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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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.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.