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)

VIDEO: De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo inconsolable after Elite 8 loss

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Bam Adebayo and De’Aaron Fox, the two freshmen on Kentucky’s roster that aren’t Malik Monk, were sitting next to each other in the locker room following Kentucky’s loss to North Carolina on Sunday night, and the Wildcat stars were inconsolable.

As weird as this may sound, and as tough as that video is to watch at times, I love it. The problem with one-and-done kids is that it, at times, feels like they’re mercenaries, that they are players that are strictly in college because they have to be, because they can’t make millions in the NBA yet.

Fox and Adebayo certainly do fall into that category, but it doesn’t come with the typical shortcomings.

They clearly care about their school, about their teammates and about that loss.

I’ve grown cynical, I guess, and while I’ll readily admit that video was too tough for me to watch in its entirety, it is refreshing to see just how much they care.

Even if they are only making a seven month stop over in Lexington.

VIDEO: Kentucky, UNC fans react to insane finish to Elite 8 game

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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The finish last night between No. 1 North Carolina and No. 2 Kentucky was one of the greatest and most exhilarating endings to a basketball that we’ve seen in the NCAA tournament.

It was capped by Luke Maye answering Malik Monk’s jumper with a jumper of his own, sending the Tar Heels to the Final Four for the second straight season.

That’s a roller coaster of emotions to go through in 10 seconds, and perhaps no one embodies that more than the dude in the No. 11 jersey here:

(Does anyone know him? Can we confirm he’s OK?)

Anyway, that emotion was nothing compared to what the Kentucky team went through. De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo were inconsolable in the locker room after the game:

North Carolina fans, however, were just a little bit happier:

Like his career, Frank Martin has built South Carolina from the ground up

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NEW YORK — It was after he finished watching South Carolina cut down the Madison Square Garden nets, after he had spent the better part of 30 minutes giving interviews on the court, after he was spotted by the CBS cameras, with a fist raised and tears pooling under his eyes, that the enormity of what he had just witnessed hit Darius Rucker.

“Gosh,” he said to everyone and no one in particular as he left the arena floor and made his way through the bowels of the Garden, “I can’t believe that just happened.”

The ‘that’ that Rucker, South Carolina’s most famous and, quite possibly, biggest fan, was referring to was a 77-70, come-from behind win over No. 4 seed Florida that jettisoned the seventh-seeded Gamecocks through the Elite 8 and into the Final Four. Prior to this season, the Gamecocks hadn’t been to the NCAA tournament in 13 years. They had been to four NCAA tournaments in the previous 43 seasons, and they had never won back-to-back tournament game.

As in not ever.

“We’re in the Garden, watching the Gamecocks play to go to the Final Four,” Rucker said. “If you’d have told me that ten years ago I’d have told you that you were on crack.”

That’s the program that Frank Martin inherited in 2012, when he left Kansas State following a falling out with his athletic director, John Currie. Like South Carolina, Kansas State was hardly considered a destination job when Martin was at the helm, but he was able to build off of a foundation created by Bob Huggins. Martin had been to four NCAA tournaments in five years with Kansas State when he made the decision to leave. Nothing is more important to Martin than loyalty. “He’s always had a core group of people that he’s counted on,” his agent, Bret Just, said, and Currie was not one of those people.

The straw that broke the camel’s back came during the 2012 NCAA tournament. Kansas State was a No. 8 seed, squaring off with No. 1 seed Syracuse when Martin was informed by Currie that Jamar Samuels, one of his best players, would not be allowed to suit up. The school had stumbled upon information that Samuels had received a wire transfer for $200 from his AAU coach, and he was going to be suspended.

And that was that.

Martin was off to South Carolina.

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

“It was a situation where we had to go,” associate head coach Matt Figger, who has been with Martin for the last decade, said, and it wasn’t exactly the easiest or smartest decision to leave. Most understood why Martin had to make the change that he made — he was offered a hefty raise and he had the chance to leave a place of employment where he did not get along with his boss — but it wasn’t as if Martin was climbing the ladder. If anything, South Carolina was a step backwards, as Martin took over a program with less pedigree and with a significant building job in front of them.

“I didn’t really know until I got into it. It was a much different deal. It looked easier on the surface than what it really was,” Figger said. “The best players transferred. Bruce Ellington, he’s with the 49ers now, he was the one guy that we could trust and he played football half the year. Couple of the guys that were the holdovers, I don’t think they believed in what our vision was. After a year, some of them left.”

“We had to start this from scratch.”

The process was slow in the early stages. Martin replaced Darrin Horn, who had won just 10 games and finished dead last in the SEC in his final season on campus, and didn’t post a .500 record until his third season in Columbia. Even then, that team went just 17-16. He won 15 SEC games in his first three years combined. After a late season swoon cost South Carolina a shot at the 2016 NCAA tournament, there was speculation that another year without a trip to the Big Dance could spell the end of Martin’s time with the Gamecocks.

“It was hard!” Martin’s wife, Anya, said. “You see he’s losing his hair. It’s all turning white. It was tough in the beginning. I had to ask him a couple of times, ‘Why here?’”

