The Morning Mix

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Matthew Dellavedova. He may have one of the ugliest strokes in the game, but BOY is it effective. BYU fans across the country are all waking up on the wrong side of the bed today.

I know I say this almost every day, but MAN, do we have a lot of interesting news and notes to get to.

Lets hit the links.

Thursday’s Top Games:
7:00 p.m. – No. 5 Michigan @ No. 9 Minnesota
7:00 p.m. – No. 10 Florida @ Texas A&M
7:00 p.m. – Valparaiso @ Detroit
8:00 p.m. – Eastern Kentucky @ Belmont
8:00 p.m. – South Dakota State @ Western Illinois
8:15 p.m. – Northwestern @ No. 23 Illinois
9:00 p.m. – Georgia Tech @ No. 3 Duke
9:00 p.m. – Oregon State @ No. 24 UCLA
9:00 p.m. – St. Joseph’s @ No. 22 VCU
9:00 p.m. – Utah State @ New Mexico State
10:00 p.m. – No. 8 Gonzaga @ Portland
11:00 p.m. – No. 21 Oregon @ USC
12:00 a.m. – Pacific @ Hawaii
 
 
Read of the Day:
Luke Winn’s Power Rankings. You know what to do. Read it. (Sports Illustrated)

Read of the Day:
It’s been a while since we’ve seen an article written about the similarities between Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens. But with both their teams sitting atop the A-10 standings, this seems like the perfect time for a reminder. Read it. (Indianapolis Star)

 
 
Top Stories:
Matthew Dellavedova hits half-court buzzer-beater to lift Saint Mary’s over BYU: With his team down two points, 69-67, Saint Mary’s guard Matthew Dellavedova heaved a shot from half-court that went down as the buzzer sounded to give the Gaels a stunning 70-69 victory.

CBT Podcast: Freshman are leading the way in 2012-2013: Troy Machir (Me) is joined by Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports’ Eye on College Basketball to discuss the top freshman in college hoops and how they impact their respective teams. It’s the best 30 minutes in college hoops.

No. 19 New Mexico outlasts Boise State in tough overtime test: Tony Snell scored 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting to lead No. 19 New Mexico to a gritty road win over Boise State, 79-74. Both teams had a chance to win the game in regulation but came up short, forcing an extra session. The Lobos were able to gut out a tough road win in overtime.

Anthony Marshall leads UNLV over No. 15 San Diego State on the road: UNLV notched one of its biggest win of the season on the road Wednesday night, using 20 points, nine rebounds, and five assists from guard Anthony Marshall to secure an 82-75 victory over San Diego State.

Olivier Hanlan misses free throw in final second, Miami escapes with win at Boston College: Durand Scott fouled Boston College freshman Olivier Hanlan behind the three-point line with 0.5 seconds remaining and the Eagles trailing by three, 60-57, giving him an opportunity to tie and send the game to overtime. Hanlan made the first two, but missed the final shot, preserving the win for Miami.

For Maryland, being lucky is better than being good if it’s only for one night:Alex Len finished with 10 points and six boards, tipping in an errant Pe’Shon Howard shot with just 0.9 seconds left on the clock as the Terps knocked off No. 14 NC State at the Comcast Center, 51-50. The Terps desperately needed a win over a ranked opponent, lucky or not.

Report: SDSU will not be leaving the Mountain West: This has more to do with the football side of things, but according to a report from Mark Blaudschun, San Diego State will likely be returning to the Mountain West Conference instead of joining the Big East.

Syracuse to retire Carmelo Anthony’s jersey: He may have only played one season in an orange Syracuse uniform, but Carmelo Anthony’s jersey will be hanging from the rafters of the Carrier Dome come February. Winning a National Championship in just one year will afford you these types of opportunities.
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping
– Green Bay sophomore Greg Mays has been suspended for three games due to a violation of team policies. (GreenBayPhoenix.com)

– Prior to their game against Providence last night, in which they won 74-65, Georgetown announced that forward Greg Whittington had been declared academically ineligible and will not participate until further notice. (CBS Local)

– Morehead State head coach Sean Woods is back with his team after suffering a minor health scare over the weekend. (Mid-Major Madness)

– George Mason and VCU are close to agreeing to a new 4-year deal to resume their series. The two teams spent much of the last decade battling for the top billing in the CAA. (GMU Hoops)

 
 
Observations & Insight:
– A man was shot and killed following a fight that broke out in the handshake line directly after a basketball game between Chicago high schools Morgan Park and Simeon, the home of Duke recruit Jabari Parker. (Chicago Tribune)

– Michigan State’s Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne got into a physical altercation at a hotel prior to tip-off against Penn State. Neither player stated, but they seemed to put it behind them, as Payne scored a career-high 20 points in the Spartans 81-72 win against the Nittany Lions. (Mlive.com)

– Shaquille O’Neal played three seasons at LSU. He thinks college players should stay in school for three seasons. (CBS Sports)

– A solid recap of the cranky twitter reactions to the Maryland fans storming the court following their buzzer-beating win over North Carolina State. (DC Sports Blog)

