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The Morning Mix

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Now that Inauguration Monday/MLK Day is in the books, we can start to look forward to anther solid week of college basketball. Everybody was bemoaning the loss of the Kansas/Missouri rivalry game when the Tigers jumped to the SEC. But the Jayhawks take on their other rivals, you know, the Sunflower State university, tonight in what should be a very entertaining Super Tuesday tilt. Methinks the Octagon of Doom is going to be just a bit chaotic.

Lets hit the links.

Tuesday’s Top Games:
6:30 p.m. – Iowa @ No. 16 Ohio State
7:00 p.m. – No. 13 Michigan State @ Wisconsin
7:00 p.m. – No. 18 North Carolina State @ Wake Forest
7:00 p.m. – South Carolina @ No. 22 Missouri
8:00 p.m. – No. 3 Kansas @ No. 11 Kansas State
8:00 p.m. – No. 5 Louisville @ Villanova
8:00 p.m. – Tulane @ Memphis
9:00 p.m. – Kentucky @ Alabama
 
 
Top Stories:
Report: Frank Haith, Miami to be served with notice of allegations from NCAA: According to Jeff Goodman, the current Missouri head coach will be served a notice of allegations for his involvement with Nevin Shapiro during his time as head coach at Miami.

Carter-Williams, Triche lead Syracuse to win over Cincy down the stretch: For the second straight game the backcourt duo of Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams led the way for the Orange. C.J. Fair tipped in a Jerami Grant miss with 20 seconds remaining to win the game for Syracuse.

Cory Jefferson, Isaiah Austin, finally play like Baylor’s twin towers: The Bears beat Oklahoma State 64-54 to improve to 12-5 on the season and Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson combined for 11 blocks in the win.

Good Georgetown shows up, beats Notre Dame on the road: is there a more puzzling team in college basketball than the Georgetown Hoyas? Lost to Pittsburgh by 29, went to overtime against Indiana, lost to 0-4 South Florida, and beat UCLA> On Monday night, the good Hoya team showed up in South Bend and had arguably their most impressive win of the season. And road wins at the Joyce Center are few and far between.

Utah State loses Preston Medlin, Kyisean Reed, WAC title hopes: Both Preston Medlin and Kyisean Reed left in the second half of Thursday’s game with NMSU, and they won’t be returning anytime soon. Medlin will be out for 6-8 weeks after breaking his wrist. Reed is done for the year with a torn ACL. The two had combined to average 28.4ppg.

Bob Huggins tees off on team’s effort, apologizes to West Virginia fans: Not many teams have been more disappointing this season than West Virginia. The always colorful head coach sounded off about his teams struggles, which included an apology to Mountaineer fans.

Catching up with Kyle Casey, Brandyn Curry during year away from Harvard: Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry are no longer members of the Harvard basketball program because of a widespread cheating scandal that rocked the university. But the two have not sat idly by. Curry is working in the insurance industry and Casey is giving back to his community.

NCAA rulebook underwent major changes on Saturday: The NCAA’s Board of Directors voted in changes “ to deregulate in several areas, including personnel, amateurism, recruiting, eligibility and awards, benefits and expenses, and create a set of commitments that will serve as the foundation for all future rules changes.”
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping
– Butler’s Rotnei Clarke will miss another game for the Bulldog as he continues to recover from a neck sprain. Fresh off their magical buzzer-beating win over Gonzaga on Saturday, the Bulldogs will travel to LaSalle on Wednesday. (WISHTV-8)

– Joel Berry, a top-5 guard in the class of 2014, committed to North Carolina yesterday. (Hoopniks)

– Hawaii guards Hauns Brereton and Brandon Jawato are battling nagging injuries and their status for the Warriors’ game at Cal-Poly on thursday is still undecided. (Warriors Insider)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– The ACC hasn’t exactly been known for its parity over the last few seasons. It has been a conference of haves-and-have nots. But with games defined by low-scoring outputs, the gap at the top is not very large. (Washington Post)

– With the home loss to Georgetown last night, Notre Dame has now lost three out of their last four, with the lone win being by three points against Rutgers. Needless to say, this is not what the Irish expected heading in to Big East play. (The Dagger)