The easy answer is that it wasn’t Kansas State, but the truth is more complicated than that.

Martin is not a man that is afraid of a challenge. He’s not intimidated by a job that isn’t easy to do, not when you come from where he’s come from, when you’ve coached on the path that he has coached.

Martin got his first job when he was 12 years old, working at a Dairy Queen to help his mom pay the bills when his dad walked out on them. His coaching career started a year after he graduated high school, when he was just 19 years old.

“I tore my ACL the year before,” Martin said, “and my high school coach asked me to come help him, because the kids in the neighborhood respected me so much.”

He was nothing more than an assistant with the team at Miami Senior High School, helping out when and where he could, when the head coach of the JV team didn’t show up for work one day. Shakey Rodriguez, a legend in the Miami High School basketball community, told Martin he would be coaching that day, and he hasn’t looked back since.

“By his second season,” Martin’s mother, Lourdes, beaming as she held back tears of joy, said, “he was 22-0.”

Even as Martin was coaching, he was still working on the side, most famously as a bouncer in Miami’s nightclub scene. He needed a degree, so he took night classes at Miami-Dade College before enrolling part-time at FIU. His future was capped if he didn’t graduate.

“He made it out,” she added, holding on to her grandson to steady herself as the moment washed over her. “He had many, many jobs, and then God was up there and blessed him.”

Martin would go from the high school ranks to Northeastern, taking a paycut just to get his foot in the door. He spent four years as an assistant and met his wife — “My wife turned me down seven times to go out on a date,” he said. “Seven. Seven. And the day she made the mistake of going out on a date with me, I never let her go.” — before moving on to Cincinnati, where he joined forces with Bob Huggins, spending two seasons with the Bearcats before following Huggins to Kansas State. He replaced Huggins as Kansas State’s head coach a year after joining the program and just seven years after he joined the collegiate coaching ranks. He would take the Wildcats to more NCAA tournaments in his five seasons at the helm than they had been to in the previous two decades combined.

“Frank’s never steered away from a challenge as long as I’ve known him,” Anya said. “He’s overcome any obstacle in his way, just ‘I’m going to make it work.'”

“He’s a builder,” Just said.

And he’s done just that at South Carolina.

“I’m happy as any mom could be,” Lourdes said. “Speechless, but not all the way. I have to talk to him about my air ticket.”

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Martin spoke many times about the dream of leading this team to this moment, but he didn’t always believe that the dream of taking the Gamecocks to the Final Four was a realistic possibility.

“When we beat Duke, Frank said ‘Why not us?’” Figgers said, a motto that had become something of a rallying cry for the Gamecocks during the East Regional. “That’s the first time we really talked about [winning a title].”

The team and the coaching staff weren’t the only ones that never really gave this possibility much thought. College basketball at large — the fans, the media, opposing coaches — all had the same thought: “South Carolina in the Final Four? The same team that put up 86 points in four overtimes against Alabama? Lulz.”

They showed us.

Over and over again.

South Carolina’s star guard Sindarius Thornwell, who was named Most Outstanding Player in the East Region, mentioned in every press conference this weekend that no one paid attention to or respected the program prior to this run. Martin ranted earlier this year about the lack of local media coverage his team gets, particularly when they play on the road.

At this point in the season, most players get burned out of the media attention they get, answering the same questions over and over and over again.

I don’t blame them.

On Sunday evening, after spending 25 minutes up on the dais for a postgame press conference, Thornwell was finally en route back to the locker room to celebrate with his team when he was pulled aside by a television reporter that needed just a couple more minutes of his time.

Thornwell, decked out in a East Regional Champs shirt and hat with the remnants of a net dangling around his neck, didn’t mind.

“You gotta talk a lot,” Thornwell said, “when you win.”

Drake hires Furman’s Niko Medved to be new head coach

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Drake has hired Furman head coach Niko Medved to the same position, the school announced on Sunday.

The 43-year-old Medved has led the Paladins to back-to-back CIT appearances as he’s been the head coach there for four seasons. Also an assistant coach at Minnesota and Colorado State, Medved is a noted recruiter.

“I am ecstatic about the opportunity to be the next men’s basketball coach at Drake University,” Medved said in the release. “Drake University’s tremendous reputation partnered with its strong leadership and the thriving Des Moines community make this a special place.  I was born and raised in the Midwest and have so many strong roots in this part of the country.  My family and I can’t wait to get started.”

Medved was named the Southern Conference’s 2017 Coach of the Year for helping lead Furman to the regular-season title in the league.

The Bulldogs are coming off a last-place finish in the Missouri Valley Conference as former head coach Ray Giacoletti was relieved of his duties in January. Drake only has one NCAA Tournament appearance since 1971 (coming in 2008) as the Bulldogs have struggled to remain relevant in a tough league.

VIDEO: North Carolina and Roy Williams dance in locker room after advancing to Final Four

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Watching Roy Williams dance never gets old.

The North Carolina head coach is taking his team back to the Final Four next weekend after the Tar Heels outlasted Kentucky in a thrilling South Regional final.

North Carolina is making its 20th appearance in the Final Four as they are going for the second consecutive season.