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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)


 
 
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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)
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.

Looking Forward: The Way-Too-Early 2016-17 Preseason All-American Team

Duke’s Grayson Allen, center, handles the ball as Long Beach State’s Nick Faust, left, and Long Beach State’s Noah Blackwell (3) defend during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C. Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. Duke won 103-81. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
(AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
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With the NBA Draft’s Early Entry process coming to a close on Wednesday evening, we finally have a concrete idea of what college basketball is going to look like in 2016-17.

That’s why we were able to give you an early Preseason Top 25.

And that’s why we were able to go through and breakdown each of the seven major conferences for you.

     RELATED: Big Ten | AAC | SEC | Pac 12

Now?

Here’s an early look at what a Preseason All-American team will look like:

     RELATED: Big 12 | ACC | A-10 | Big East

FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICANS

  • Monte’ Morris, Iowa State: If the Cyclones have any chance of making it back to the NCAA tournament, it’ll be on the shoulders of Morris. The point guard crop this year is loaded. Half-a-dozen guys could be in this spot, but Morris is our pick to be the best of the bunch.
  • Grayson Allen, Duke: Allen’s role may reduced a bit with Duke’s talented roster, but we’re betting that he’ll still end up being the No. 1 option on the offensive end of the floor.
  • Josh Hart, Villanova: The best player and leading scorer for the reigning national champ returned to school. The least we could do was show him some love.
  • Josh Jackson, Kansas: Jackson should match and may better Andrew Wiggins’ numbers (17.1 points) on a Kansas team that is preseason top three, and he’ll do it without the same kind of expectations.
  • Ivan Rabb, Cal: Rabb was the best NBA prospect to return to school. With Jaylen Brown and Ty Wallace gone, the offense will run through him. Expect a huge season.

SECOND TEAM ALL-AMERICANS

  • Melo Trimble, Maryland: Trimble’s sophomore season was derailed by a case of the yips and a team that didn’t fit together all that well. We’re betting on him turning that around.
  • Lonzo Ball, UCLA: UCLA could be a top five team this year. They could also miss the tournament. Who knows. But if they end up being the former, it will be because Ball had a ridiculous freshman season.
  • Dillon Brooks, Oregon: Brooks is the best player and the leading returning scorer on a preseason top five team. He may not be the best NBA prospect in the country, but he’s a damn good college player.
  • Bam Adebayo, Kentucky: Picking an all-american from Kentucky this season is tough. We’re going to go with Bam, who is the safe pick and could end up averaging a double-double for the Wildcats.
  • Thomas Bryant, Indiana: Bryant is in essentially the same spot as Rabb. Potential first round pick returns to school, becomes a bigger part of the offense, shines. If he takes a step forward defensively as well he’ll be a first-teamer come March.
Oregon forward Elgin Cook, from left, forward Dillon Brooks and guard Tyler Dorsey react after a play against Washington during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinal round of the Pac-12 men's tournament Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Las Vegas. Oregon won 83-77. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Oregon forward Dillon Brooks and guard Tyler Dorsey (AP Photo/John Locher)

THIRD TEAM ALL-AMERICANS

  • Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga: Williams-Goss averaged 15.6 points and 5.9 assists as a sophomore with Washington and spent a year sitting out at a school that turned Kelly Olynyk and Kyle Wiltjer into all-americans during a redshirt year.
  • Mo Watson, Creighton: Watson was criminally underrated last season and now he’ll be paired in a back court with Marcus Foster. The ‘Jays are sneaky-good.
  • Jayson Tatum, Duke: We took Tatum over Giles because we think Duke will have two all-americans and because we are concerned about the status of Giles’ knees.
  • Trevon Bluiett, Xavier: Bluiett was the leading scorer for Xavier last season and will be back in school after testing the draft waters.
  • Austin Nichols, Virginia: Nichols is a perfect fit for Virginia’s front court. He’ll be better than Anthony Gill was last season, and Gill was really, really good.
East forward Jayson Tatum, from Chaminade in St. Louis dunks against the West team during the McDonald's All-American boys basketball game, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in Chicago. The West won 114-107. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Jayson Tatum (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

NEW PODCAST: NBA Draft deadline winners and losers

Maryland guard Melo Trimble (AP Photo/Matt Hazlett)
AP Photo/Matt Hazlett
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With the change to the NCAA deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the NBA Draft moving from mid-April to May 25, college programs and fan bases across the country anxiously awaited Wednesday night’s deadline for news on players still going through the decision-making process.

With the dust having settled Thursday morning, the NBC Sports College Basketball Talk crew (Rob Dauster, Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips) got together to discuss the winners and losers. Among those discussed are Oregon, four Big Ten teams (Indiana, Maryland, Purdue and Wisconsin), and USC. It should be noted that Maryland was discussed before news of Justin Jackson’s commitment broke, so their front court looks a little different due to that.

We also touched on our updates to the Top 25, with the Boilermakers making a move up in the rankings, and Marcus Lee’s decision to transfer from Kentucky. As always, you can either click “play” in the Soundcloud player below or listen via iTunes or the Stitcher app. Thanks for listening!