The Morning Mix

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As is the case every Monday, The Morning Mix is here to get you caught up to speed on everything that took place this weekend in the college hoops world. In case you spent your weekend under a rock, there are no more undefeated teams in the country. On the flip side, Grambling and Maryland-Eastern Shore remain the only two winless teams in the country.

Lets hit the links.

Monday’s Top Games:
7:00 p.m. – No. 3 Louisville @ UConn
9:00 p.m. – Baylor @ No. 6 Kansas

Read of the Day:
Everybody, but especially the stats-geeks will love this article about Central Connecticut State head coach Howie Dickenman and his fascination with statistics and crunching numbers. Read it. (Hartford Courant)

Top Stories:
NC State beats Duke, storms floor, knocks over kid in wheelchair? Following North Carolina State’ 82-76 win over No. 1 Duke, the students stormed the court in celebration. A student in a wheelchair was knocked out of his chair at the center of the courtstorming. Luckily C.J. Leslie was there to pick him up and save him from the stampede.

Kwame Vaughn buzzer beater lifts Cal State Fullerton over UC Riverside: Titans’ senior Kwame Vaughn was just 2-of-11 from the floor Saturday against UC Riverside, but his second make won his team the game. Vaughn drilled a step-back fallaway jumper to beat the Highlanders 71-69.

Delaware now 3-0 in the CAA thanks to Devon Saddler’s buzzer-beater: The Blue Hens moved to 3-0 in the CAA thanks to a 3-point buzzer-beater from Devon Saddler against Georgia State. Delaware has now won six straight after losing eight of their first ten games.

Still no timetable for Butler guard Rotnei Clarke’s return: Butler guard Rotnei Clarke took a horrific fall against Dayton on Saturday and was taken off the court on a stretcher. Clarke was able to leave with the team and was even seen in the gym on Sunday. But due to precautionary measures, he will be held out until further notice.

Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State give No. 2 Michigan first loss of season in Big Ten thriller: The Buckeyes fought off a furious rally from their hated rivals, and after 40 minutes of play, were able to hand the Michigan Wolverines their first loss of the season. The Buckeyes got out to a hot start, leading by as many as 21. But led by Trey Burke, the maize and blue fought back. Their efforts came up short, as Burke’s game-winning 3-pointer was off the mark.

No. 12 Illinois gets embarrassed at Wisconsin: The Illini, who are currently ranked No. 12 in the country, fell to 1-3 in Big Ten play on Saturday afternoon after losing at Wisconsin 74-51.

Ole Miss 2-0 in SEC after 15-point dismantling of No. 10 Missouri: The Missouri Tigers look like a different team without Laurence Bowers, and an upstart Ole Miss team took full advantage. Led by gun-slinging Marshall Henderson and physical specimen Murphy Holloway, the Rebels smacked the No. 10 Tigers 64-49, and now sit at 2-0 in the SEC.

Elston Turner scores 40, A&M beats Kentucky at Rupp: Elston Turner became the first player in 23 years to score 40 points against Kentucky in Rupp Arena. The senior guard had never even scored 30 points in a single game before, and went off on the Wildcats on 14-of-19 shooting.

Temple hands St. Louis first loss since death of Rick Majerus: The Temple Owls snapped the Saint Louis Billikens nine-game winning streak which dated back to the passing of legendary coach Rick Majerus.

Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander power Connecticut to road win over No. 17 Notre Dame: The Connecticut backcourt duo of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright combined for 34 points and nine assists as the un-ranked Huskies upset No. 17 Notre Dame Saturday in South Bend, Ind., 65-58.

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery ducks flying shoe in win over Northwestern: With the Hawkeyes leading 51-37 Alex Marcotullio lost his shoe while defending Roy Devyn Marble, and instead of simply allowing the wayward shoe to remain on the court and become a possible injury risk Aaron White picked it up and tossed it off the court. Unfortunately White nearly hit his head coach in the head.

Hoops Housekeeping
– Syracuse forward James Southerland has been suspended until further notice due to an eligibility issue stemming from academics. Syracuse dealt with a very similar issue last year with Fab Melo. (The Dagger)

– Former-Michigan State guard Brandon Kearney will transfer to Arizona State. (MLive.com)

– Seton Hall sophomore forward Brandon Mobley suffered a dislocated shoulder on Sunday against Providence and could be sidelined for the remainder of the season. (My Central New Jersey)

– Three of the four Boise State players who were suspended for the Wyoming game due to a violation of team rules have been reinstated. (The Dagger)

– Casey Prather left Florida’s game against LSU early because of an apparent ankle injury. The x-rays were negative and it is likely that the Florida forward suffered a high ankle sprain. (Alligator Army)

– Seth Curry sustained an ankle injury in the late stages of Duke’s loss to North Carolina State on Saturday. His status for this week is unknown. (Devils In Durham)