– The epic showdown between Jim Boeheim and Doug Gottlieb finally came to a head yesterday on Gottlieb’s radio show, and the product was surprisingly uneventful. (Troy Nunes)

– “One Bid Wonders” is a great blog devoted to covering the America East hoops conference. But due to the things life throws at you, they need some help with site coverage. If you live in the Northeast, help them out. (One Bid Wonders)

– People like to compare Doug McDermott to Larry Bird, but as Tom Shatel writes, they aren’t quite the same. (Omaha World-Herald)

– Temple narrowly defeated George Washington on the road last night 55-53, thanks to some questionable calls down the stretch from the officiating crew. (Colonial Hoops)

– C.J. McCollum is the known commodity in the Patriot League, but he isn’t the only one with legitimate NBA aspirations. With the Lehigh guard on the shelf due to a foot injury, Bucknell’s Mike Muscala has the stage to himself. (Penn Live)

– Iowa State freshman Georges Niang hit a game-winning layup with 2.3 seconds on the clock to thwart West Virginia’s hectic second half comeback. The rookie phenom is quickly building a legacy in Ames, and nothing helps build a legacy quite like “Hilton Magic”. (Ames Tribune)

– Jay Bilas diagnoses some key problems plaguing high-profile teams and provides solutions to their ailments. (ESPN Insider)

– Matt Norlander takes a look at just how good the conference can be in its final season together. (Eye on College Basketball)

– With no unbeaten teams left in college hoops, here is a look as some of the teams at the opposite end of the spectrum. The mid-major worst of the worst. (Big Apple Buckets)
 
 
Video of the Night:
Marshall Henderson, say hello to Matthew Dellavedova. But the broadcast call really left a lot to be desired.


 
 
Dunk: of the Day:
Demetrius Conger gives Xavier the business, one-handed style.


 
 
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)

A season of highs and lows ends for Kansas in the Elite 8 again

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For the second season in a row, Kansas was one-win shy of a Final Four appearance, falling to Oregon, 74-60, in the Elite Eight on Friday night at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

This comes a year after Kansas, as the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, fell to eventual national champion Villanova in the Elite 8.

Just as stars such as Perry Ellis struggled in that regional final, so did KU’s freshman phenom Josh Jackson, whose quick two personal fouls that saddled him on the bench and appeared to take him out of the game mentally. Devonte’ Graham, averaging 20.0 points per game in the tournament, was 0-for-7 from the field. Frank Mason III’s first-half performance assured that Oregon would completely run away with the game before halftime.

The loss put an end to a tumultuous season for the Jayhawks.

Kansas entered the 2016-17 season as one of the favorites to win the national championship. The Jayhawks went on to win the Big 12 regular season title for an unprecedented 13th consecutive season. Frank Mason III, in the eyes of many, was the wire-to-wire national player of the year.

However, for all its accomplishments on the court, Kansas faced more than its share of issues off-the-court. Lagerald Vick, who was under university investigation for allegedly striking a female student. Carlton Bragg was arrested — and subsequently suspended — for drug paraphernalia. There was also the affidavit released a day before the start of the NCAA Tournament for the Jayhawks, detailing the incident outside a Lawerence bar from December involving both Vick and Josh Jackson. Even Devonte Graham’s arrest for an unpaid ticket made headlines during this string of non-basketball related news.

The Jayhawks downplayed talks of distraction before the start of the NCAA Tournament and backed it up by dominating opponents through the first three rounds. The average margin of victory was 30.0, and that includes victories over Michigan State and a 32-point beatdown of a Purdue team that held a massive mismatch on the interior.

It looked like Self was destined to add to his Hall of Fame résumé; a third trip to the Final Four — first since 2012 — was in front of essentially a home crowd. Instead, Oregon handed the Jayhawks their worst tournament defeat in the Bill Self era.

Seven times under Self, KU has made the Elite Eight and was sent home.

Perhaps, all would have been forgiven — or at the very least, overshadowed — had KU cut down the nets in Arizona.

Instead, its season ended in an all too familiar place.

Elite 8 Preview: Sunday’s picks, predictions, betting lines and channels

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No. 4 FLORIDA (-3) vs. No. 7 SOUTH CAROLINA, 2:20 p.m., CBS: If you’re a fan of uptempo, wide-open basketball, of teams running beautiful offensive sets, spreading the floor and using the three-point line like it should be used, this game probably is not going to be for you.

This is going to be as physical and as tough as any game you watched all season long. Both the Gamecocks and the Gators are top five teams in defensive efficiency, and both of them get out and pressure defensively, Florida in the full court and South Carolina in the half court. They shun shooters for the toughest athletes on their roster. They pride themselves in being tougher, both mentally and physically, than whoever they end up playing.

And they think that a game played in the 50s is beautiful basketball.

So bet the under if you can.

But the pick I like is Florida here. Their ability to defend is going to make it very difficult for South Carolina’s offensive renaissance to continue, and their guards will be able to make the plays offensively that South Carolina dares you to make.

PREDICTION: Florida (-3)

No. 1 NORTH CAROLINA (-2.5) vs. No. 2 KENTUCKY, 5:05 p.m. CBS: This is the rematch we all wanted, right?

