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)

Big Ten approves 20-game conference schedule for men’s basketball

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The Big Ten approved changes to the future of conference basketball scheduling on Thursday morning as men’s basketball will now feature 20 conference games per season.

Beginning with the 2018-19 season, the Big Ten will now have 20 league games instead of 18 in men’s basketball as the format means that more in-state rivalries will be played twice a season.

According to a release from the conference, the new format for men’s basketball will feature teams playing seven opponents twice and six teams once (three home, three away) during each conference season. The Big Ten’s three in-state rivalries (Illinois/Northwestern, Indiana/Purdue and Michigan/Michigan State) will all be guaranteed two matchups every year while the new 20-game format also allows for a “regional component” that should increase the frequency of games among teams in similar areas.

After the Big Ten scheduled all three of their in-state rivalries to play only one time each during the 2017-18 season, this is probably the right move in terms of conference scheduling. While playing more than half of your season games against conference opponents isn’t entirely ideal, with a 14-team league, the Big Ten had to make a tough decision and they chose to protect their internal rivalries. I’m sure the fanbases of those programs would prefer a home-and-home with a heated rival as opposed to another non-conference clash that could be underwhelming.

The Big Ten also made changes to the women’s basketball schedule on Thursday as that conference schedule will be bumped up to 18 games per season.

College Hoops Contender Series: Duke is the most talented team in the country … sound familiar?

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Who are the favorites to win a national title? Who can legitimately be called a contender? Who has the pieces to make a run to the Final Four? We’ll break that all down for you over the next three weeks in our Contender Series.

Last week, we gave you our Final Four sleepers and talked about six different Final Four contenders – Louisville, West Virginia, Villanova, Wichita State, USC and Miami – that are just flawed enough that we can’t call them contenders.

There is a pretty clear-cut delineation between the four or five best teams, the clear national title challengers, and the rest of the country this season.

This week, we will be taking a deeper dive into five of those teams.

What makes them good enough to win a national title?

But why won’t they win a national title?

After deep dives into Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona and Michigan State, we finish it up with the Duke Blue Devils.

MOREThe Enigma of Miles Bridges | NBC Sports Preseason All-American Team

Grayson Allen (Chet Strange/Getty Images)

WHY THEY WILL WIN

Duke is the most talented team in college basketball.

Forget, for a second, how old these kids are, the way that the roster fits together or whether or not there is enough shooting on this team to keep the floor spaced.

When talking purely about talent, Duke is step above anyone else in the sport.

It starts with Marvin Bagley III, who may just end up being the National Player of the Year and the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

And then there is Grayson Allen. Love him or hate him, these three things are facts:

  1. Allen was a second-team all-american as a sophomore.
  2. Prior to his junior season, a year that Allen spent battling foot and ankle injuries, he was picked by the majority of the outlets that do these things as the Preseason National Player of the Year.
  3. He’s healthy now.

There’s more.

Trevon Duval, a projected lottery pick, is the top-ranked point guard in the Class of 2017. Wendell Carter, who is also projected to go in the lottery, was the top power forward in the class until Bagley joined the class. Gary Trent Jr., another potential first round pick, was the second-best shooting guard in the class. Off the bench, there is former five-star recruit Marques Bolden along with a trio of former four-star prospects.

Mike Krzyzewski has won national titles with less.

And if games were played on paper, he would probably win a national title this season.

But, as we learned last season with this very same Duke team, the games are not played on paper.

Big Ten Preview | ACC Preview | Atlantic 10 PreviewMountain West Preview

Marvin Bagley III (Reagan Lunn/Duke Athletics)

WHY THEY WON’T WIN

The biggest question mark, the one that has made it so difficult for so many teams in the one-and-done era to win with a roster based entirely on freshmen, is just how much youth is on this roster.

Four of the five starters are going to be freshmen. The four bench players that seemed destined to fill out the rotation are either freshmen or sophomores that barely saw any action as freshmen. The only true veteran on the roster is Grayson Allen, and if we’ve learned anything over the course of his collegiate career, it’s that there are valid reasons to wonder whether he is the kind of leader that the Blue Devils will need.

