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The Morning Mix

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It’s the last day of 2012. Heckuva year it was too. Luckily for us, college hoops is going out on a high note, finishing 2012 with a full slate of games. Plus we still have to get to what happened this weekend. Before you start prepping for your New Years Eve parties, get caught up on things with The Morning Mix.

Lets hit the links.

Monday’s Top Games:
12:00 p.m. – No. 8 Cincinnati @ No. 24 Pittsburgh
2:00 p.m. – No. 19 Michigan State @ No. 11 Minnesota
2:00 p.m. – South Dakota @ No. 25 Kansas State
2:00 p.m. – Bowling Green @ Temple
3:00 p.m. – Central Connecticut State @ Indiana
3:00 p.m. – Saint Joseph’s @ Drexel
4:00 p.m. – No. 5 Indiana @ Iowa
5:00 p.m – UNC-Greensboro @ No. 23 North Carolina State
6:00 p.m. – No. 13 Gonzaga @ No. 22 Oklahoma State
7:00 p.m. – Nevada @ Oregon
7:30 p.m. – New Mexico @ Saint Louis
8:00 p.m. – North Texas @ Middle Tennessee
8:00 p.m. – Harvard @ Saint Mary’s
 
 
Top Stories:
No. 4 Louisville outlasts Kentucky in foul-plagued rivalry rematch: Kansas survived Ohio State in last week’s Final Four rematch, but the tables were turned in Louisville’s 80-77 triumph over their in-state rivals in the KFC Yum! Center.

BYU’s Tyler Haws put up Jimmer-like numbers against Virginia Tech: No BYU fan will ever forget about Jimmer Fredette, but sophomore guard Tyler Haws made fans momentarily forget, as he scored 42 points in the Cougars’ 97-71 shellacking of Virginia Tech.

Mixed results for college hoops in the Bay Area on Saturday: Santa Clara put up a good fight against Duke, but Cal lost a tough one to Harvard at home. Stanford had trouble putting away Lafayette and an underrated San Francisco squad defeated Dominican U. of California (D-II).

Utah State coach Stew Morrill breaks convention with comments about departing player: Longtime Utah State head coach Stew Morrill has never been one to shy away in front of the media. But it was interesting to see what the Aggies’ head coach had to say about a departing player who was quitting the sport all together.

Big-Ten Conference Catchup: Indiana and Michigan headline a loaded league with Minnesota and Illinois heading in to conference play with big winning streaks. The Big Ten should feature the best conference season out of all the power conferences.

Big East Conference Catchup: Despite realignment, the Big East should remain competitive thanks to a collection of elite teams like Louisville, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and UConn.

 
 
Hoops Housekeeping
– South Florida point guard Anthony Collins was taken off the court on a stretcher during the Bulls 61-57 win over George Mason. Head Coach Stan Heath revealed during the post game press conference that Victor Rudd Junior suffered a concussion in the second half. (The Dagger)

– Former-Louisville forward Angel Nunez has decided to transfer to Gonzaga, making his intentions clear via Instagram on Friday afternoon. (College Basketball Talk)

– Sophomore backup guard Brandan Kearney has decided to transfer out of Michigan State (Fox Sports Detroit)

– Tennessee State’s top scorer Robert Covington will miss the next 4-6 weeks due to surgery he had on Friday to repair a torn meniscus. (OVC Ball)

– Miami had a terrible trip to Hawaii and the Diamonhead Classic. Much of their troubles were due to the absence of center Reggie Johnson, who broke his left thumb during practice leading up to the event. The big-man is the key to the ‘Canes success but will be forced to miss the next 6-8 weeks. (Miami Sun-Sentinel)

– Pittsburgh back-up center Malcolm Gilbert has decided to transfer to Fairfield, where he will join his brother Marcus. (Cardiac Hill)

– Indiana freshman Jeremy Hollowell has been reinstated and will be in uniform tonight against Iowa. He had been suspended since after the Butler game. (Inside the Hall)

– Baylor center J’mison Morgan has been suspended indefinitely by the university and has been dismissed from the program because of an unspecified violation of university policy. Morgan redshirted last season after transferring from UCLA. He played in just one game this season, against College of Charleston. (Waco Tribune-Herald)

– Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie has been rewarded for his efforts with a new five-year, $7-million contract (ESPN)

– Following a three-game suspension in which his team went 3-0 under Associate head coach David Cox, Rutgers head coach Mike Rice returns to the sidelines and will coach his team when they take on Syracuse in their Big East opener on Wednesday. (New York Daily News)

