
9:00 p.m. – North Dakota State @ No.13 Minnesota
10:00 p.m. – Santa Clara at San Jose State

Read of the Day:
Gary Parrish’s “Poll Attacks” is always a good-read, but his latest entry is especially good. He’s got the best wit in the business, and it’s on display. Read it (Eye on College Basketball)

Read of the Day:
Mike DeCourcy looks back on the surprises, both good and bad, from the first month of college hoops. Make sure you read this. (Sporting News)

Top Stories:
Michael Carter-Williams debunks arrest rumors: The Syracuse sophomore says he was never arrested, police reports don’t indicate anything and nobody is talking.

Exam week essay on the ideal candidate to coach at UCLA: UCLA is, historically, one of college basketball’s most successful programs. If you could hire any coach in America to rebuild the Bruins in terms of wins, respect and fan support, who would it be, and why?

Wish List for the Louisville Cardinals: What do the Cardinals need this holiday season? How about some shooting improvements, from both the line and the perimeter.

NBC Sports and Yahoo! are teaming up:Yahoo! and the NBC Sports Group announced a content and promotional deal combining Yahoo! Sports’ original reporting expertise, coverage of big events, Rivals college content and popular fantasy sports products with NBC Sports Group’s growing digital assets and significant television promotion and integration. But don’t worry, because College Basketball Talk will remain your go-to source for the latest news & notes from the college hoops world.

Hoops Housekeeping
– Mike Moser suffered a dislocated elbow on Sunday night. Early indications were not good, but it looks like the superstar forward may be able to return prior to conference play (Sporting News)

– Siena forward Lionel Gomis has missed the last four games in order to deal with personal issues and his status with the team remains unclear (Albany Times-Union)

Observations & Insight:
– This is something you may want to keep an eye on: Big East catholic schools held a meeting in New York City to discuss potentially breaking off from the conference (A Jersey Guy)

– This however, I’m not too sure about: Duke and UNC leaving the ACC? I’ll believe it when I see it. (The Best Basketball Blog)

– Cincinnati president Santa J. Ono will shave his head if the Bearcats beat Marshall on Saturday (The Dagger)

– Jeff Eisenberg spoke with Brian Okam, he of the now infamous “Worst free throw ever”. I’m glad the Appalachian State center can take it in stride (The Dagger)

– Jay Bilas and Chad Ford state their case for the best point guards in the country. (ESPN Insider)

– North Carolina is having issues in the backcourt, but also up front. When will Roy Williams settle on a consistent start at center? (Tar Heel Fan)

– More good stuff on Canisius, which is reaping the benefits of the father-son duo of Billy and Jimmy Baron (Eye on College Basketball)

– Myron Medcalf provides a lengthy, yet entertaining recap of the first month of hoops (ESPN)

– Brian Ewart on the recent struggles of Villanova big men and why it didn’t have to be this way (VU Hoops)

– Kyle Wiltjer is an assassin from beyond the arc. But the Kentucky sophomore is shooting well below average and his efforts are a hindrance to his team (Sea of Blue)

– This is an excellent breakdown of Deonte Burton’s made baskets against Washington. The Huskies need to be able to stop guards who like to penetrate, but they haven’t been able to do so yet. (UW Dawg Pound)

– A nice read on the growth and development made by Ohio State forward DeShaun Thomas, who is on pace for an All-American caliber season (Eleven Warriors)

– Where have all the points gone? A look at the dwindling offensive numbers across college hoops this season (Kentucky Sports Radio)

– Marist’s Devin Price scored his 1,000th career point on Sunday, the first Red Fox to do so under head coach Chuck Martin (Big Apple Buckets)

Odds & Ends:
– According to The Big Lead, Syracuse sophomore phenom Michael Carter-Williams was involved is some sort of incident at a Lord & Taylor store at the Destiny USA mall. I’m not big on rumors, and nothing seems to have come from but TBL did a lot of digging and his efforts should be commended. (The Big Lead)

– A quick little list of the top-5 best players in UPenn history (

– You’re kidding right? Another Freshman of the Year award watch list and no mention of Marcus Smart? Not only is he one of the top freshman in the country, he’s probably somewhere on the National PoY watch list (Run The Floor)

