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 (

– 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. (

– 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. (
 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)

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.

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

WEEKLY AWARDS: Denzel Valentine’s big week, Kansas makes a statement

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Denzel Valentine, Michigan State

In the title game of the Wooden Legacy, a game that was billed as a matchup between the two best players in college basketball — Valentine and Kris Dunn — Valentine was downright bad …

… by his standards. He finished with “just” 17 points, six assists and five boards. I say “just” because, in the previous two games of the tournament, the Spartan superstar averaged 30.5 points, 10.0 boards and 8.0 assists. He’s been, hands down, the best player in college basketball this season, and that didn’t change this week.


  • Ben Bentil, Providence: Kris Dunn is the guy that is going to get all the national praise, but it was Bentil’s emergence that was critical for the Friars. He averaged 21.7 points and 6.0 boards in three games in the Wooden Legacy, carrying PC when Dunn was battling foul issues.
  • Wayne Selden, Kansas: The highlight of Selden’s week was scoring 25 points on 8-for-11 shooting in the Maui title game win over No. 19 Vanderbilt. For the week, he averaged 19.3 points and shot 12-for-17 from three.
  • Justin Robinson, Monmouth: Robinson averaged 25.7 points in three games for Monmouth at the Advocare Invitational. The Hawks beat No. 17 Notre Dame and USC in the process, only losing to Dayton by three.
  • Justin Jackson, North Carolina: Remember when Justin Jackson was struggling? He averaged 21.5 points, 9.0 boards and 5.0 assists in wins over Northwestern and Kansas State. That came on the heels of a 25-point performance in the loss at Northern Iowa.
  • Henry Ellenson, Marquette: Ellenson notched three straight double-doubles for the Golden Eagles this week, which included 16 points and 11 boards in a win over Ben Simmons and LSU.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas headed out to Maui as a team that many weren’t really sure what to make of. They looked good against Michigan State for 30 minutes, then they blew that game as Denzel Valentine went bananas. They had as much depth as anyone in the country, but Brannen Greene was suspended, Cheick Diallo was ineligible and Wayne Selden was the most notable of a handful of talented players that had been somewhere between inconsistent and ineffective this year.

That all changed in Maui — well, other than Greene’s suspension — as Kansas rolled over Chaminade, UCLA and Vanderbilt to bring home the tournament title. Blowing out Chaminade was to be expected. But beating down a talented UCLA team? Dominating a very good Vanderbilt squad? That’s the Kansas we’ve been hoping to see show up for a few years now. The question is whether or not it’s sustainable, and at least on paper, it appears to be. Selden’s shooting percentages will come back to earth, but his raw numbers are less important than his confidence and aggressiveness. Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham are going to continue to take pressure off of each other in the back court. Perry Ellis isn’t going anywhere.

I questioned whether or not Kansas was truly one of the nation’s elite when the season started. I think they answered that question for me.


  • Xavier: The Musketeers not only won the Advocare Invitational in Orlando, they blew out in-state — and former Atlantic 10 — rival Dayton in the finals.
  • Syracuse: The Orange are going to be a factor in the ACC this season. How much? I don’t know. But after winning the Battle 4 Atlantis by knocking off No. 18 UConn and No. 25 Texas A&M, it’s clear they’re going to be involved all season.
  • Northeastern: The Huskies picked up a road win against No. 15 Miami on this buzzer-beating jumper.
  • Arkansas-Little Rock: The Trojans picked up their second huge road win of the year, going into Tulsa and knocking off the Golden Hurricane. They’re now 5-0 on the season, having also won at SDSU.
  • Tournament winners: West Virginia knocked off Richmond and San Diego State to bring home the Las Vegas Invitational title, No. 24 Cincinnati beat Nebraska and George Washington in the Barclays Center Classic and Marquette knocked off LSU and Arizona State to win the Legends Classic.


Tuesday: No. 2 Maryland at No. 9 North Carolina, 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Butler at No. 24 Cincinnati, 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday: Louisville at No. 3 Michigan State, 7:15 p.m.
Wednesday: No. 13 Indiana at No. 6 Duke, 9:15 p.m.
Saturday: No. 11 Arizona at No. 10 Gonzaga, 3:15 p.m.

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
Associated Press
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Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.