 
 
Observations & Insight:
– BYU’s Tyler Haws scored 42 points against Virginia Tech on Saturday, joining his father Marty Haws as 40-point scorers for the Cougars. Marty starred at BYU from 1986-1990. (The Dagger)

– Providence head coach Ed Cooley was not pleased with his team’s effort and hustle in thir upset loss to Brown on Friday. He called his squad “soft” and said they play with “no chemistry”. Sophomore LeDontae Henton did finish with 37 points. (Providence Journal)

– Gorgui Dieng made his triumphant return to the court on Saturday and helped Louisville defeat Kentucky 80-77. The game carried extra weight for the Senegalese center because his parents were in attendance to see him play for the first time ever. (Louisville Courier-Journal)

– What exactly is clutch, and can it be defined? The Big Ten Geeks tackle a great issue posed by statistical experts Ken Pomeroy and Dan Hanner. (Big Ten Network)

– In order for UNLV to impose their will as the dominant team in the Mountain West Conference, they will need senior guard Anthony Marshall to be the catalyst. (College ChalkTalk)

– Phil Pressey distributed a record 19 assists on Friday night for Missouri, but it came in an entertaining yet losing effort at UCLA. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Kansas’ Ben McLemore is getting all the recognition for the Jayhawks right now, and deservedly so. But the improved play of Naadir Tharpe has really helped to push the Jayhawks into the elite tier of teams. (Need I Say Moore)

– As the title indicates, Boston College as bad as we thought they were going to be. (Run The Floor)

– Led by scrappy guard Jake Odom, the Indiana State Sycamores are a team to watch out for in the ever-difficult Missouri Valley Conference. (Mid-Major Madness)

– Jeff Eisenberg looks ahead to today’s slate of games, which really is nothing short of phenomenal. (The Dagger)

– Mike DeCourcy looks ahead at the top games of the upcoming week. (The Sporting News)

– With Gonzaga headed into Stillwater tonight against a ranked Oklahoma State team, the spotlight is once again shining on Gallagher-Iba Arena. (The Oklahoman)

– A cute little list of early season under-the-radar freshman All-American candidates. High Point’s John Brown is a player to watch, for sure. (Hoopville)

 
 
Odds & Ends
– Indiana head coach Tom Crean isn’t just a good coach, he’s also an excellent civilian, as evidence by this recent story of him helping out a motorist that found themselves stuck in a ditch. (WDRB-41)

– Some nice tidbits on Bill Walton’s return to the mic, include the demons he has dealt with in his past. (Sports Illustrated)

– A creative sign featuring John Calipari and dollar bills was confiscated at the Yum! Center prior to tip-off of the Louisville vs. Kentucky game on Saturday. (Kentucky Sports Radio)

– Of course a guy proposed to their girlfriend at the Louisville vs. Kentucky game. She said yes. (WHAS-11)
 
 
Picture of the Day:
The King and Queen of the Cardinals celebrate Louisville’s victory over their rivals Kentucky (University of Louisville Athletics)

source:
Photo from University of Louisville Athletics

 
 
Video(s) of the Day:
John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats pulled the “ol’ switcheroo” before free throw attempt during their loss to Louisville. (College Basketball Talk)


 
 

Dunk(s) of the Day:
Some fascinating ball work leads to one of the best dunks of the weekend. Josh Sharp exhibits total destruction, which is exactly what BYU did to Virginia Tech.
 

 
 
Dunk(s) of the Day:
Friends, this is what we in the industry like to call “The Dagger”.
 

 
 
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VIDEO: Kentucky fan makes a hype video

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 11:  Isaiah Briscoe #13 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates in the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the quarterfinals of the SEC Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 11, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Memorial Day weekend is typically a slow time for sports news, so over the weekend, the CBT crew has been discussing fan videos and songs.

If you’re not familiar, a lot of programs have fans that are so passionate, that they create something as tribute for their programs. This stuff tends to happen in the offseason.

Take this 12-minute video a Kentucky fan made that was posted by Kentucky Sports Radio’s Drew Franklin yesterday as an example:

Twelve minutes is a staggering amount for a video like this, but it captures multiple seasons and even goes into the future.

Not bad.

But it definitely doesn’t beat this Villanova song released by MRG after the Wildcats’ NCAA tournament run.

So now that we’ve seen the baseline for videos and songs, do any other fanbases have anything better in them this summer? There’s still a lot of time until college hoops begins next season and there are plenty of fans who can jump in with a submission.