Ever since that day three months ago, when Kentucky got 47 points from Malik Monk in a 103-102 win over North Carolina in Las Vegas, I don’t think there is a soul in the country that would have told you otherwise.

There are two major differences between these two teams now and those two teams then. The biggest is the presence of Theo Pinson, North Carolina’s best perimeter defender. Pinson has dealt foot injuries all season long, and when these two got together in December, he was not yet healthy enough to play. I assume that he will draw the assignment of Malik Monk, chasing around the man that had definitively been Kentucky’s most dangerous scorer. Pinson will make life more difficult for Monk than it was the first time around.

But is he going to spend the entire game on him?

Because after De’Aaron Fox’s 39-point outburst against UCLA on Friday night, it’s fair to wonder whether or not Pinson may be better suited to taking on the task of keeping Fox from getting into the paint. Whatever Roy Williams opts to do, the bottom line is pretty simple — if he needs to find a way to keep Kentucky’s back court in check.

The other difference between now and then is that Bam Adebayo has been playing up to his potential for the past six weeks. He was solid earlier in the year. He can be dominant at times now, and that is going to be critical for the Wildcats, who are going to be outsized by a significant margin by UNC’s front line. The Tar Heels lead the nation in offensive rebounding percentage, and they are one of the only elite teams that thrives playing two bigs at the same time. In other words, one of Wenyen Gabriel or Derek Willis are going to have to deal with Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks and Tony Bradley. That’s a matchup that favors UNC, which is why Aebayo is going to have to play up to his size.

In the end, I think Pinson’s presence and North Carolina’s size advantage will be too much.

But if Fox and Monk play their game, they can carry Kentucky a long, long way.

PREDICTION: North Carolina (2.5)

Lawrence Police Department trolls Bill Self following Elite Eight loss

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Kansas had its season ended with a 74-60 loss to No. 3 seed Oregon.

The Jayhawks were the top seed in the South region. They were playing a de facto at the Sprint Center, which is 40 miles away from the school’s campus. As you can imagine, fans in Lawrence were likely unhappy, especially since it’s the second year in a row KU has been bounced one-game shy of the Final Four.

The Lawrence Police Department, while prepping for potential riots, couldn’t help tweeting a joke at the future Hall of Famer’s expense.

Bill Self’s teams have been eliminated seven times in the Elite Eight during his tenure at Kansas. He’s led the Jayhawks to a pair of Final Fours, winning the national championship in 2008.

Kansas finished the season 31-5.

Gonzaga passes the title of best program without a Final Four to Xavier in win

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In 1999, Gonzaga was not yet “Gonzaga”.

A No. 10 seed in just their third NCAA tournament, the Zags won three games against high-major competition, coming within a possession of reaching the Final Four in a loss to No. 1 seed UConn.

UConn, at that point, was one of the best programs in the country under Jim Calhoun, but the knock on the Huskies at that point was that they couldn’t win the big one. They had been to three Elite 8s and three more Sweet 16s in the previous eight seasons, but it wasn’t until they knocked off that Gonzaga team that they finally were playing on college basketball’s biggest stage.

For 18 years, Gonzaga tried and failed to get to a Final Four, becoming one of the nation’s premier basketball programs without having the postseason success to legitimize themselves in the eyes of idiots around the country. That ended on Saturday night in San Jose, as No. 1 seed Gonzaga ended No. 11 Xavier’s thrilling run to the Elite 8 and passing on the torch that UConn passed to them.

Xavier can now claim the title of the best basketball program that has yet to make a Final Four, which is both a compliment and a curse.

The Musketeers have been to the NCAA tournament 25 times since the bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985. They’ve been to nine Sweet 16s and three Elite 8s. They had a winning record in NCAA tournament play until Saturday’s loss and now lay claim to the title of the team with the most NCAA tournament wins without an appearance in the Final Four.

Xavier is going to get there eventually. Chris Mack is one of the best coaches in the business. Hell, if Trevon Bluiett and Edmond Sumner both return to school, it could very well be next season that they snap that streak. It’s coming at some point.

I don’t even think it’s an insult to say this about Xavier. I don’t think it’s a shot at the program or the coaches that have come through it. Getting to the Final Four is hard. Bill Self is a lead-pipe lock to be a Hall of Famer, and he’s been to just two Final Fours in his career. He’s 2-7 in the Elite 8, and if Derrick Rose could make his free throws, the discussion of just how good of a coach Self is if he can’t win a title would be raging with the Jayhawks flaming out of the tournament on Saturday night.

But as with Gonzaga and UConn before them, Xavier is going to have that monkey on their back every time they suit up in March.

VIDEO: Tyler Dorsey hits dagger after dagger in upset of Kansas

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Tyler Dorsey is building himself quite the reputation for being a big-shot maker.

He hit the game-winner that got Oregon to the Sweet 16. He hit two threes at the end of the first half to push Oregon’s lead to 11 points over Kansas. And he hit this three, the dagger through the heart of Kansas:

Dorsey finished with 27 points. He’s scored at least 20 points in every game since the NCAA tournament began.