The Morning Mix

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Your Thursday edition of The Morning Mix is being brought to you by all 11 of Troy Daniels’ 3-pointers last night. Yup, that’s right, VCU’s Troy Daniels hit 11 of his 20 3-point attempts. Dude was feeling it.

Also from last night, Jim Boeheim won the 903rd game of his career, surpassing Bobby Knight on the all-time list.

Lets hit the links.

Thursday’s Top Games:
7:00 p.m. – No. 2 Michigan @ Northwestern
7:00 p.m. – Northeastern @ George Mason (NBC Sports Network)
7:00 p.m. – Fairfield @ Canisius
8:00 p.m. – Colorado @ No. 3 Arizona
8:00 p.m. – Belmont @ Jacksonville State
8:30 p.m. – Penn State @ Wisconsin
9:00 p.m. – Loyola Marymount @ BYU
9:00 p.m. – No. 10 Gonzaga @ Pepperdine
10:00 p.m. – Stanford @ USC
11:00 p.m. – Cal @ UCLA
 
 
Read of the Day:
Luke Winn’s weekly power rankings. Get some. (Sports Illustrated)

Read of the Day:
The line separating motivation from “going to far” is getting blurred, according to college coaches. From Brendan Prunty of the New Jersey Star-Ledger. Read it. (New Jersey Star-Ledger)

Read of the Day:
Jon Gasaway on Arizona’s untapped potential and efficiency. It’s a great-read. Read it. (ESPN Insider)

Read of the Day:
Dana O’Neil hits a home run with her column on Jim Boeheim surpassing Bobby Knight on the all-time wins list. It’s never been about Jim, so obviously, his career is about much more than just a number. Read it. (ESPN)
 
 
Top Stories:
No. 11 Illinois falls in their Big Ten opener at Purdue: Winning on the road is not easy, and Purdue shut down an Illinois team not built to win on the road. Big Ten teams now have a blueprint on how to stop the Illini.

Episode 4 of the CBT Podcast: Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports joins the show this week to remind us how some of the conferences stack up heading in to the regular season. He does lots of talking. Troy does very little. It turned out to be the right choice. Give a listen to the best 30 minutes in college hoops.

Troy Daniels hits 11 threes in a game, has taken 15 twos this year? VCU’s Troy Daniels hit 11 3-pointers last night in the Rams 109-58 drubbing of East Tennessee State. In the last three games Daniels has shot 27-49 from beyond the arc. He has taken only 15 2-point field goals all season. AWESOME.

Trevis Simpson injured his ankle in the most bizarre way possible: Trevis Simpson is the best player on UNC-Greensboro. He’s also a freak athlete with rim-rocking capabilities. But the way he injured his ankle is just kinda bizarre. Automatic doors? Really?

Pac-12 Conference Catchup: Arizona is the favorite to win the Pac-12, and unless UCLA can make vast improvements (Which they just may), the gap between Arizona and the rest in the west is huge.

Conference Catchup for the CAA: Remember when the CAA was a three-bid league? Well, not anymore. The once-strong mid-major league is now being carried by George Mason. This was supposed to be Drexel’s year, but the Dragons have struggled, and the league now looks like it’s Mason or bust.

Jim Boeheim passes Knight for 2nd on career wins list: Syracuse defeated Rutgers 78-53 to give Jim Boeheim his 903rd career win, surpassing Bobby Knight on the all-time wins list.

West Coast Conference Catchup: Gonzaga looks to be the favorites again, but the race for second looks to be very close. BYU, Saint Mary’s and Santa Clara are all right there, and San Francisco has been a huge surprise.

Brad Stevens says he has ‘no shot’ at 900 wins: The 36-year old Butler head coach could get his 150th career win on Wednesday, and at his current pace, could get to the 900-wins plateau before sixty. But the youthful Bulldogs head coach said there is “no chance” of that happening.

 
 
Hoops Housekeeping
– Class of 2014 forward Leron Black has de-commited from Baylor and has reopened his recruitment. (Memphis Commercial-Appeal)

– Bradley center Will Egolf was charged with felony drug count and was released on bail yesterday (Peoria Journal-Star)

– Former-UCLA center Josh Smith has decided to transfer and will be eligible to play starting in January of 2014. (Eye on College Basketball)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– Troy Daniels is just one of the many reasons why Jay Bilas has VCU as his top underrated team in the country. (ESPN Insider)

– Paul Biancardi ranks his top ten under-the-radar freshman, including shot-blocking phenom Chris Obekpa and Wisconsin slasher Sam Dekkar. (ESPN Insider)

