The Morning Mix

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Well folks, 2013 has certainly started off on the bizarre foot. We witnessed something last night that I am certain I have never witnessed at the Division-I level. At the high school level and below, sure. But never at the collegiate level. Thank you Big East referees, for making sure we learn something new every day.

Lets hit the links.

Wednesday’s Top Games:
6:00 p.m. – Eastern Michigan @ Kentucky
6:00 p.m. – Providence @ No.4 Louisville
6:30 p.m. – Nebraska @ No. 8 Ohio State
7:00 p.m. – UPenn @ No. 17 Butler
7:00 p.m. – Rutgers @ No. 7 Syracuse
7:00 p.m. – No. 1 Duke vs. Davidson
8:00 p.m. – St. John’s @ Villanova
8:00 p.m. – Indiana State @ Northern Iowa
8:00 p.m. – No. 16 Creighton @ Illinois State
8:00 p.m. – Wyoming @ SMU
8:30 p.m. – No.11 Illinois @ Purdue
9:00 p.m. – LaSalle @ Miami (Fl.)
10:00 p.m. – San Francisco @ Santa Clara
10:00 p.m. – Cal State Bakersfield @ No. 19 San Diego State
 
 
Read of the Day:
Here’s the statement from the officials in charge of the Marquette vs. UConn game, which ended in controversial fashion. You just can’t have a good controversy without some Karl Hess. Read it. (Connecticut Post)

Jeremy Lunbladt of ESPN Stats & Info provides the information about the top ten likeliest coaches to join the 900 wins club. Read it. (ESPN)
 
 
Top Stories:
Referees allow UConn to go to the wrong basket in overtime:In a game that featured a furious rally in the final 10 seconds to force overtime, the only thing that anyone is going to be talking about after Marquette’s 82-76 win over UConn in the Big East opener for both teams is a mistake that cost UConn a bucket at the start of the extra period.

Late Night Snacks: Marquette outlasted UConn in overtime, but UConn got two points taken from them. Greg Gantt of Florida Atlantic had a big night oo.

Bruce Ellington back to hoops after beating Michigan in Outback Bowl: The Gamecock’s top point guard scored the winning touchdown for the football team on Tuesday afternoon against Michigan in the Outback bowl. Now that football season is over, he will join Frank Martin’s squad as they begin SEC play.

CBT Monthly Awards: Arizona earns accolades, everybody enjoyed Butler vs. Indiana: The College Basketball Talk writers get together to discuss which teams and players excelled in the month of December. Nobody is surprised to see Michigan at No. 2 and everybody is on the Kansas bandwagon.
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping
– Louisville’s Chane Behanen is doubtful for tonight’s game against Providence because of the flu. (Courier-Journal)

– Seton Hall reserve guard Freddie Jones has decided to transfer, leaving Kevin Willard with just eight scholarship players heading in to Big East play. (New Jersey Hoops Haven)

– Former-Seton Hall forward Herb Pope arrested for allegedly pulling gun in bar. (CBS Local Pittsburgh)

– Former-Arizona guard Marcus Williams failed a drug test in China and in doing so is the first doping case in the 17 year history of the Chinese Basketball Association. Can’t make this type of stuff up. (AZ Desert Swarm)

– 6-foot-11 California-native Kameron Rooks announced via Twitter yesterday that he has committed to the Cal Bears and Mike Montgomery (Cal Golden Blogs)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– The Utah vs. Arizona State game features the “Battle of the Bachynskis” as ASU’s seven-foot senior Jordan Bachynski goes up against Utah’s seven-foot sophomore Dallin Bachynski. (Arizona Republic)

– Using a lot of stats that I can’t comprehend, Ken Pomeroy determines the conference winners for all 32 leagues (KenPom Blog)

– Parrish and Goodman compile their new Player of the Year top-ten list, no movement at the top. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Jeff Borzello updates us on his Freshman of the Year rankings. Bennett, Smart and McLemore are still at the top. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Duke sits atop the ACC power rankings with North Carolina State in at number two with Maryland rounding out the top-3. (Fox Sports Carolina)

– Matt Norlander has some solid suggestions for college hoops new years resolutions. The Rick Majerus Classic is a must. (Eye on College Basketball)

– An excellent-read from Glen Logan on what JohN Calipari needs to do to get Alex Poythress to reinvent himself. (A Sea of Blue)

– Arizona senior Kevin Parrom isn’t on the court when the game begins, but is almost always out there when it counts. (Arizona Daily Star)

– You probably didn’t notice, but Maryland has now won 12 straight games since losing to Kentucky by three in the season opener. The Terps will be ranked before the season’s end. (CSN Washington)

– I know some of you out there are itching for the Big Sky power rankings. (Big Sky Basketball)

– Ten predictions that may come true in 2013. (Scout.com)
 
 
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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.