Ohio State v Purdue

The Morning Mix

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Morning folks. I hope you’re ready for another loaded night of college hoops, because Wednesday is bringing the thunder. Tonight is the first full night of conference play, and there are a handful of sneaky-good match-ups are on the schedule.

Lets hit the links.

Wednesday’s Top Games:
7:00 p.m. – Nebraska @ No. 2 Michigan
7:00 p.m. – No. 3 Louisville @ Seton Hall
7:00 p.m. – Iowa State @ No. 6 Kansas
7:00 p.m. – No. 14 Butler @ Saint Joseph’s
7:00 p.m. – Dayton @ Virginia Commonwealth
8:00 p.m. – Eastern Kentucky @ Murray State
8:00 p.m. – Valparaiso @ Illinois-Chicago
9:00 p.m. – No. 8 Minnesota @ No. 12 Illinois
9:00 p.m. – West Virginia @ Texas
10:00 p.m. – No. 24 UNLV @ No. 25 New Mexico
10:00 p.m. – Boise State @ Wyoming
11:00 p.m. – Washington @ California
11:30 p.m. – No. 16 San Diego State @ Fresno State

Top Stories:
Patsy Sutton, wife of legendary coach Eddie Sutton, has passed away: Patsy Sutton, the wife of legendary coach Eddie Sutton, passed away yesterday at the age of 76. Sutton had been hospitalized since Dec. 28 after suffering a stroke.

John Calipari pleased with the progress of Ryan Harrow: After a dismal start to his Kentucky career, NC-State transfer Ryan Harrow is developing the leadership skills John Calipari demands out of his point guards. How far this team goes in March will ultimately depend on the play of the Kentucky point guard, and Harrow is trending in the right direction.

Deshaun Thomas, No. 15 Ohio State bounce back after loss to Illinois, beat Purdue: Behind 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting from Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State bounced back from a loss over the weekend to beat Purdue on the road, 74-64. The Buckeyes needed a strong performance following a 19-loss against Illinois, and they got it from the guy they needed to get it from.

Wyoming’s Luke Martinez broke finger during bar fight, police say: Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt announced Dec. 31 that senior Luke Martinez would be out indefinitely after breaking his hand in an off-campus incident. Now, according to a police report, it has been revealed that Martinez was involved in a bar fight in Laramie that resulted in a broken right ring finger. The Cowboys are still undefeated and face a stern test from Boise State tonight.

Atlantic-10 Conference Catch-up: While the Big-Ten is the strongest conference in the country, it could be argued that the A-10 is the deepest in the country. Any of the league’s top-5 teams could emerge as conference champions, and the next five best teams are right behind them. This is going to be a fun conference to track.

Hoops Housekeeping
– Duke forward Ryan Kelly injured his surgically-repaired right foot during the Blue Devils’ win against Clemson on Tuesday. This is the third time in 12 months that Kelly has injured his right foot. (Charlotte Observer)

– Missouri forward Laurence Bowers injured his knee in the Tigers’ SEC opener against Alabama. It appears to be a MCL sprain on his left knee. Bowers was sidelined all of last season with an ACL tear in his right knee. (The Dagger)

– California guards Brandon Smith and Ricky Kreklow will not play against Washington tonight due to unrelated injuries. (Bear Talk)

– Louisville forward Chane Behanan sprained his ankle in practice and should be sidelined until the pivotal January 19th showdown with Syracuse. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Iona junior forward Shawn Jackson will not return to the Gaels basketball program this semester. (Yahoo Sports)

– The Drexel Dragons, CAA preseason favorites, continue to struggle, as evident by their overtime loss at Northeastern and their 5-10 record. But much of their struggles come from the fact that much of the Dragons’ firepower has been sidelined with injuries (Philahoops.com)

– Michigan reserve forward Jon Horford is set to return to action soon after sitting out four games due to a dislocated kneecap. (The Sporting News)

Observations & Insight:
– Georgetown suffered its worst Big East defeat in program history and its worst home defeat since 1971 last night against Pittsburgh. (CSN Washington)

– If you’re in to statistics and that sort of thing, you should be happy to know that the first RPI has been released. (ESPN)

– Tulane’s Josh Davis deserves some praise. The Green Wave forward has been sensational this season and the driving force behind Tulane’s 12-3 start. (Times-Picayune)

– You know, this is a great question. Can Minnesota win a Big-Ten title with no real deep threat? (Rush The Court)

– After two months of action UNLV’s Anthony Bennett is at the top of Jeff Borzello’s Freshman of the Year rankings. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Michigan State’ Branden Dawson was bummed out by the reaction he got froM Purdue fans. Dawson spurned Purdue during the recruitment process in favor of Michigan State. Oh, and he punched Travis Carrol in the stomach on Saturday. (Mlive.com)

– This is absolutely hilarious: .Gifs detailing the feelings of each SEC team heading in to conference play. LSU keeps cracking me up. (Kentucky Sports Radio)

Dunk(s) of the Day:
Plan and simple. #POSTERIZED of the night. Poor A.J. Hammons. (Big Ten Network)

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Swanigan staying for sophomore season

Purdue's Vince Edwards (12), Purdue's Caleb Swanigan (50) and Purdue's A.J. Hammons (20) celebrate during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Illinois in the quarterfinals at the Big Ten Conference tournament, Friday, March 11, 2016, in Indianapolis. Purdue won 89-58. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Purdue will once again be rolling out a formidable frontcourt in the 2016-17 season.

Boilermaker big man Caleb Swanigan is withdrawing from the NBA Draft to return to West Lafayette for his sophomore season, the school announced Wednesday.