Picture of the Day:
I know this is a day late, but it’s such a strong scene. Superstar Mike Moser reeling in pain, having his dislocated elbow stabilized. Luckily Moser should be able to return before Mountain West Conference play begins. (Las Vegas Sun)
source: AP

Dunk(s) of the Day:
Who knew Creighton’s Grant Gibbs could throw down like that? I sure didn’t. (Ballin’ is a Habit)

Dunk(s) of the Day:
No one man has put up as many big dunks this sesaon as Detroit’s Doug Anderson. Here he is throwing down a half-court ally-oop. (Always Sunny in Detroit)

Video(s) of the Day:
Scotty Lubkeman is a high school student in Golden Colorado and got a chance to finish the final minute of one of his high school’s home games. And wouldn’t you know, the kid banked in a 3-pointer.  (Busted Coverage)

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)

Loyola-Chicago’s Sister Jean gets her piece of the net

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Loyola-Chicago’s hero — their 98-year old chaplain, Sister Jean — got her reward for being the good-luck charm that got the Ramblers to the Final Four.

Think about this:

  • The Ramblers beat Miami on a game-winning three with 0.3 seconds left
  • They beat Tennessee on a jumper with 3.6 seconds left that bounced off the rim, the backboard and the rim again before going in.
  • They needed a three with 7.6 seconds left to help them hold off Nevada in the Sweet 16.
  • A senior that never averaged more than 8.3 points and that had a season-high of 14 points against something called Eureka this season went for a career-high 23 points to get the Ramblers to the Final Four.

She earned this piece of the net.

The Atlanta Falcons are trying to recruit Sister Jean from Loyola

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The Atlanta Falcons are American sports’ most cursed franchise now that the Chicago Cubs have won a World Series.

Hell, Atlanta sports in general are a minefield of terrible losses, blown seasons and heartbreak.

Which is why the Falcons, who may or may not have blown a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, are trying to get Sister Jean on their payroll:

Stay away, Falcons.

Sister Jean is ours.

Sincerely, College Basketball

No. 11-seed Loyola-Chicago advances past Kansas State, to Final Four

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Sister Jean strikes again!

Ben Richardson, a senior guard who’s never averaged more than 8.3 points in a season, broke double-figures just four times during his senior year and had a season-high of 14 points that came in a game against something called Eureka, scored went 6-for-7 from three and scored a career-high 23 points for No. 11-seed Loyola-Chicago as college basketball’s latest Cinderella finished off their run to the Final Four with a 78-62 win over No. 9-seed Kansas State.

A No. 11-seed is the lowest-seeded team to ever reach a Final Four, and Loyola is just the fourth No. 11-seed to get to the Final Four. LSU did it in 1986, George Mason made it in 2006 and VCU reached the Final Four out of a play-in game in 2011.

Perhaps the most impressive part of this win was that it was never really in doubt. Kansas State led 3-2 for 17 seconds in the first half … and that’s it. The Ramblers opened the game on a 15-5 run, took a 36-24 lead into the break and led by as many as 23 points in the second half.

Perhaps this is what says it all — The Ramblers emptied their bench to let the walk-ons get some run.

In the Elite Eight.

Their bench players dribbled out the clock to send them to the Final Four.

For a team that needed game-winning jumpers in the final 10 seconds in the first three rounds of the tournament, Kansas State was the lowest seeded team that the Ramblers played in the tournament. I guess it’s fitting that they were the game they finally won comfortably.

And to be frank, this is the postseason run that we all needed this year.

Let’s start with the basics: Nobody wants to see Kansas State in the Final Four. I’m sorry Kansas State fans, but that’s the truth. This run has been fun, it might have saved Bruce Weber’s job and I’ve gained a whole new level of respect for the fight and the grit that guys like Barry Brown Jr., Cartier Diarra and Xavier Sneed play with.

But if you are going to give me the choice between seeing a miracle mid-major run to the final weekend of the college basketball season or a middling power conference program that happened to get hot against a lucky draw in the NCAA tournament, I’m taking the mid-major.

Every. Single. Time.

And I guarantee that I’m not the only one.

If we’re not going to get a blueblood, give me the little guy.