And, as always, there are going to be questions about role allocation, particularly on a roster with this much talent on it. Marques Bolden wasn’t thrilled about coming off the bench last season, contemplated a transfer this offseason and then returned to Duke thinking that he would be the starting center for the Blue Devils this year. Wendell Carter committed to Duke under the pretense that he would be slotted in as the four in Duke’s lineup, allowing him to play away from the basket more than on the block.

Then Marvin Bagley III decided he would be going to Duke.

Suddenly, those plans have changed.

Carter and Bolden are going to be competing for the right to start at center for the Blue Devils, because Bagley will be starting at the four. He is a perfect fit there. Not only can he step out and play on the perimeter, allowing Duke to continue using the four-around-one offense that has been so effective in each of the last four years, but he’ll make them infinitely better defensively than they were with Jayson Tatum, Brandon Ingram or Jabari Parker in that role.

What that means is that either Bolden or Carter is going to be playing a different role than they expected this season; hell, they both might end up there.

Final Four Sleepers | Louisville | Villanova | West Virginia | USC | Wichita State | Miami
Wendell Carter (Reagan Lunn/Duke Athletics)

And that’s before you consider the shots that Bagley is going to get.

There were already going to be players sacrificing shots somewhere on this roster, whether it was Grayson Allen, Gary Trent or Trevon Duval, and I fully expect Bagley to now end up as Duke’s leading scorer.

Someone is going to have to make a sacrifice, and it’s not always easy to get guys to think that is a good idea.

But the biggest question mark facing the Blue Devils this season is the same question mark they’ve dealt with over the course of the last two years: Does Duke have the point guard they need on their roster?

On the one hand, the answer is pretty obvious. Duval is a potential lottery pick. He’s the top point guard in the Class of 2017 and one of the top five prospects in a class that has at least three guys every NBA team is going to be tanking to try and draft. He’s 6-foot-3, he’s incredibly athletic and he’s a talent when he can get going downhill, attacking the rim.

On paper, that’s a tremendous addition.

The problem is that Duval is a score-first slasher with an unreliable jumper on a team that is going to have some issues spacing the floor and is crying out for a facilitator at the point. This team needs Tyus Jones, and what they added is Derrick Rose. That could end up being a good thing — Rose was the No. 1 pick after he averaged 14.9 points, 4.7 assists and 4.5 boards while shooting 34 percent from three for a Memphis team that would have won the national title if he could make free throws. But that Rose’s team. Chris Douglas-Roberts may have been the leading scorer and Joey Dorsey may have been the heart and soul of the group, but what they did was built around what Rose was able to do with the ball in his hands.

Duval may play like Rose, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be as good as Rose.

And if he doesn’t have an offense suited to his skill set, it’s fair to wonder just how valuable he will be in that position.

What Duke needs from their point guard is a player that can get them into an offense, distribute the ball and make a play when the shot clock is winding down. Frank Jackson wasn’t that guy. Derryck Thornton wasn’t that guy.

Is Duval?


Trevon Duval (Reagan Lunn/Duke Athletics)

PREDICTION

Duke is going to be very good, just like they were last season.

I know people don’t want to hear that, but the fact of the matter is that Duke finished last year as the ACC tournament champion, earning a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament with a valid argument to be the fourth No. 1 seed despite having a roller coaster of a season that involved four of their stars and their Hall of Fame head coach miss significant time with injuries.

At the very least, this season will be a smoother ride because I’m not sure it’s possible for a season to be more difficult than the one Duke had in 2016-17.

So what will that turn into?

I think it’s as simple as this: If Trevon Duval turns into a top 15 point guard in the sport, then I think the Blue Devils win the ACC regular season title and enter the NCAA tournament as one of, if not the favorite to win the whole thing. They’re better defensively than they’ve been in some time, and they should be able to overwhelm teams with their talent.

