The Morning Mix

Leave a comment

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 (Philahoops.com)

– 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)

VIDEO: Presbyterian’s Toss for Tots night earns technical foul for charity

Presbyterian Sports Information Dept
1 Comment

Presbyterian College held an cool and unique fundraiser this week.

In a game against Toccoa Falls, the Blue Hose held what will now be an annual Toss for Tots event. It was simple: after the first basket of their game on Thursday night, fans in attendance were asked to throw a stuffed animal onto the court, with every stuffed animal earmarked for a local elementary school.

Presbyterian ate the technical foul for the cause:

In total, 108 stuffed animals were “donated”.

The program had partnered with Bailey Elementary School, where there are 103 students. On Friday, the team delivered every student at the school one of the stuffed animals for Christmas. Head coach Dustin Kerns told NBC Sports that the team spent some times with the kids today as well, reading to the team and putting a smile on their face.

“Proud of our team,” Kerns, who is in his first year with the program, said. The win against Toccoa Falls was the fifth in a row for the Blue Hose, the first time the program has accomplished that since going to the Division I level. They are not 6-5 on the season after winning five games a year ago. “It was fun seeing out program give back.”

Presbyterian Sports Information Dept
Presbyterian Sports Information Dept

Rape charges will not be filed after last year’s incident in Kansas basketball dorm

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Douglas County District Attorney’s office will not file sexual assault charges stemming from a report that a 16-year old girl was raped nearly a year ago in the Kansas basketball dorm.

“After an exhaustive review of all available reports, evidence and testimony, our office has determined there is not sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a sexual assault occurred,” District Attorney Charles Branson told the Lawrence Journal-World. “Unless additional evidence or reports come to light there is insufficient evidence to prove a crime was committed.”

What’s more, a suspect in the investigation was never actually identified, the paper reported. All five witnesses in the rape report were members of the men’s basketball team. The incident allegedly occurred in McCarthy Hall, which is a dorm where 40 Kansas students live, including all members of the men’s basketball team.

No. 8 Kentucky maturing, more challenges ahead for freshmen

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Leave a comment

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky coach John Calipari hasn’t hidden his frustration about the learning curve of his latest group of talented freshmen.

And while the No. 8 Wildcats are starting play better, they’re bracing for more challenges ahead.

Kentucky has struggled to put away opponents such as Utah Valley, Vermont, Troy and Harvard, efforts that players and Calipari acknowledge have contributed to a perceived lack of national respect. On the other hand, their lone loss — a 65-61 setback to Kansas — showed their ability to compete with college basketball’s heavyweights.

“It was one of the big games they got to see,” sophomore forward Wenyen Gabriel said. “The feeling and high intensity of the game, people watching, the fight in a big game like that, it really started to hit. Some players really started to get rolling off of that.

“We’re starting to get better as a team, individuals are getting better and we’re trending upward and trying to stay on that path.”

Kentucky (8-1) has begun running away from opponents, a promising trend it hopes to continue against upcoming Power Five conference foes.

Saturday’s home game against Virginia Tech (9-1) opens a daunting year-ending stretch for the Wildcats that includes next weekend’s matchup against UCLA in New Orleans; their annual in-state rivalry showdown against Louisville on Dec. 29; and their Southeastern Conference opener against Georgia on New Year’s Eve.

Though Calipari still hopes February will reveal Kentucky’s true strengths, he’s eager to see how the Wildcats stack up against the Atlantic Coast Conference Hokies, who lead the nation in scoring at 96.2 points per game and rank second in 3-point shooting at 47 percent.

“They have three or four guys that can absolutely make 3s,” Calipari said Friday while listing other Tech strengths. “They’re looking for layups and kicking it out for 3s and they’re getting to the line because of it.

“They’re not afraid. They go on the road in big games. Their home games are craziness. This is plugged into our schedule at a time where we need to learn about us, and we will.”

After a busy November without much practice time, Kentucky has welcomed a lighter December schedule that has allowed the Wildcats more time for workouts and to build chemistry.

The Wildcats have a long way to go, but games such as last week’s 93-76 win over Monmouth are encouraging for Kentucky fans.

Besides continuing their solid shooting — the Wildcats rank 22nd at nearly 51 percent — redshirt freshman guard Hamidou Diallo (23 points) and forward PJ Washington (20) posted career scoring highs against Monmouth. Kentucky also succeeded with a smaller lineup and has been effective playing a zone defense, which Calipari disdains but has used because of his team’s length.

“They’re as long as anybody in the country,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said of Kentucky. “We’ll have to work really hard to get the same shots we’ve been getting.”

Kentucky remains short-handed with freshman forward Jarred Vanderbilt (foot) and guard Jemarl Baker (knee) sidelined by injuries. But the Wildcats appear to be developing depth.

They faced Monmouth without sophomore forward Sacha Killeya-Jones (sprained ankle) before starting guard Quade Green left in the second half after being poked in the eye. Both will be available against the Hokies and return knowing that the bench can fill the void after it combined for a season-high 27 points.