– Memphis and Tennessee will face off on Friday for the last time, as the two schools are ending their non-conference series. It’s a shame too. But apparently Memphis wants to play Louisville and that’s it. (Memphis Commercial-Appeal)

– Conference-USA is a mess. If you want to read a conference rest about C-USA, here it is. But I’m warning you, it’s ugly. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Ken Pomeroy released his standings for the kPOY award, or KenPom Player of the Year Award. As you can imagine, there are a lot of statistics involved. (KenPom Blog)

– This is now the third straight week we’ve said this, but it does worth repeating: Boston College is not nearly as bad as we thought they would be. (Hoopville)

– Mason Plumlee had a bad game last night against Davidson. But his bad games are better than most players good games, which is a scary thought for the ACC. (The Sporting News)

– 13 things to watch out for in the Pac-12 in 2013 (PacHoops.com)
 
 
Odds & Ends:
– Troy Daniels of VCU almost broke Twitter last night. (Around The Horns)

– They aren’t joking around when they say Butler’s Blue II is the most media-savvy mascot in the country. (WISH-TV8)

– An excellent op-ed about Myck Kabongo, the media and the NCAA. Really good stuff. (Burnt Orange Nation)
 
 
Picture of the Day:
This is the best. Ever. (Around The Horns)

source:
 
 
Dunk(s) of the Day:
I’m not big on high school dunks, but this is just silly. Ain’t nothing “high school” about that. (College Basketball Talk)


 
 
Video(s) of the Day:
VCU’s Troy Daniels hit 11 3-pointers last night against East Tennessee State. Here is video of all 11. (H/T @VCUHorns)


 
 
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)

Sweet 16 Preview: Thursday’s picks, predictions, betting lines and channels

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The Sweet 16 kicks off on Thursday night, and the games are going to be terrific.

Oregon-Michigan should be thrilling, Gonzaga-West Virginia is a fascinating contrast of styles and Kansas-Purdue features arguably the two best players in college basketball.

Oh, and then there’s Arizona-Xavier, with Sean Miller and Chris Mack doing battle.

For an in-depth look at each region, check these out:

SWEET 16 PREVIEW: Midwest | West | South | East

No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 7 Michigan (-1.5), 7:09 p.m. (CBS): So this run that Michigan on, is it a fluke?

Frankly, I don’t think that it is. Derrick Walton has been awesome for the better part of two months while Michigan’s perimeter shooters have always been shooters and the duo of D.J. Wilson and Mo Wagner are legit. I honestly do not believe that the Wolverines are a team of destiny after the plane crash. They are just really good and a perfect roster for John Beilein to tinker with.

That’s why they’re favored on Thursday night. But here’s the thing … Oregon is pretty good themselves. Dillon Brooks is going to be guarded by a big man, which should be a matchup that Brooks can take advantage of, and Tyler Dorsey has been playing terrific basketball since the start of the Pac-12 tournament.

If you like small-ball, spread-the-court basketball, you’ll love this game.

PREDICTION: Michigan (-1.5)

No. 1 Gonzaga (-3) vs. No. 4 West Virginia, 7:39 p.m. (TBS): On paper, I think Gonzaga should win this game. They have a good back court in Nigel Williams-Goss and Josh Perkins, a pair of talented point guards that have won a lot of games in their career. Gonzaga is also the best defensive team in the country. So if they don’t turn the ball over against West Virginia’s press and they make it difficult for West Virginia to score in the half court and get into their press, they should be able to win this thing, right?

Well, maybe not.

My concern with Gonzaga is game-pressure. They didn’t handle it well down the stretch against BYU in their one loss of the season, and I’m not convinced that they win that second round game against Northwestern if the officials don’t blow the goaltending call. How are they going to handle an endless wave of Mountaineers in their face?

PREDICTION: Gonzaga (-3)

No. 1 Kansas (-5) vs. No. 4 Purdue, 9:39 p.m. (CBS): More than any other game this weekend, I’m fascinated to see how these two teams decide to try and play each other. Kansas has, essentially, one big man that Bill Self can trust, and he’s going up against a Player of the Year candidate in Caleb Swanigan and one of the best big men in the country at drawing fouls in Isaac Haas. Will Self double-team Swanigan knowing that Purdue may be more effective offensively when Swanigan can find shooters out of the double-team, or will he risk Lucas getting in foul trouble by trying to guard Swanigan one-on-one?