Throughout the summer, we’ll post the best fan submissions on CBT (as long as they’re clean and original) and see which group of fans has the best at the end of it all.

Canisius finds a new head coach following Jim Baron’s retirement

Canisius head coach Jim Baron talks with players during college basketball practice in Buffalo, N.Y., Tuesday, March 5, 2013. One year after Baron was fired at Rhode Island, the coach and his point guard son, Billy, have teamed up at Canisius to breath new life into a struggling program. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
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Canisius has found a new head coach following the retirement of Jim Baron, as the Griffins have hired former Buffalo coach Reggie Witherspoon, according to a report from Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News.

The 55-year-old Witherspoon was formerly the head coach at Buffalo from December 1999 until after the 2012-13 season and was recently an assistant coach at Alabama and Chattanooga the past two seasons.

During his time at Buffalo, Witherspoon went 197-225 while making four postseason appearances. He takes over a Canisius program that went 14-19 and 8-12 in the MAAC last season.

As a Buffalo native who has coached in the area as a high school, junior college and Division I head coach, Witherspoon should be familiar with the landscape of being a basketball coach in that city. It’s hard to say if Witherspoon can lead Canisius to prominence at this stage in his career, but he’ll certainly know the area enough to hit the ground running.

UNC’s Roy Williams recovering from knee replacement surgery

JACKSONVILLE, FL - MARCH 19:  Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts on the bench against the Harvard Crimson during the second round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on March 19, 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina Hall of Fame men’s basketball coach Roy Williams is recovering from knee replacement surgery.

In an email Friday, athletics spokesman Steve Kirschner says Williams is “resting comfortably” after the procedure on his right knee performed by Dr. Walt Beaver in Charlotte. Kirschner says there’s no exact recovery timetable but Williams is expected to be on the road for July recruiting “as usual.”

The 65-year-old Williams had procedures on both knees last year but experienced discomfort during the season as the Tar Heels won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season and tournament titles before losing in the NCAA title game on a last-second shot to Villanova.

A week later, Williams said he was considering surgery options for a “bone-on-bone” condition and noted: “I’ve got to be able to move around.”

Utah to play rival BYU in basketball again in 2017

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 2: Nate Austin #33 of the Brigham Young Cougars and Jakob Poeltl #42 of the Utah Utes try for the ball in the second half of the Utes 83-75 win at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on December 2, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Utah will play rival BYU in basketball again in 2017 in a game that will end a “cooling off period” Utah demanded due to events at recent games.

Utah said in a news release Thursday that the two schools have agreed to play in 2017 at BYU. The school’s athletic directors are talking about scheduling future games.

The decision to cancel the rivalry upset BYU and ignited a controversy that lit up sports talk radio and triggered legislators to order a state audit of Utah athletics. The game had been played every year since 1909 except for during World War II.

Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said in January that the rivalry had become a “venomous and toxic environment.” BYU guard Nick Emery was ejected from December’s game for punching Utah’s Brandon Taylor.

Looking Forward: Defense will help Arizona sort out loaded rotation

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)
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The NBA Draft’s Early Entry Deadline has come and gone. Just about every elite recruit has decided where they will be playing their college ball next season. The coaching carousel, which ended up spinning a bit faster than initially expected, has come to a close for all of the major programs. 

In other words, by now, we have a pretty good feel for what college basketball is going to look like during the 2016-17 season. With that in mind let’s take a look at Arizona, an elite program that reloads with designs on erasing the bad memories of last year’s first round NCAA tournament exit. 

After going on a two-year run in which they went 67-9, won two Pac-12 regular season titles and made two Elite Eight appearances, Arizona took a step back in 2015-16. Sean Miller’s Wildcats saw their grip on the Pac-12 loosen, with Oregon taking advantage, and their NCAA tournament stay was a short one thanks to a tough Wichita State team. Many programs would sign up for a season that included 25 wins despite injuries to freshmen Ray Smith (torn ACL) and Allonzo Trier (broken hand).

But Arizona isn’t your “run of the mill” program, which is a testament not only to what the retired Lute Olson accomplished during his time in Tucson but to what Sean Miller’s managed to do as well. Since his arrival Miller’s pumped new life into the program, with Arizona racking up highly regarded recruiting classes and the wins to match.

All that’s missing from his time at Arizona is a trip to the Final Four, an accomplishment Arizona hasn’t been able to boast since 2001. And after last year’s disappointing finish, Arizona’s work on the recruiting trail in the spring has them in a position where they can get that done. There’s talent, depth and versatility on the roster heading into the 2016-17 season, with some key returnees being joined by one of the nation’s best recruiting classes.

