Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Morning Mix

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Where do we even begin today?

North Carolina got flat-out dominated by a not-so-good Texas team. The same not-so-good Texas team playing without Myck Kabongo, who has been awaiting word from the NCAA. At roughly the same time last night, the NCAA came down with its decision. It wasn’t pretty.

But that’s certainly not all that happened. The Crosstown Classic was renewed and restored. Maurice Creek got injured again. Jabari Parker will make his college decision later today.

I’m done trying to explain why we have a lot to get to. Just know that we have a lot to get to.

Lets hit the links.

Thursday’s Top Games:
7:00 p.m. – Elon @ No. 1 Duke
8:00 p.m. – Lipscomb @ Memphis
8:05 p.m. – Lehigh @ North Texas
8:30 p.m. – Eastern Michigan @ No. 2 Michigan
9:00 p.m. – Cal-Poly @ Washington
11:00 p.m. -UC-Irvine @ USC
 
 
Read(s) of the Day:
This one isn’t exactly hoops specific but it’s definitely worth your time. Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated hands out his aunnal media awards for 2012. This is must-read stuff. Read it. (Sports Illustrated)

Read(s) of the Day:
A marvelous reaction piece from Eric Adelson on the crisp words spoken by Winthrop head coach Pat Kelsey following his team’s loss to Ohio State on Tuesday. This is tremendous stuff. (Yahoo Sports)
 
 
Top Stories:
No. 23 North Carolina embarrassed by Texas: Texas is not a good team, especially without Myck Kabongo. This should tell you just how much the Tar Heels are struggling this season. Last night was ugly.

No. 11 Cincinnati outlasts Xavier in the renewal of the Crosstown Classic: Sean Kilpatrick scored 25 points and Cashmere Wright chipped in with 15 as No. 11 Cincinnati jumped all over Xavier in the second half, winning the sanitized Crosstown Shootout, err Crosstown Classic, 60-45.

CBT Podcast Episode Three: Troy Machir and Raphielle Johnson discuss the current state of west coast hoops and dish on thheir favorite Big East and Jim Boeheim moments.

Geno Auriemma sounds off on realignment: It was just a matte of time before the legendary UConn women’s head coach voiced his opinion on the implosion of the Big East. And as expected, he had some choice words.

Holiday wish list for Duke Blue Devils: What exactly does the No. 1 team in the country need this holiday season? Daniel Martin has your answer.

Stetson Hatters provide the craziest buzzer-beater of the season: Just when everybody (including the play-by-play announcer) thinks the game is over, a coast-to-coast drive, air-ball and follow-up steals the show. My man Robbie Aaron kinda steals the show on the mic, too.
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping
– Jabari Parker will make his highly anticipated college decision later today. Here is the final word from many of the top recruiting experts in the country (MLive.com)

– Texas got a statement-win last night, beating North Carolina by 18 points. But while the Longhorns were smacking the Tar Heels, the NCAA was busy suspending guard Myck Kabongo for the entire season. It’s laughable at this point. I’m so done with the NCAA. (Yahoo Sports)

– South Alabama coach Ronnie Arrow abruptly resigned on Wednesday. I believe this is the first coaching change of the season. (Jags Jungle)

– Indiana guard Maurice Creek is injured yet again, this time for an indefinite length. You just hate to see this happens. His heart is in it, but his body keeps failing him. (The Dagger)

– Syracuse University’s athletic department media director Roger Springfield is no longer employed by the school and, according to a newspaper report, is being investigated by police. (CBS Sports)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– Mick Cronin would be happy if the Crosstown Classic continued at an on-campus venue. the Bearcats head coach believe the rivalry game belongs to the city, and as such, should be held not for season ticket holders, but for the entire community. (GoBearcats.com)

– Some interesting quotes from Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco on what lies ahead for his league (The Washington Post)

– Fresh off a tough loss to UNLV, the UTEP Miners got a tough triple-OT win over Oregon in a game where the Ducks tried their hardest to give the game away (Addicted to Quack)

– Louisville routed Florida International last night. Why is this important? Because Rick Pitino squared off against, and defeated his son Richard’s new team. (Lexington Hearld-Leader)

– Some clutch shots made down the stretch sealed Coppin State’s first victory at the Towson Center in 20 years (Baltimore Sun)

– LIU-Brooklyn looked out of sync and out of sorts without Julian Boyd, and it showed. The Blackbirds lost to St. Peter’s by 13. (Big Apple Buckets)

– Texas Southern’s Omar Strong is a mid-major player that show be getting high-major praise. I love this kid. Dude can ball for days. (Mid-Major Madness)

– An awesome-read on the family life of Kansas forward Kevin Young. Really great stuff. Plus the family afros are incredible. (KUsports.com)
 
 
 Picture of the Day:
Father knows best, as Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals defeated Richard Pitino and the Panthers of Florida International (Card Chronicle)
 

source:
Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

 
 
Dunks(s) of the Day:
Marquette’s Jamil Wilson gets some face time because he followed up a miss. Remember that kids. Always crash the glass.
 

 
 
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Brandone Francis-Ramirez transferring out of Florida

Florida State center Jean Marc Christ Koumadje (21) fouls Florida guard Brandone Francis-Ramirez (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. (Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
(Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
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Brandone Francis-Ramirez is transferring out of the Florida program, the school announced on Wednesday.

A former top 40 recruit, Francis-Ramirez had his two seasons in Gainesville ruined by an academic issues and a loss of confidence. He was academically ineligible in 2014-15, practicing with the team during the second semester. He was granted a redshirt for the year, but he struggled to find any kind of a rhythm this past season. There was a two-month stretch in the middle of the year where he shot 6-for-58 from the floor and 2-for-31 from three.

On the season, he shot 20.2 percent from the floor and 16.9 percent from three.

“I want it to work out for him,” Gators coach Mike White said in a release. “We really appreciate what Brandone did here and wish him the best.”

One of Villanova’s title game stars undergoes knee surgery

Phil Booth, Jack McVeigh
(AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
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The forgotten star of the national title game underwent an arthroscopic on his left knee on Wednesday.

Phil Booth, who scored a season-high 20 points in the 2016 National Title game, will be a junior next season and one of the guys called upon to help replace Ryan Arcidiacono, who graduated. He should be ready to go by the middle of the summer; according to a statement put out by the program, Booth will need 6-to-8 weeks to heal.

“Phil is as mentally tough a young man as we have had at Villanova,” head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “He continually impresses our coaching staff with his outstanding attitude. Phil will attack this recovery challenge with great determination, as he does everything in life.”

Booth averaged 7.0 points and 2.2 assists this past season.

Jennings becomes seventh player to transfer from Kentucky

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell watches his team during the team's regional semifinal in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament against Washington in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 25, 2016. Washington won 85-72. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that sophomore forward Alexis Jennings will transfer, the seventh Wildcat to leave the program since last fall.

Jennings’ departure comes a week after Mitchell publicly addressed the mass exodus of players and assistant coaches and stressed the need for building stability. Jennings figured to be part of that process and the coach said in a release Wednesday night that “it saddens us that Alexis did not see a path for her at Kentucky. … She felt it was in her best interest to finish her career elsewhere and we owe her that opportunity.”

The 6-foot-2 Jennings started 18 of 33 games last season and averaged 10 points and 7.1 rebounds.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.