Then, at the other end of the floor, how will Purdue deal with the Kansas back court? Frank Mason III, the NBC Sports National Player of the Year, and Devonte’ Graham are a nightmare for anyone to deal with, let alone a team that struggles against penetrating guards and that lacks rim protection. It should be a fascinating coaching battle.

PREDICTION: Kansas (-5)

No. 2 Arizona (-7.5) vs. No. 11 Xavier, 10:09 p.m. (TBS): On paper, Arizona should be able to handle a Xavier team that doesn’t have Edmond Sumner or Myles Davis. That said, as we all know, Chris Mack and Sean Miller are very close and used to work together. Mack knows everything that Miller is going to do and vice versa. I think this game will be a low-scoring, grind-it-out affair that comes down to the final minutes.

PREDICTION: Xavier (+7.5)

Shayok and Reuter transferring from Virginia

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Virginia announced the departure of two players Wednesday.

Marial Shayok and Jerred Shayok will both transfer out of the program, the school said.

“Marial and Jarred informed me today that they are leaving the Virginia basketball program and are looking to transfer to other schools,” Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said in a statement released by the school. “I thank Marial and Jarred for their hard work and contributions to our program, and wish them success in the future.”

Shayok, a a 6-foot-5 junior, played 20.9 minutes per game last season for the Cavaliers, averaging 8.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game while shooting 44.5 percent from the floor. The Ottawa native started 23 games in three seasons with Virginia.

Reuter played a minimal role for the Cavaliers, averaging just 10.8 minutes and 3.8 rebounds per game.

Wake’s Collins declares for NBA draft without hiring agent

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Wake Forest’s John Collins is entering the NBA draft but will not hire an agent and is keeping open the option of returning to school for his junior season.

In a statement Wednesday announcing the decision, Collins said he wants “to make an informed decision about what is best for my future.”

Collins is a 6-foot-10 forward who as a sophomore blossomed into one of the best big men in the Atlantic Coast Conference and was voted to the Associated Press all-ACC team.

He averaged 19.2 points and 9.8 rebounds, putting together a string of 12 consecutive 20-point games late in the season.

His progression was a big reason why the Demon Deacons earned their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2010. Kansas State beat Wake Forest in the First Four.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org

Porter, Jr. will ask for Washington release

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There may be an overwhelming assumption on where Michael Porter, Jr. – and his father – will ultimately end up, but the five-star recruit is said publicly that he see his re-recruitment process through.

Porter, Jr. said in a teleconference Wednesday that he will ask for his release from Washington, and his father, a former Huskies assistant, has been offered a job at Missouri by new Tigers coach Cuonzo Martin.

“Right now I’m just trying to take it slow with my family and weigh my options,” Porter Jr. said, according to the Kansas City Star. “I plan to get my (national letter of intent) from Washington back and just go from there, not saying that I’m not going to Washington anymore, but I just want to get it back and weigh my options.”

The prevailing thought has been that the Porters will ultimately land in Columbia, where they have significant history.

Still, it would appear at least publicly that Porter, Jr., a potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft, will weigh his options in at least the short-term.

Calipari signs two-year extension with Kentucky

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Kentucky continues to take care of John Calipari.

The Wildcats coach has received a two-year extension, keeping him under contract in Lexington through the 2024 season, the school announced Wednesday.

The contract will pay Calipari $7.75 million next season and increase to $8 million per season thereafter.

“John has achieved consistent championship-level performance at Kentucky,” Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement. “No one in America is better suited for everything that comes with being the coach here. Not only has he attained incredible success on the court, he is also a leader in our community and in college basketball.

“We have been blessed to have him and Ellen here for the last eight years and we are blessed they will continue to call Kentucky home.”

Not only does the deal extend Calipari, but it continues to keep Kentucky competitive with the NBA, which would seem to be the only outlet that would even potentially tempt Calipari away from Kentucky. An NBA franchise would have to make him among the highest-paid coaches in the league to even match Kentucky financially.

Of course, given that Calipari has spurned interest from the league since returning to college in 2000, it seems unlikely that financial considerations would be the lone or heaviest variable in making a decision to move on.

Certainly, Calipari has an excellent thing going at Kentucky as the premier recruiting program in the country that has enjoyed serious success on the court, culminating in a 2012 national title and a 38-0 start to the 2015 season before a loss in the Final Four.

“The last eight years at the University of Kentucky have been a terrific ride,” Calipari said in a statement. “This extension shows our full commitment to each other. I believe this school is the gold standard and I’m so thankful and blessed that this university has given me this opportunity at this point in my career.”

The Wildcats face UCLA in the Sweet 16 on Friday.