Observations & Insight:
– With two undefeated teams going down this weekend, it shows that it may be impossible for a team to have an undefeated season in the modern era. (Yahoo Sports)

– Here is what Mike DeCourcy learned from Ohio State’s victory over Michigan. (The Sporting News)

– Jeff Eisenberg provides your stock report after a strong slate of Saturday games. (The Dagger)

– After being called out by head coach Rick Pitino for being soft, the Louisville defense has responded. The Cardinals will be put to the test tonight against UConn’s high-flying backcourt of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. (Louisville Courier-Journal)

– Nerlens Noel was upstaged by Elston Turner’s 40-point performance on Saturday. The Kentucky center finished with a robust state line of 15 points, 11 rebounds, 7 blocks, 6 assists and 4 steals. (Kentucky.com)

– Kentucky has only two wins against teams ranked inside the RPI top-215. With those numbers, is it possible that Cal’s cats are N.I.T.-bound and not NCAA-bound? (I Sports Web)

– Remember back when UCLA was an absolute train wreck? Well, not any more. The Bruins are 4-0 in the Pac-12. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Charlotte has yet to be really tested in A-10 play, but the 49ers are still 14-3 overall and should be a tough out in a very competitive league. (Hoopville)

– Sam Grooms is turning into Oklahoma’s glue-guy. The senior guard played a season-high 27 minutes on Saturday in the Sooners’ 77-68 win over Oklahoma State. (Rush The Court)

– Dick Vitale has selected as the newest member of the Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame. This is the 12th Hall of Fame that Vitale has been inducted in to. (ESPN)

Video(s) of the Night:
First-person view of the North Carolina State courtstorming from Will Privette, the wheelchair-bound fan that was nearly trampled during the celebratory stampede.

Dunk(s) of the Day:
Best non-Jamaal Franklin ally-oop of the year. Shannon Scott to Sam Thompson.

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)

USC lands four-star 2018 guard Elijah Weaver

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USC landed an important commitment for its future on Monday night as four-star Class of 2018 guard Elijah Weaver.

Regarded as the No. 35 overall prospect in the Rivals’ national Class of 2018 rankings, the 6-foot-5 Weaver gives the Trojans a floor leader to build around for the future as he provides great size in the backcourt. Capable of playing multiple guard spots, Weaver has a lot of upside for a program that has done a very solid job of developing backcourt talent under head coach Andy Enfield.

Weaver’s commitment is also important for the Trojans because it comes despite the looming FBI investigation that the program is dealing with thanks to former assistant coach Tony Bland. USC had recently lost a four-star commitment from forward J’Raan Brooks, so the commitment of Weaver is a huge momentum boost for them as they get right back on track in the Class of 2018.

With Weaver in the mix, USC now owns three four-star pledges in the 2018 class as he joins four-star forward Taeshon Cherry and four-star guard Kevin Porter.

Jim Larranaga believes he’s ‘Coach-3’ in FBI investigation

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Despite losing key contributors Davon Reed and Kamari Murphy from last season’s NCAA tournament team, the Miami Hurricanes are expected to be a player both within the ACC and nationally this season. But instead of having the focus solely on the likes of JaQuan Newton, Bruce Brown and Lonnie Walker, Jim Larrañaga’s program is also having to deal with the impact of the ongoing FBI investigation into corruption and fraud in college basketball.

While no one connected to the Miami men’s basketball program was arrested last month, the program is referenced in the FBI report. On Monday, Larrañaga stated during a press conference that he believes that he is “Coach-3” in the FBI report. Larrañaga also maintained his innocence, saying that he had done nothing wrong while also being thankful that none of his assistant coaches were involved.

“It’s been a strain, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually,” Larrañaga said according to the Palm Beach Post. “It’s something that’s there. I have to deal with it. I have the support of my wife and a wonderful family. I have the support of the university, my staff and players.”

According to the FBI report, “Coach-3” requested that payments totaling $150,000 be funneled to “Player-12” in order to ensure his commitment to their university. It has been reported that “Player-12” was 2018 five-star prospect Nassir Little, who has also stated that he had done nothing wrong. Two of the schools recruiting Little at the time, Arizona and Miami, have been entangled in the FBI investigation to varying degrees.

While Miami has not had anyone connected to its program arrested, Arizona assistant coach Emmanuel “Book” Richardson was one of the four Division I coaches were were indicted. As a result Little removed both Arizona and Miami from consideration before ultimately committing to North Carolina earlier this month.

There’s no telling what the FBI investigation will ultimately uncover, which for the schools involved could take a heavy toll not only for the 2017-18 season but for future years as well. The FBI case has been comparatively quiet since the first set of indictments, with future moves likely to be influenced by what authorities learn from the ten individuals named in the first announcement.

