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)

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)

UNLV transfer to finish career at Michigan State

UNLV forward Ben Carter, right, celebrates after his team defeated Oregon in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Las Vegas. UNLV won 80-69. (AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher)
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Former UNLV center Ben Carter announced on Wednesday that he will be transferring to Michigan State to finish his collegiate career.

Carter, who began his career at Oregon, averaged 8.6 points and 6.0 boards in his one season with UNLV before tearing his ACL in late January. He spent two seasons with the Ducks before transferring to Vegas, which is why he’s eligible immediately for the Spartans.

And that’s the biggest reason that Tom Izzo and company targeted him.

The Spartans lost Deyonta Davis to the NBA Draft after one season, a fact that became an inevitability midway through the year but one that the Spartans didn’t necessarily plan for heading into last season. Carter isn’t going to be an instant impact kind of player, particularly not when he’s coming off of an ACL injury, but he is a big body and a veteran presence on a front line that wasn’t going have much of either.

Looking Forward: Which programs are set to step backwards as we head into 2016-17?

FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2016, file photo, Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall directs his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Drake, in Des Moines, Iowa. At this time of year college basketball coaches often sound like political candidates looking for votes as they tout their teams' NCAA tournament worthiness.  (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
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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 some programs on the rise heading into next season.

Wichita State: It’s hard to see the Shockers take too much of a tumble given how good a coach Gregg Marshall is and their superiority to the rest of the Missouri Valley Conference, but the graduations of Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker mean the end of an era. Those two were the constants of a Final Four team, then a 35-0 squad, followed by a Sweet 16 and finishing last March in the second round. There’s still talent in Wichita and they are still going to be the heavyweights of the Valley, but the dominance and national prestige that came with VanVleet and Baker may have also left with them.

UNLV: Things haven’t exactly been at a highwater mark in Las Vegas in awhile, but the Running Rebels appear to continue to sink. First, they fired coach Dave Rice in the middle of the season, which is never received well in coaching circles, exactly the place you need to go to, you know, hire another coach. The Rick Pitino pipedream never materialized, and then Mick Cronin couldn’t pull the trigger despite giving life in the desert a serious look. That left UNLV with Little Rock’s first-year coach Chris Beard, until an ugly debate regent debate to approve his contract preempted an exit to Texas Tech just a week after taking the job. New head coach Marvin Menzies was hired with just two scholarship players left in the program. All of that messiness is a terrible sign for the current health of a once-mighty program.

Iowa State: The news for the Cyclones this spring has been almost universally positive, starting with point guard Monte’ Morris deciding to not even test the NBA draft process and return for a senior season in which he’ll be the Cyclones’ focal point. ISU also will be getting Naz Mitrou-Long back after the sharpshooter was granted a medical hardship waiver. But the reality remains that the Cyclones lost one of the best players in program history in Georges Niang and have been enjoying the most successful run in program history. Some sort of slide is likely — and has been expected — as a result. But coach Steve Prohm and ISU may have enough talent to return to the NCAA tournament for a school-record sixth time and forestall any setback.

RELATED: Eight programs that are on the rise as we head into next season

Steve Prohm and Monte Morris (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
Steve Prohm and Monte Morris (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

North Carolina State: It really looked like Mark Gottfried was going to get things rolling in a big way following the 2014-15 season in which the Wolfpack went 22-14, had a good core returning and recruiting booming. But Trevor Lacey turned pro (only to go undrafted), Kyle Washington transferred and NC State stumbled to a 16-17 record last season. Now, Cat Barber is leaving to go pro and Abdul-Malik Abu may do the same or follow the Martin twins into the transfer, and suddenly the forecast in Raleigh isn’t so sunny even with Dennis Smith Jr. in the fold.

Pittsburgh: The Panthers traded a coach who won two Big East titles, went to the Sweet 16 twice, the Elite Eight once and only missed the NCAA tournament twice in 13 years for a guy that Vanderbilt was pushing out the door. Not great. Even if things had gotten stale for Pitt fans with Jamie Dixon, the results he achieved are hard to argue. Few believe that Kevin Stallings is the answer to jumpstart the program back to where Dixon had it during the first years of his tenure, especially as the ACC continues to be a monster to navigate.

Kansas State: The Bruce Weber era in Manhattan started out with a bang, as he tied for a Big 12 title in his first year taking over for Frank Martin, but it’s been backsliding since, capped with a 17-16 (5-13 Big 12) campaign this past season. He couldn’t make it work with the most talented player (Marcus Foster) he’s had there, and there hasn’t exactly been a line of high-level recruits making their way to Manhattan. And if that wasn’t bad enough, KSU fans had to watch Oklahoma State hire former Wildcat assistant Brad Underwood while their administration gave Weber a stay of execution.

Ohio State: This is probably the trickiest inclusion, as Thad Matta’s track record would suggest that last year’s NIT appearance was merely a slip on the path to a return to the top of the Big Ten. The trouble, though, is that seeing four members of a heralded five-man 2015 recruiting class all decide to transfer is a major red flag. The Buckeyes do welcome another strong class to Columbus this fall, headlined by Derek Funderburk, but there are some visible cracks in the facade.

VIDEO: Randy Kennedy is now running for President

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You’ve surely seen the videos by now.

Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy has an alter-ego named Randy Kennedy. He’s hilarious. And he’s now running for President:

#VoteRandy2016

Kennedy Meeks to return to North Carolina

Kennedy Meeks
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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North Carolina center Kennedy Meeks announced on Wednesday that he would be withdrawing his name from NBA Draft consideration.

“I’m thankful I had the chance to explore my draft options, but I’m excited about the opportunity to rejoin my teammates and work toward having another outstanding season at UNC,” says Meeks. “I appreciate the support my coaches and teammates gave me during this process as we gathered information about my professional opportunities at this time. The feedback on what I have to work on so that I can have a great senior year, help my team have a great season and be ready to take that next step is invaluable.”

Meeks did not get an invitation to the NBA Draft combine, which is a pretty clear indication that he did not have a real chance to get drafted this year. But the new rule allows him to gather feedback on what he needs to do to improve and get himself into a position where he can land a professional contract after he graduates next season.

As a junior, Meeks battled injury but still managed to average 9.2 points and 5.9 boards.

Louisville students’ lawsuit against escort is dismissed

Rick Pitino
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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A Louisville judge has dismissed a lawsuit by University of Louisville students filed against Katina Powell that said the escort’s book allegations of sex parties at the men’s basketball players’ dormitory had devalued their education.

Kyle Hornback and three other students sued Powell last fall, saying her book damaged the school’s reputation. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry denied their argument in Friday’s decision but allowed others who joined the suit after being named in the book to file amended complaints that they were falsely accused and defamed.

Powell has said that former Cardinals basketball staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to entertain recruits and players. Several investigations are ongoing including one by Louisville, which self-imposed a postseason ban and reduced scholarships and recruiting opportunities.