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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)

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.