But if Duval struggles, if Duke spends the season trying to figure out an answer to their point guard situation, then I would not be surprised to see a repeat of last season — questionable losses sprinkled in amongst impressive wins, inconsistency night-to-night and a number of people willing to overlook it and pick Duke to win the national title on Selection Sunday anyway.

Arizona State lands four-star guard Luguentz Dort

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Arizona State landed a huge commitment on Wednesday night as four-star guard Lugentz Dort pledged to the Sun Devils.

The second commitment for Arizona State in the Class of 2018 in less than a week, the 6-foot-3 Dort is a big-time athlete on the perimeter as he selected the Sun Devils over his other finalists of Baylor and Oregon. Dort took official visits to all three schools during the process.

One of the better shooting guards in the 2018 class, Dort is a physically-imposing guard who should be ready to immediately contribute in the Pac-12.

Dort joins Finnish shooting guard Elias Valtonen in the Arizona State Class of 2018 recruiting haul.

Oregon sued by former recruit who tore ACL during official visit

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The University of Oregon and members of the men’s basketball staff, including head coach Dana Altman, are being sued by a former recruit who tore his ACL during an official visit to campus.

Crisshawn Clark, a junior guard at Portland, suffered his injury during an official visit to the Ducks which began on Oct. 16, 2015. At the time, Clark was a junior college recruit at Canada College and he suffered the injury as Oregon assistant coach Mike Mennenga ran him through a basketball workout during the visit. Clark was treated by an Oregon trainer, and after the injury was believed to be serious, an MRI confirmed a torn ACL.

Clark eventually committed to Pitt and sat out last season rehabbing his knee before ending up at Portland.

Even though Clark had a bad knee injury that required surgery, he is not seeking money for medical expenses. Clark’s lawsuit said that his medical expenses were paid for by Oregon. But Clark is suing for compensation for pain and suffering along with damages for the loss of future income. Clark estimates it will be over $100,000. And he might have a case.

That’s because the lawsuit alleges that Oregon violated an NCAA rule that prohibits on-campus evaluations of prospective student-athletes who are playing at a junior college. Oregon self-reported this violation in Oct. 2015, according to a report from Jack Pitcher of the Daily Emerald, citing athletic department spokesman Jimmy Stanton. The NCAA classified this as a level 3 violation.

If Clark was put through an illegal workout by Oregon — who admitted to violating a rule by self-reporting — then he might have a case. Along with Altman and Mennenga, Oregon assistant coaches Kevin Mckenna and Tony Stubblefield are also named in the lawsuit along with Oregon director of basketball operations Josh Jamieson.

Clark is sitting out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer rules as he is hoping for two years of eligibility after. Due to his torn ACL, Clark and Portland can apply for an extra year of eligibility for the 2019-20 season.

(H/t: Jack Pitcher, Daily Emerald)

Rick Pitino received subpoena in FBI’s college basketball probe

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Former Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has received a subpoena in the FBI’s college basketball bribery scandal, his lawyer told the Louisville Courier-Journal on Wednesday.

Pitino’s lawyer, Steve Pence, confirmed the subpoena as Pitino joins Miami head coach Jim Larranaga as coaches to receive a subpoena this week in the FBI’s probe. Those two head coaches join Auburn, Arizona, Oklahoma State and USC as the six known subpoenas, so far, in the case.

“We’ve already acknowledged that the coach has a subpoena and he’s gathering documents for the … U.S. attorney,” Pence said of Pitino to the Courier-Journal.

While it was known that Pitino had voluntarily spoken with the FBI thanks to an affidavit submitted to the University of Louisville Athletic Association in a packet from Pitino’s lawyers earlier this week, the subpoena was not mentioned, according to the Courier-Journal. The packet also included results of a lie detector test and copies of text messages.

The subpoena for Pitino doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but coupled with the report of Larranaga’s subpoena, it sounds like the FBI is taking the next steps in its case.