Granted, Monmouth is not a barometer for success against the likes of Tech, UCLA or Louisville. But considering Kentucky’s early struggles, any growth is welcome.

“We think highly of ourselves as a team,” Gabriel added. “I think we deserve more credit than we’re getting, so we’re going to go out there and try to earn it.”

Arizona State rising fast beyond the desert

David Becker/Getty Images
Leave a comment

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona State has taken college basketball by devilish hurricane, running and gunning its way into the national consciousness while igniting an often-blase local fan base.

Even the Sun Devils’ rivals down south have taken notice.

“Bobby Hurley, he’s en route right now to be one of the coaches talked about for national coach of the year because of what he’s done with their program,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said of the coach of his biggest rival. “He’s played a tough nonconference schedule. It shows some guts to play who they play. Their results speak really clearly. They might be underrated where they’re at right now.”

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, at least not yet.

The Sun Devils were expected to be better in Hurley’s third season in the desert. They returned three senior guards and finally got them some front-court help with the addition of Romello White and De’Quon Lake.

Kodi Justice, ASU’s 6-foot-5 guard, would no longer have to guard 7-footers. Arizona State would be better defensively and on the glass. The guards would not have to carry the entire load.

Even so, the Sun Devils were projected to be at the middle of the Pac-12, picked to finish sixth.

The big jump was supposed to be next season, when a trio of transfers will be eligible and could possibly lead the Sun Devils to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014.

This breakneck band of Devils spun the narrative forward a year early.

Playing with a confidence bordering on cocky and with an offensive freedom afforded them by their coach, the Sun Devils have pushed their way into the national spotlight.

They made a blip by beating Xavier, No. 15 at the time but now No. 10 in the AP Top 25 . Blew the Musketeers away, actually, turning a 15-point first-half deficit into a 102-86 rout with an onslaught of fast breaks and 3-pointers.

Arizona State next moved into the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2008-09, coming in at No. 20 after the win over Xavier. The Sun Devils climbed four spots the next week.

The catapult launched last Sunday: Arizona State 95, No. 2 Kansas 85. At Allen Fieldhouse.

One of the biggest wins in program history led to another bit of history: A No. 5 ranking this week, ASU’s highest since reaching No. 3 in 1980-81. The Sun Devils even garnered the first No. 1 votes as a program. Five of ’em, actually.

Now Arizona State is 9-0 and being mentioned as a possible national-title contender. Yeah, really.

“I knew the success was going to be better, but you don’t expect necessarily when you look at a schedule to run the table up to this point, and beat the type of teams we’ve beaten,” Hurley said. “So you just appreciate it and then you kind of move on and get ready for the next battle.”

Arizona State’s success starts with its quartet of fearless guards, turning Arizona State into “Guard U.”

With carte blanche from Hurley to shoot from anywhere at almost any time, they’ve gone from carrying the load last season to ferrying the Sun Devils closer to college basketball’s upper echelon.

Tra Holder has transformed himself from steady freshman to unquestioned, sometimes nasty senior floor leader. He scored 40 points against Xavier and leads Arizona State with 21.2 points per game. He also grabs 5.6 rebounds, dishes out 5.2 assists and won consecutive Pac-12 player of the week honors, a first by a Sun Devil since James Harden in 2008.

Shannon Evans II followed Hurley from Buffalo, had to sit out a season as a transfer and was solid as a junior, averaging 15 points per game. The 6-1 guard had become go-to guy 1-A this season, second on the team with 19 points while matching Holder in assists. Big shots? He’s go those, too, including a clutch 3 to kill a Kansas rally in one of the loudest atmospheres in the game.

Justice plays with Pete Maravichian flair, has a range that seems to extend to the opposing team’s free-throw line.

Then there’s Remy Martin. The freshman guard is more spiced rum than cognac, playing with a confidence and intensity well beyond his years.

Martin treats irritation by the opposing team’s point guard as the highest honor, often nodding his bouncy hair in approval when he officially finds his way under their skin. He was the spark off the bench against Kansas, finishing with 21 points and five steals.

“They are now freed up to be who they are more,” Hurley said. “I think they would have shown that on a more regular basis last year if I had done my job a little better and sooner and gotten them some help.”

That help is here and the Sun Devils are running and gunning with it.

Follow John Marshall on Twitter @jmarshallap

Oklahoma State dismisses two players

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
Leave a comment

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State has dismissed junior Davon Dillard and freshman Zack Dawson from the team for failing to meet unspecified standards set by the program.

Coach Mike Boynton says he could not “make compromises in our core values when it comes to individual players.” Dillard and Dawson were suspended before the season for reasons the school has not disclosed. Dawson missed one game and Dillard missed the first five.

Oklahoma State (7-2) faces No. 19 Florida State (9-0) in Sunrise, Florida, on Saturday.