– Bruce Weber is hoping to bring a different style of play into the Sunflower State showdown between the Kansas Jayhawks and his Kansas State Wildcats. (Wichita Eagle)

– Stephen F. Austin doesn’t get a lot of love, but the Lumberjacks have won 11 in a row, are undefeated in the Southland Conference and are climbing up the TPI rankings. (Fox Sports)

– Mike Anderson took the job at Arkansas to revitalize the Razorbacks program. It will take a while, and the fanbase has been hesitant to buy in for the long haul. (Sporting Life Arkansas)

– A.J. Walton has been at Baylor for four seasons, and has rarely, if ever, garnered any attention, despite being the winningest player in Baylor basketball history. But his performance last night against Oklahoma State should help raise his public profile. (Rush The Court)
 
 
Odds & Ends:
– Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend tried to reach out to Louisville guard Peyton Siva during last year’s NCAA Tournament. (Card Chronicle)

Picture of the Day:
Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson, the brother of First Lady Michelle Obama, dropped an epic photo-bomb on his Brother-in-Law yesterday. (@FangBites)

source:
 
 
Video of the Day:
This is the view from Butler students Saturday as their Bulldogs knocked off Gonzaga is the best finish of the season. This video is “MUST-WATCH”.


 
 
Dunk: of the Day:
Kiddos. Watch tape of Michael Carter-Williams if you want to know how to “go hard in the paint”.


 
 
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Hart returning for Villanova’s title defense

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 26:  Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats reacts in the second half against the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at KFC YUM! Center on March 26, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Villanova’s title defense just got a whole lot stouter.

Josh Hart, the leading scorer of the Wildcats’ national championship team, will return for his senior season, he announced on Twitter.

The decision for Hart to return is a major boost for Villanova in its quest to become the first back-to-back champions since Florida in 2006 and 2007. Hart, a 6-foot-5 guard,  averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the floor and 35.7 percent from 3-point range.

Most draft pundits had him pegged as a potential end-of-the-first-round pick in next month’s draft though he could have certainly slid into the second should he had decided to forego his senior season. Instead, Hart will be a potential first-team All-American exhausting his eligibility in Philadelphia.

The 2016-17 season is taking shape nicely, and Hart returning to Villanova only increases the strength of the field at the top. Title game hero Kris Jenkins as well as Jalen Brunson, Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges are also back for the defending champs while the super recruiting classes of Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State, Kansas’ returning core along with Josh Jackson and a solid group of teams including North Carolina, Arizona, Louisville and Wisconsin make for an intriguing upper-tier of teams that could very well make for a top-heavy season following last year’s free for all.

College basketball isn’t the NFL. Parity doesn’t equal strength and quality, and when the sport has a handful high-quality teams, it is at its best. It’s looking like that is a possibility for the 2016-17 campaign.

UConn duo returning to school

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Connecticut may have lost its 6-foot-7 wing scorer but it is keeping its defensive stalwart and leading scorer.

Center Amida Brimah and guard Rodney Purvis have withdrawn their names from NBA Draft consideration and will return to the Huskies for another year, the school announced Tuesday.

The decisions from Brimah, a 7-foot center, and Purvis, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, help soften the blow dealt by Daniel Hamilton’s decision to sign with an agent and leave school despite having some shaky draft stock. The Huskies may not open the season as a top-25 team, but they won’t be far behind and will be one of the AAC’s favorites, along with Cincinnati.

Brimah averaged 6.5 points per game last year, but blocked 2.7 shots per game. He missed 11 games last season with a broken finger. Purvis registered 12.8 points per game while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor.

Neither Brimah or Purvis were among those invited to this month’s NBA Draft combine nor were either expected to be drafted should they have kept their names in the draft.

Gonzaga’s Karnowski returning for fifth year

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The man in the middle is returning to Gonzaga.

Przemek Karnowski will return to the Bulldogs for his final year after a medical redshirt waiver was granted allowing him a fifth season in Spokane, the school announced Tuesday.