And with that will come an important question for the Wildcats: how will they sort everything out from a rotation standpoint?

Competition within the ranks is hardly a bad thing; “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” The same can be said for versatility, which will be another positive trait for Arizona in 2016-17. At first glance the roster has just two players seemingly locked into one specific position: Parker Jackson-Cartwright at point guard and Dusan Ristic at center. Outside of that, Arizona boasts a host of players capable of filling multiple spots based upon the desires of their head coach and the flow of the game.

The front court includes a mobile 7-footer in sophomore Chance Comanche, who managed to earn more consistent appearances down the stretch thanks to his activity on the defensive end of the floor. Newcomers in Lauri Markkanen and Keanu Pinder who can fill multiple roles in the front court, with Markannen’s ability to step out and hit perimeter shots being especially key, and the same can be said of the talented Smith provided there are no lingering effects from his second ACL tear in as many years.

With the injury and the time away from live action Smith will likely have some rust to shake off, but this is something Arizona can work through given their depth. There’s role versatility and this sets up to be a more mobile group defensively as well, which can only help the Wildcats moving forward.

The bigger area for Arizona from an options standpoint is on the perimeter, as they’re loaded with established returnees and high-caliber newcomers. And with the players available, how everything shakes out with regards to roles and minutes that come with them will be very interesting to watch. Trier’s back after a successful freshman season in which he averaged 14.6 points per game and shot 46.6 percent from the field, and with his ability to attack defenses off the dribble he’ll figure prominently in the Arizona rotation again in 2016-17.

Also returning are Kadeem Allen and Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who shared the point guard duties with Allen getting the starting nod thanks in large part to his ability on the defensive end of the floor. Losing Gabe York, who was second on the team in scoring and Arizona’s best three-point shooter a season ago, can’t be overlooked. But with the additions to the program, Arizona can more than account for the production lost there.

Last year Trier was the Wildcat best capable of attacking defenses off the bounce, but even with the relative “lack” of such options Arizona still managed to average 80 points per game and shoot 48 percent from the field. Things will be a bit different in 2016-17, thanks to factors such as the loss of York and Ryan Anderson and the fact that they’ll have more players capable of breaking down opponents off the dribble. Freshmen Kobi Simmons, Rawle Alkins and Terrance Ferguson can all create shots via dribble penetration, with Ferguson also being one of the top shooters in the class of 2016.

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 30: Terrance Ferguson #6 of the East  team goes up for a dunk against the West team during the 2016 McDonalds's All American Game on March 30, 2016 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Terrance Ferguson (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

But could this turn out to be a case of having too much of a good thing? While considered a point guard, Simmons proved to be better at getting himself looks than doing so for others, and Alkins was also considered to be a “ball dominant” guard at the high school level. How will that change at the college level, and how will the pieces fit together within Arizona’s rotation?

These are important questions to address, and how Arizona can do that is on the defensive end of the floor.

After two straight seasons of producing defenses that ranked in the top three in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy’s numbers (first in 2014, third in 2015), Arizona was ranked 41st in that category last season. After two consecutive seasons of limiting teams to less than 40 percent shooting from the field, Arizona allowed teams to shoot 41.3 percent in 2015-16. Also of concern was the turnover department, with teams committing an average of just 11.4 per game against the Wildcats last season.

By comparison, those two Elite Eight teams managed to force an average of 13.8 turnovers per game in 2013-14 and 12.4 per contest in 2014-15. The pack line defense isn’t one that people would necessarily categorize as a “pressure” system, but one of the strengths for Arizona during those two Elite Eight runs was having athletic options on the wings who can make life difficult for passers and the players looking to receive those passes. That wasn’t the case last season, but it may not be a problem in 2016-17 thanks to the roster additions.

Ferguson’s athleticism is noted above, and he’s also a long-armed player who more than holds his own defensively. Alkins also has the physical tools needed to cause trouble on the wing, which will give Arizona a good shot at playing defense at the level we grew accustomed to seeing them reach.

Physical tools aside, there’s always the “carrot” of playing time to dangle in front of the players. When discussing the adjustment process for freshmen many rush to the offensive end, and that’s understandable to a certain extent. But the biggest adjustment comes on the other end of the floor, and being able to prove that you can defend your position and carry out the team’s defensive game plan.

Arizona will certainly have offensive talent across the board next season. But the reason why they can rebound from last season and possibly reach the Final Four is the fact that some of that talent will make a difference defensively as well.