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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)

Johnson, Paige help No. 9 Tar Heels roll past Panthers 85-64

North Carolina's Isaiah Hicks (4) dunks against Pittsburgh during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Brice Johnson scored 19 points to lead a dominating offensive performance that helped No. 9 North Carolina beat Pittsburgh 85-64 on Sunday.

Marcus Paige added 15 points for the Tar Heels (21-4, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who shot 59 percent to stay atop the league ahead of the next renewal of their fierce rivalry with Duke.

UNC had plenty of balance, shared the ball and got out in transition in arguably their best performance in weeks, using a 13-0 second-half burst to blow the game open. UNC finished with 26 assists on 32 baskets, 24 points off turnovers and scored 16 fast-break points after managing a combined five in the past two games.

Michael Young and James Robinson each scored 15 points to lead Pitt (17-7, 6-6). But the Panthers shot 37 percent and committed 19 turnovers, and a strong effort on the glass did little to offset their troubles.

The Tar Heels were playing their first home game in two weeks after a difficult three-game road trip that started with losses at Louisville and Notre Dame. Then came Tuesday’s game at Boston College, where the Tar Heels struggled against a winless league team then had a scare when Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams briefly collapsed in a second-half huddle after an attack of vertigo and had to leave the sideline for the rest of the game.

Williams was back in the office on Wednesday’s off day, returned to practice Thursday and told reporters Friday he was fine and even cracked jokes about a two-decade history with vertigo dating to his Kansas years.

Getting back home certainly helped everyone feel better. After wrestling with shooting struggles for much of the past month, UNC’s offense kicked back into an efficient and balanced gear, while Paige – the player the Tar Heels are practically begging to jolt free from a prolonged shooting slump – looked more like his old self against the Panthers.

That included one second-half play in which he caught a crosscourt pass from Theo Pinson in transition and made sure to step back behind the arc before burying a 3-pointer.

The Panthers had lost three of four since a 5-2 league start coming in, including 65-63 on a late tip-in at No. 12 Miami on Tuesday. And Pitt again had trouble getting their offense going, failing to crack 70 points for the third straight game.

TIP-INS

Pittsburgh: Second-leading scorer Jamel Artis scored five points on 2-for-8 shooting. … Pitt finished with a 41-29 rebounding advantage. … Pitt made 9 of 21 3-point attempts.

UNC: Justin Jackson scored 14 points. … UNC made 8 of 15 shots from 3-point range and 13 of 15 free throws. … Jackson and Pinson had six assists each. … UNC managed just one offensive rebound.

UP NEXT

Pittsburgh hosts Wake Forest on Tuesday.

UNC hosts Duke on Wednesday.

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the AP’s college basketball site at http://collegebasketball.ap.org

Denzel Valentine dominant as No. 8 Michigan State whips Indiana

Michigan State's Denzel Valentine (45) shoots over Indiana's Kevin Yogi Ferrell during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
AP Photo/Al Goldis
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Trailing by one point at the half, Indiana appeared to be in good shape at No. 8 Michigan State. However the fact that they were unable to slow down Denzel Valentine, who scored 15 first-half points, was a major concern for Tom Crean’s Hoosiers. Sure enough the national Player of the Year candidate continued on his tour de force in the second half, scoring another 15 points and dishing out seven assists as the Spartans rolled to an 88-69 victory.

For the game Valentine finished with 30 points, five rebounds, 13 assists and just one turnover. Of Michigan State’s 48 second half points, Valentine had a hand in 29 of them with all seven of his assists resulting in Michigan State layups. It was a dominant performance from one of the nation’s best players, a versatile guard whose four games missed due to injury may have led to some overlooking him when it comes to those national Player of the Year conversations.

When Valentine’s on everything else flows smoothly for Tom Izzo’s team, as his ability to both score and create results in quality looks for teammates who would struggle if they had to get that part of the job done themselves.

The biggest beneficiary Sunday afternoon was forward Matt Costello, who finished the game with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Of Costello’s ten made field goals (10-for-12 FG) five were assisted by Valentine, and he accounted for 13 points and seven rebounds in the second half. As a team Michigan State shot 63.3 percent from the field and assisted on 16 of their 19 made field goals in the second half, turning a tight contest into a blowout.

Tum Tum Nairn returned the court for the first time in seven games, but he played just two minutes and his time on the court will be managed carefully by Izzo moving forward. For many teams not having your point guard at full strength would represent a crippling blow, but that hasn’t been the case for Michigan State thanks in large part to Valentine. Michigan State went 4-3 in those seven games without Nairn, but the three losses were by a total of three points.

Valentine’s ability to make his teammates better will be a key factor down the stretch for Michigan State, and that skill was what led to the Spartans blowing out Indiana on Sunday.