Miles Bridges discusses being offered money during recruiting process

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With the FBI launching an investigation into corruption and fraud in college basketball last month, the entire sport has found itself under the microscope. Ten people, including four Division I assistant coaches, were arrested and there’s no telling just how long the FBI’s investigation will last or what information it will produce.

Michigan State forward Miles Bridges is considered by many to be the leading candidate for national Player of the Yeah honors, and he had the opportunity to turn pro after a good freshman season. But Bridges made the decision to return to East Lansing, and with that comes questions as to why he would do that as opposed to cashing in on his NBA potential as soon as possible.

In an interview with Brendan Quinn of The Athletic (subscription required) Bridges discussed a host of issues, including being offered money by people while going through the recruiting process.

“I mean, if you get caught, that might be the end of your career. I wanted to play in college really bad,” Bridges told Quinn. “I don’t know — materialistic things, they don’t really get to me. So when people were offering me money, I would say no right away, because I wanted to be able to live out my college experience. But really, I don’t know, it is hard, especially because I was so young at the time — 17.”

Given the ongoing investigation, high-profile players and teams will be on the receiving end of increased scrutiny even if they aren’t part of the FBI probe. It’s an unfair situation for a player like Bridges to deal with, as even in the actual cases of alleged wrongdoing the players themselves are essentially commodities whose services are being auctioned as opposed to the main characters looking to cash in.

Unfortunately, due to recent events a decision like the one made by Bridges will result in some questioning whether or not the player received something from the school or another entity/individual. And that’s a tough — and unfair — thing for a young player to have to deal with.

Broken hand sidelines North Carolina PG Joel Berry II

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North Carolina’s defense of its national title will likely begin without its most important player, as it was announced on Monday that senior point guard Joel Berry II will miss approximately four weeks due to a broken bone in his right hand.

Berry started at the point each of the last two seasons, earning Most Outstanding Player honors in April as the Tar Heels defeated Gonzaga to win the national title. As a junior, Berry averaged 14.7 points, 3.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game and started 37 of the 38 games in which he played. Berry shot 42.6 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from three, with the latter percentage being the best on team amongst players who attempted at least two three-pointers per game.

Berry was named an NBC Sports Preseason Third-Team All-American in late September.

With Berry out of the lineup, North Carolina loses its floor general as well as one of their top perimeter shooters. Sophomore Seventh Woods and freshman Jalek Felton become more important options at the point as a result of Berry’s injury, and the team doesn’t lack for perimeter shooters either with Cameron Johnson, Brandon Robinson, Kenny Williams and freshman Andrew Platek all being capable of helping to pick up the slack.

North Carolina opens its regular season on November 10 against Northern Iowa.

Bill Self’s stance on Kansas/Missouri series remains unchanged

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Sunday afternoon in Kansas City, bitter rivals Kansas and Missouri got together on the basketball court for the first time since 2012, with the Showdown for Relief raising $1.75 million for recent hurricane victims. In what was an entertaining game, the Jayhawks won by the final score of 93-87 with point guard Devonté Graham leading the way for the winners with 25 points and ten rebounds.

Kansas finished the game with five players in double figures, including Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman (17 points) and center Udoka Azubuike (16). On the other side freshman Michael Porter Jr. paced four Tigers in double figures with 21 points while younger brother Jontay grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds off the bench.

However despite the excitement for the two rivals being on the same court in any capacity, Sunday’s meeting was different given the circumstances. Following the game Kansas head coach Bill Self was asked about the possibility of the two teams meeting in a regular season game, and he maintained the stance he’s held since Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC.

“I’m not going to say never, but I don’t think there’s been any change in our position as far as the university goes,” Self said following Sunday’s exhibition. “I’m the spokesman, I guess, on this but trust me, I’m not the only one that feels that way.”

While it would certainly benefit college basketball if Kansas and Missouri were to renew acquaintances down the line, it is understandable that Self — and maybe some others on the Kansas side of things — would have reservations. The programs, even with the arrival of Cuonzo Martin in Columbia and the freshman class led by the aforementioned Michael Porter Jr., are in different places right now.

The Jayhawks have their sights set on a 14th consecutive Big 12 title and a run at their first national title since 2008, Missouri is looking to fast-track a rebuilding process after struggling mightily under former head coach Kim Anderson. Yet with that being said, the state of the two athletic departments during realignment likely has more to do with the teams not playing each other.

Missouri was a school with options earlier this decade before joining the SEC, but that was not the case for Kansas. Had the Big 12 broken up as some believed would be the case, where would the Jayhawks have landed? Fortunately for the school the Big 12 survived the realignment craze, losing four schools (Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, Colorado to the Pac-12 and Nebraska to the Big Ten) and adding TCU and West Virginia to get their membership number to ten.

Given that, the best bet for college basketball fans who want to see this rivalry played during the regular season may be to hope for the programs wind up in the same in-season tournament. Even better, how about the same NCAA tournament region?