“I’m excited to be coming back,” Karnowski said in a statement. “After talking with the coaches, my parents and the team, I decided this was the best decision for me. I still have a ways to go with my rehab, but I’m staying positive about the upcoming season.”

The 7-foot-1 Karnowski, a Poland native, would have, at minimum, had professional opportunities overseas, but instead will return to play for the Bulldogs once more after a back injury limited him to five games last season. He averaged 10.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game as a junior in 2014-15.

With Karnowski returning along with  Josh Perkins and Silas Melson, Gonzaga coach Mark Few will be having newcomers Nigel Williams-Goss, Zach Norvell, Johnathan Williams II and Zach Collins joining an experienced and talented group.

Gonzaga (shocker) will be the West Coast Conference favorite once more, but the Bulldogs will also be fielding a team that should open the season in most everyone’s top-15.

Michigan St. at Duke highlights ACC/Big Ten Challenge

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A matchup in Durham of likely top-10 teams is the headliner of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, whose schedule was released Tuesday.

Michigan State, expected to open the season in the top-10, and Duke, the presumptive preseason No. 1, will meet Tuesday, Nov. 29, at Cameron Indoor Stadium in the most intriguing contest of the 14-game event.

The Spartans are losing Denzel Valentin, Bryn Forbes and Matt Costello, but the recruiting class of Miles Bridges, Cassius Winston, Joshua Langford and Nick Ward is one of coach Tom Izzo’s best and has Michigan State positioned as one of the Big Ten’s favorites.

Izzo’s recruiting class, though, pales in comparison to what coach Mike Krzyzewski is bringing to the Blue Devils, with Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, Marques Bolden, Frank Jackson and Javin DeLaurier in their 2016 class, which is why, when paired with the likes of Grayson Allen, Amile Jefferson and Luke Kennard, make Duke nearly everyone’s No. 1 heading into next season.

Krzyzewski is 9-1 all-time against Izzo’s Spartans.

Among the other highlights of the conference competition is Syracuse at Wisconsin (Nov. 29) Pittsburgh at Maryland (Nov. 29), Purdue at Louisville (Nov. 30) and Ohio State at Virginia (Nov. 30).  

Monday, Nov. 28

Minnesota at Florida State

Wake Forest at Northwestern

Tuesday, Nov. 29

Syracuse at Wisconsin

Michigan State at Duke

Pittsburgh at Maryland

Iowa at Notre Dame

Georgia Tech at Penn State

N.C. State at Illinois

 

Wednesday, Nov. 30

Purdue at Louisville

North Carolina at Indiana

Ohio State at Virginia

Virginia Tech at Michigan

Rutgers at Miami (Fla.)

Nebraska at Clemson

 

Hayes returning to Wisconsin for senior season

Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes celebrates with fans after an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, in Iowa City, Iowa. Wisconsin won 67-59. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Wisconsin has cemented itself as one of the teams to beat in the Big Ten for the 2016-17 season.

Forward Nigel Hayes, the Badgers’ leading scorer and assist man, is withdrawing his name from NBA Draft consideration to return to Madison for his senior season, he told the Wisconsin State Journal on Tuesday evening.

Hayes declared for the draft last month, but did not hire an agent, taking advantage of new NCAA legislation that allowed him to attend the NBA Draft combine and workout for pro franchises. He was largely regarded as a fringe first-round prospect by draft observers.

His decision is a major boon for Greg Gard, who may have the Big Ten’s best team in his first full season at the helm after taking over for Bo Ryan in the middle of last season. Wisconsin had a major turnaround under Gard, which ultimately resulted in him moving from interim to full time. The Badgers were 7-5 when Ryan stepped down, but recovered by going 13-4 to end the season and make the Sweet 16. 

Now, the entirety of that team, headlined by Hayes, is returning for another year and almost assuredly will be a top-15 (or better) preseason pick. Michigan State will welcome in a dynamite recruiting class that features five-stars Miles Bridges and Cassius Winston, and Indiana should remain strong, but the Badgers, with some players having the experience of  playing in two Final Fours, could very well have the best roster on paper with its blend of talent and experience. Whichever team is pegged as the favorite, the top of the Big Ten is shaping up to be a fantastic race.