The NBA is right there and always will be,” Swanigan said in the school’s press release, “but you always have to have patience and do what’s best for you.”

Purdue is losing 7-foot senior A.J. Hammons, but will be once again teaming Swanigan with Isaac Haas (7-2) and Vince Edwards (6-8) that will allow them to roll out a supersized lineup that is sure to be a difficult one to face off against.

The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Swanigan, who likely would have landed as a second-round pick, averaged 10.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists and was a finalist for the Wayman Tisdale Award for the country’s top freshman.

“We are excited that (Swanigan) has withdrawn from the NBA Draft and will return to Purdue,” head coach said Matt Painter in a statement released by the school. “He has the potential to make a huge jump from his freshman season and will be a big part of what we do next year. He received great experience going through this process and will use the feedback he received to make him a more diverse player.”

Purdue is probably a rung down from Michigan State and Wisconsin at the top of the league, but the return of Swanigan pulls them closer to competing at the top of the league next season.

USC’s Nikola Jovanovic not expected to return to USC

Southern California forward Nikola Jovanovic pauses on the court during an NCAA college basketball game against Washington State, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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Nikola Jovanovic’s college career has come to a close.

The USC center will not withdraw his name from NBA Draft consideration by Wednesday’s 11:59 p.m., a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Jovanovic, a 6-foot-11 Serbian, averaged 12.3 points and 7.0 boards as a junior with the Trojans.

Jovanovic is not expected to be drafted, which means that Andy Enfield’s club will be losing two players to the professional ranks with eligibility to spare that likely won’t end up on an NBA roster next season. Julian Jacobs, who averaged 11.6 points, 5.5 assists and 4.9 boards, signed with an agent back in April.

The Trojans were a top 25 team last season despite many considering them to still be “a year away”. But with two starters departing, the Trojans will be a borderline preseason top 25 team as opposed to a top 15 team.

Marcus Lee withdrawing from the draft, transferring from Kentucky

Kentucky forward Marcus Lee dunks during the first half of a second-round men's college basketball game against Indiana in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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For the second time this season and just the sixth time in John Calipari’s tenure at Kentucky, the Wildcats are losing a player to transfer.

Marcus Lee announced on Wednesday that he will be withdrawing from the NBA Draft, but the 6-foot-9 forward will not be returning to Kentucky. He will be transferring out of the program to a new school.

“I want to thank the University of Kentucky, the basketball staff and the Big Blue Nation for supporting me over the years,” Lee said. “I’m sorry it took me so long to come to this decision, but I’m trying to do what’s right for me and my family. I’ll always think fondly of my time at Kentucky.”

Lee averaged 6.4 points and 6.0 boards this season, seeing his first major minutes as a member of the Wildcats. But he seemed destined for a bench role if he had opted to return to Kentucky this season as John Calipari has landed a recruiting class that includes five-star freshmen Bam Adebayo, Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones.

The tough part?

It does not appear that Lee will be able to finish his degree and be eligible to play immediately next season. He’ll have to sit a year at whatever school he opts to transfer to.

“Marcus Lee informed us today that he is pulling his name out of the draft but has decided he is going to transfer to a school out west to be closer to his family,” head coach John Calipari said. “We talked it through together and discussed the team next season, which he said had no bearing on his decision. I also told him he was a semester away from graduating. With that said, he was still adamant that, after the combine experience, a year off and regrouping would be the best thing. As always I support my players and their decisions.”

Lee joins Charles Matthews as members of last year’s Wildcats that are transferring out of the program. Darnell Dodson (Southern Miss), Stacey Poole (Georgia Tech) , Ryan Harrow (Georgia State) and Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga) are the other four players that have transferred.

Isaiah Briscoe to return to Kentucky

Eric Johnson, Isaiah Briscoe
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
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Isaiah Briscoe announced on Wednesday that he will be returning to Kentucky for his sophomore season.

The 6-foot-3 guard had one of the more difficult decisions to make for players in this year’s draft class. On the one hand, there was a very real chance that he would go through this draft without getting picked. He was a role-playing guard on last year’s team that isn’t a point guard, isn’t big enough to be a two-guard and was a total liability shooting the ball.

But he’s returning to a team that is as loaded as the group that won their first 38 games two years ago, particularly in the back court. He’ll be playing behind De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk who both play essentially the same role that Briscoe does: playmaking guards that thrive with the ball in their hands. And since Briscoe can’t shoot, he may not be the best option at the three, where Derek Willis will likely see minutes.

In other words, Briscoe returning to school is essentially a two-year decision.

Kentucky now awaits an announcement from Marcus Lee on whether or not he will be returning to school.

James Blackmon Jr. to return to Indiana, Troy Williams to remain in draft

James Blackmon Jr.
(AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)
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James Blackmon Jr. will be returning to Indiana for his junior season, the school announced on Wednesday morning.

Blackmon missed the final 22 games of his sophomore season following surgery on his knee in December. As a freshman, Blackmon averaged 15.8 points and shot 46 percent from beyond the arc.

Indiana now awaits word on the decision that will be made by Troy Williams. A junior swingman, Williams has a shot to be an early second round pick if he opts to stay in the draft. There is a report from the Indy Star that he will keep his name in the draft, but the program has yet to confirm that news.

Losing Williams would hurt, but it’s a loss that Indiana can overcome. The emergence of O.G. Anunoby as a versatile defender means that the Hoosiers have a guy that can be a defensive stopper and can allow them to play small and fast. Anunoby also has not proven to be prone to bouts of poor decision-making, which arguably may make him a better fit.