The Morning Mix

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The Morning Mix hopes you all have a great start to your holiday week. Hopefully all of you survived the Mayan Apocalypse. I had my doubts, but having successfully navigated Y2K, I felt good about our chances.

Saturday featured a bevy of great action on the hardwood and with no games on the docket today, take the time to get caught up on the action.

And of course, enjoy the holidays.

Lets hit the links.

 

Read(s) of the Day:
Jeff Eisenberg provides the best stock report in the business. Here’s his take following a busy day of Saturday hoops. Read it. (The Dagger)

Read(s) of the Day:
Rob Dauster’s recap of all the Saturday games is must-read stuff. Read it. (Sports Illustrated)
 
 
Top Stories:
Marquette puts together its version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’: The GOlden Eagles love to create music videos for their fans, and Buzz and his squad didn’t disappoint in their latest rendition of this Christmas classic.

Temple upsets No. 3 Syracuse behind career day from senior Khalif Wyatt: Khalif Wyatt scored a career-high 33 points, including 20 in the first half, en route to a 83-79 win over the Orange at Madison Square Garden.

No. 9 Jayhawks share the ball, beat No. 7 Buckeyes in Columbus: Ben McLemore scored 22 points and look like the best player on a floor loaded with stars, but he was hardly the only Jayhawk to show up in the 74-66 KU victory over Ohio State.

Christmas Wish List for New Mexico: The Lobos will need increased marksmanship and improved played from Demetrius Walker.

Amidst realignment, Mountain West restructures television deal: The Mountain West Conference is solidifying itself amidst constant conference realignment by restructuring its television deal.

Buzzer-beater carries Mason over Richmond in Governor’s Classic: With the score knotted at 64-all, George Mason’s Sherrod Wright hit a three-point buzzer-beater to knock off Richmond in the Virginia Governor’s Classic.

Suspension of Texas guard Myck Kabongo revised down to 23 games by NCAA: The NCAA suspension of Texas guard Myck Kabongo has been revised to 23 games, days after the NCAA ruled that the sophomore would be suspended for the rest of the season for receiving impermissible benefits.
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping
Siena has announced that sophomore Lionel Gomis is no longer with the men’s basketball team and has left Siena for personal family reasons. (4 Guys in a Blazer)

– Miami center Reggie Johnson jammed his thumb preparing for the Diamondhead Classic and was not able to play in the Hurricanes’ first two games of the event. (College Basketball Talk)

– Former-Louisville forward Angel Nunez will visit Gonzaga over the holidays. the Sophomore left the Cardinals early this month after averaging just under fiver minutes per game. (SNY.tv)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– Missouri’s Phil Pressey missed 16 shots on Saturday against Illinois yet was still the game MVP. Why? because he just so happens to be the best facilitator in the country. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Temple was able to force Michael Carter-Williams into a shooter instead of a distributor, and was one of the big reasons the Owls defeated the Orange. (Syracuse Post-Standard)

– South Dakota State took a 1,200-mile bus-trip from Nashville to Albuquerque and promptly handed New Mexico their first loss of the season. (Argus Leader)

– A great-read on Rice head coach Ben Braun and the uncertain future he faces due to the Owls’ struggles. (Rush The Court)

– Oklahoma State has been a pleasant surprise this season. If the Cowboys are to continue their impressive play, they will need to get the right presents for Christmas (The Oklahoman)
 
 
Odds & Ends
– A solid Q&A session with Pittsburgh’s Tray Woodhall. (USA Today)

– ESPN play-by-play announcer Mitch Holthus made a racially sensitive remark regarding Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez. The sophomore guard was also the target of racially charged jeers from the Southern Mississippi student section last season. (Deadspin)

– Maryland players sing “Frosty The Snowman”. These guys need to stick with basketball. (Testudo Times)

– Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford had no clue who he was playing last week. (Pistols Firing)

 Picture of the Day:
Laurence Bowers and Sam McLaurin got tied up in the first half the the annual “Bragging Rights Game” between Missouri and Illinois. This tie-up led to a brief altercation between the two teams. Fortunately no punches were thrown and play resumed.

source: AP
 
 
Dunks(s) of the Day:
Iowa’s Eric May goes hard in the paint


 
 
UNC-Wilmington’s Keith Rendlemen goes hard in the paint as well

Oh, it’s nothing really, just a 360 ally-oop from Markel Brown


 
 
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)

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

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Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.