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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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UT-Arlington dominates, upsets No. 12 St. Mary’s

Texas-Arlington's Kevin Hervey, left, reacts to a 73-68 NCAA college basketball game win as Ohio State's Jae'Sean Tate looks on  in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
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UT-Arlington made a statement on Thursday night, completely dominating No. 12 Saint Mary’s in a 65-51 upset win in a true road game in Moraga.

Back in October, I ranked both the Gaels and the Mavericks in the top-5 of my Mid-Major Power Rankings. Saint Mary’s was the obvious top choice, one of the nation’s most efficient offenses that returned Emmett Naar and Jock Landale. UT-Arlington, ranked fifth, served as a dangerous opponent. The Mavs had defeated Ohio State and Memphis in 2015, but their season was derailed once Kevin Hervey, a player with serious pro potential, tore his ACL.

With five starters back, including Hervey, who is just now getting back to 100 percent, UT-Arlington looks every bit the part of a March Cinderella.

The Mavericks jumped out to an early lead and forced the Gaels to play out of character. Saint Mary’s had only committed a season-high 14 turnovers before the midway point of the second half. The Gaels, who entered shooting 40 percent from three as a team, was held to 8-of-27 (30 percent) from beyond the arc.

UT-Arlington did an incredible job of closing out on shooters. And it didn’t matter the matchup, at times we saw Hervey, a 6-foot-9 junior, come out and run a guard off the 3-point line. While those statistics mentioned above show up in the box score, the amount of deflections don’t. The Mavericks used its length and athleticism to get their hands everywhere on the defensive end of the floor, making it difficult to find good looks.

In the first half, UT-Arlington controlled the glass. Saint Mary’s found more success in that department after halftime, as Kevin Clark’s offensive putback capped an 11-2 run, which cut the deficit to 52-41. However, the Mavs were able to counter each time the Gaels threatened, never letting the lead get to single digits.

Aside from the struggles the typically-efficient Saint Mary’s offense had, the Gaels struggled to keep UT-Arlington guards Erick Neal and Kaelon Wilson out of the lane, whether it be on a high ball screen or a handoff. Saint Mary’s never seemed to have a help-side defender there to protect the rim. Neal had 13 points and eight assists (five turnovers), while Wilson had 10 points off the bench. Hervey had a game-high 15 points and seven rebounds.

UT-Arlington is winners of eight straight after losing three straight. One of those wins includes a double-digit win over Texas in Austin. The Mavericks are the clear-cut favorite to win the Sun Belt. Come Selection Sunday, I’d say plenty of at-large teams would not like to be paired up with Scott Cross’ team.

Iowa cruises past No. 25 Iowa State

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20:  Head coach Fran McCaffery of the Iowa Hawkeyes reacts in the first half against the Villanova Wildcats during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 20, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Iowa picked up a major win on Thursday night, defeating in-state rival No. 25 Iowa State, 78-64, in a contest the Hawkeyes thoroughly dominated.

Let’s put it this way: the Hawkeyes have played four top-100 teams, according to kenpom. In those games, all losses by the way, their defense has surrendered 91 points to Seton Hall, 74 points to a Virginia team that plays at the slowest tempo in the country, 100 points to Memphis and 92 points to Notre Dame.

On Saturday, on the same floor Iowa demolished the Cyclones, its defense allowed 98 points in a loss to Nebraska Omaha.

This is exactly the sort of win Fran McCaffery and Co. needed to right the ship as we inch closer and closer to conference play.

When the Cyclones went to their bench in the first half, Nick Baer sparked a 10-0 run which helped set the tone for the remainder of the half. Iowa State went without a field goal for more than six minutes during that span.

Iowa kept Iowa State from getting out and running, holding the Cyclones to zero fast break points through the first 20 minutes and limiting them to only 36 percent from the floor as a team. Iowa, on the other hand, shot 47 percent, including 59 percent in the first half, which led to a 15-point halftime lead.

Peter Jok torched Iowa State to the tune of 23 points (4-of-7 from distance).

Monte Morris was held in check with 10 points, while Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas shot a combined 4-of-13 from three (they each hit a three with less than three minutes to play and the outcome all but decided).

Iowa State’s offense is becoming a bigger concern. Just like against Gonzaga, the Cyclones dug a first-half hole they could shoot out their way of. And like last week’s overtime loss to Cincinnati, they struggled from beyond the arc.

Iowa landed a marquee win it needed, while its rival headed home with questions to answer after losing three of four.

 

Alabama wing sidelined due to weight loss

ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 29: Head coach Avery Johnson of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at HP Field House on November 29, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Alabama junior wing Nick King will not be with the team for Sunday evening’s matchup against No. 24 Oregon in Eugene.

According to Rainer Sabin of the AL.com, Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said King undergoing a series of tests after losing more than 10 pounds in less than a week and a half.

Johnson told reporters that he is “very concerned” and estimates that as of now King will be sidelined for “a week or two.”

King, who played his first two seasons at Memphis, has appeared in all seven games for the Crimson Tide, averaging 3.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 12.7 minutes per game.

Damonte Dodd out with MCL sprain

COLLEGE PARK, MD - FEBRUARY 13: Melo Trimble #2 and Damonte Dodd #35 of the Maryland Terrapins react to a call as Alex Illikainen #25 of the Wisconsin Badgers looks on in the second half at Xfinity Center on February 13, 2016 in College Park, Maryland. Wisconsin won 70-57.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Maryland could be without the services of starting center Damonte Dodd for the remainder of the non-conference slate, the team announced on Wednesday.

Dodd suffered a MCL sprain in his left knee during practice earlier this week. The injury caused him to miss Wednesday’s 76-56 win over Howard. He will not be available for matchups with St. Peter’s and Jacksonville State. The Terrapins then close out the non-conference slate at Charlotte on Dec. 20 before opening up Big Ten play a week later.

Dodd has started in six of seven games he’s appeared in this season. He’s averaging 5.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Michael Cekovsky started in place of Dodd on Wednesday night. Ivan Bender, who returned to the lineup against Howard after missing the previous contest, should also see an increase in minutes with Dodd sidelined.

Federico Mussini goes coast-to-coast, beats buzzer with and-1

CINCINNATI, OH - FEBRUARY 03:  Chris Mullin the head coach of the St. John's Red Storm gives instructions to Federico Mussini #4 during the game against the  Xavier Musketeersat Cintas Center on February 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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St. John’s capped the first half with a 6-0 run.

Sophomore guard Federico Mussini went coast-to-coast to beat the buzzer, and draw the foul, as the Johnnies went into the break up 42-33 on city rival Fordham.

The 6-foot-4 guard had gone cold during a five-game stretch, but since Thanksgiving he’s scored in double figures in four consecutive games, including on Thursday night.