Especially when they are being led to glory by a 98-year old nun named Sister Jean.

That is the other part of this: Everything about this Loyola-Chicago team is good. They are what makes college basketball so special. They are why this event is the best sporting event in America. And they are making this run in the tournament in a year where the sport has been marred by scandal after scandal.

There was the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball that resulted in assistant coaches at four programs getting arrested. There was the arrest of the three UCLA players that turned into an international incident covered by TMZ, CNN and FOX News when LaVar Ball stood up for his son and got into a war of words with Donald Trump. There were the accusations that were levied at Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo that he covered up sexual assaults committed by players within his program. There were the reports that leaked before the start of the NCAA tournament that tied players at myriad programs with taking impermissible from a disgraced NCAA agent, and then the controversy surrounding a report that Sean Miller was caught on a wiretap discussing a payment of $100,000 for Deandre Ayton.

Anyone paying attention to college basketball from afar would think that the sport is an absolute cesspool, and whether the fact that it is may or may not be true depending the way that you view amateurism and the ability of college athletes to earn money off of their likeness, the bottom-line is this: College basketball’s public image has never been worse.

Until now.

Now we have a team from the Missouri Valley — a league that Wichita State and Creighton left because it wasn’t good enough — heading to the Final Four. We have a mid-major program whose most famous member is their 98-year old chaplain. We have a program with a head coach that is so far from the glitz and glamour of $3,000 suits that he wears outfits that look like this.

This is why college basketball is the best.

Because things like this can happen.

Tonight, we are all Ramblers.

Report: Gonzaga will decide on conference future in next few weeks

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Now that Gonzaga has been eliminated from the 2018 NCAA tournament, the school has some important decisions to make regarding its basketball future.

A report at the end of February from Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune said that the Bulldogs were among two teams targeted by the Mountain West Conference for future expansion. The Mountain West talks are becoming more of a reality since the Zags were ousted by Florida State in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night.

Dennis Dodd of is reporting that Gonzaga will make a conference decision in the next few weeks as the school is exploring the possibility of leaving the West Coast Conference.

Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth confirmed to Dodd that the Mountain West and Gonzaga are talking while also noting that rumors of BYU and Gonzaga being a package deal are false. Since the window is quickly closing to try to get new teams into leagues for the 2018-19 season the Gonzaga/Mountain West talks should be figured out within the next few weeks.

“I think we’re into that crunch period for sure if we’re going to try to get it done for the fall of 2018. At the same time, we’re not going to rush the decision because of timing,” Roth said to Dodd.

“In a perfect world, we’re going to be making a decision in the next couple of weeks here. But there is no such thing as perfect worlds in the crazy world of college athletics.”

While Gonzaga has dominated the WCC over the last 20 years, the conference hasn’t provided enough quality competition for the perennial top-25 program. That’s why the jump to the Mountain West would be intriguing. The Bulldogs would get a better yearly strength of schedule to help its tournament profile. The Mountain West would add a stable NCAA tournament contender that would also boost the national profile of the league.

“Our conference doesn’t get the national respect, and the Mountain West has better respect,” Roth said to Dodd. “Whether it’s significant enough for us to make that move, we’re trying to figure [that] out.”

As Dodd noted in his report, this move would have little to do with revenue for Gonzaga. This move would be made strictly for competitive purposes:

Such a move would seemingly have little to do with revenue, at least for Gonzaga. The Mountain West TV contract is worth approximately $18 million (about $1.5 million per school). Gonzaga’s current league, the West Coast Conference, gets a tiny fraction compared to that amount.

Based on an industry standard that basketball is worth only 25 percent of any media rights contract, jumping to the MWC would net Gonzaga only $375,000 per season.

Based on Roth’s quotes about the WCC and the level of national respect, it will be fascinating to see if this move happens in the next few weeks. It makes sense for both Gonzaga and the Mountain West to make this move. But a lot of other things also have to be figured out for such a move to take place. Once the college basketball season is over, this will be one of the biggest storylines to follow heading into next season.

PHOTO: Loyola-Chicago’s Sister Jean has her signature Nikes on

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Not only does Sister Jean have her own bobblehead, she has her own pair of signature Nikes as well: