The Morning Mix

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Let’s see. Louisville lost to Villanova. North Carolina State lost to Wake Forest. Missouri almost lost to South Carolina. Kentucky lost to Alabama. Oh wait, that last one isn’t all that surprising.

Oh, and as usual, Kansas won.

Yeah, it was that kinda night in college hoops.
Lets hit the links.

Wednesday’s Top Games:
6:00 p.m. – Lehigh @ Bucknell
7:00 p.m. – No. 1 Duke @ No. 25 Miami
7:00 p.m. – Penn State @ No. 7 Indiana
7:00 p.m. – No. 9 Butler @ La Salle
7:00 p.m. – George Mason @ Towson
7:30 p.m. – Xavier @ Charlotte
8:00 p.m. – No. 8 Florida @ Georgia
8:00 p.m. – Colorado State @ No. 15 New Mexico
8:00 p.m. – Fresno State @ Boise State
8:05 p.m. – No. 17 Creighton @ Drake
8:05 p.m. – No. 20 Wichita State @ Missouri State
8:05 p.m. – Green Bay @ Valparaiso
9:00 p.m. – No. 12 Minnesota @ Northwestern
9:00 p.m. – Georgia Tech @ North Carolina
9:30 p.m. – Washington State @ No. 16 Oregon
10:00 p.m. – San Diego State @ Nevada
11:00 p.m. – Denver @ New Mexico State
11:30 p.m. – Washington @ Oregon State
 
 
Read of the Day:
If it’s Wednesday, you can expect the RotD to be Andy Glockner’s “Bubble Watch”. I still judge Glockner because he was a place kicker and supports Fulham FC, but as far as his “Bubble Watch” goes, it’s the best in town. (Sports Illustrated)

Read of the Day:
Eric Prisbell hits a home run with his story on the difficult past of Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart. Read this. (USA Today)
 
 
Top Stories:
CJ Leslie, NC State’s defense cost No. 18 NC State in upset by Wake Forest: In the Wolfpack’s 86-84 loss to Wake Forest, the most talented player on the NC State roster took just nine shots from the floor. He finished with just 13 points and five boards. This was the third straight court-storming NC State has been a part of. They have been on the wrong end of the most recent two.

Alex Oriakhi and Jabari Brown help No. 22 Missouri escape upset vs. South Carolina: Missouri escaped what would have been a bad loss at home against South Carolina Tuesday, pulling away in the final minute to win, 71-65. Brown finished with 17 points on 5-of-16 shooting and sank a 3-pointer with 17 seconds remaining to put the game on ice.

No. 3 Kansas wins at No. 11 Kansas State, their 16th straight victory: The Jayhawks went on the road to a raucous Bramlage Coliseum and earned a hard-fought 59-55 win over their in-state rivals. But it’s tough to have a game be considered a rivalry when one team is clearly little brother. Kansas has now won 45 of their last 48 games against the Wildcats, including 23 of their last 25 at “The Octagon of Doom”.

No. 5 Louisville struggles with fundamentals in upset loss to JayVaughn Pinkston, Villanova: Five players scored in double figures for Villanova as the unranked Wildcats upset No. 5 Louisville, 73-64. The Cardinals struggled in all facets of the game, including a season high 17 turnovers.

Jabari Parker talks about teen killed after Simeon game: Tyrone Lawson, a 17-year-old was shot and killed after Simeon defeated Madison Park 53-51 at Chicago State last week, though a brawl took place during post game handshakes. The Duke-bound phenom spoke about the ordeal and what it’s been like since that game.

Report: DC high schooler, top 150 recruit Junior Etou lied about his age: Junior Etou is a 6-foot-7 forward that plays at Bishop O’Connell in Arlington, VA, after transferring into the program from Arlington Country Day school in Jacksonville, FL. He’s ranked as the 142nd overall player, according to Rivals. But according to Dave McKenna, the native of Congo is actually 20 years old, meaning he’s too old to be playing high school basketball.

Oklahoma freshman James Fraschilla battles Gonzaga’s Rem Bakamus for best air guitar celebration: The son of ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla broke out his best air guitar during the Sooners’ Monday night win over Texas. But is it better than the “3tar” displayed by Gonzaga’s Rem Bakamus?
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping
– Former Providence forward James Still was sentenced to 4 years in prison yesterday for felonious assault. (Providence Journal)

– Texas forward Jonathan Holmes suffered a broken right hand in the Longhorns’ 73-67 loss to Oklahoma on Monday. No timetable has been set for his return. (Dallas Morning News)

– Shabazz Napier continues to rehab his injured shoulder and should be good to go for UConn’s game on Sunday against Rutgers. (New Haven Register)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– More teams are going to wear ugly Nike uniforms similar to what Gonzaga wore on Saturday against Butler. (The Dagger)

– One way to measure the growth of a program is by their method of travel. No longer are the Butler Bulldogs forced to travel by bus. Nowadays the Bulldogs fly in style. (Indianapolis Star)

– Creighton and Wichita State are clearly the favorites in the Missouri Valley Conference, but we should not count out the Sycamores of Indiana State. (Omaha World-Herald)

– It’s no secret that the San Diego State Aztecs are struggling. They scored nine first half points in their game on Saturday against Wyoming. But do we know why they are struggling? It might have to do with the back injury to Xavier Thames. (San Diego Union Tribune)

– “State has no one to blame but itself for stunning loss at Wake.” Yup. Agreed. And ditto. (Wilmington Star News)

– if UConn wants to avoid getting stuck with the pack in the Big East, they will need to avoid any bad losses as they enter the easiest phase of their schedule. (The UConn Blog)

– Last night was not a good one for college basketball fans in the Commonwealth. (College Hoops Digest)

– Some solid NBA draft discussion here from the Big Lead. Where does Michael Carter-Williams go? (The Big Lead)

The NCAA has reached a sponsorship deal with Buffalo Wild Wings to be the ‘official hangout’ of the March Madness men’s basketball tournament. Unless they do couch-side delivery, I want no part in Buffalo Wild Wings come March. (CBS Sports)
 
 
Picture of the Day:
Remember this guy? Of course you do. Well he came prepared for Nerlens Noel last night in Tuscaloosa. (Kentucky Sports Radio)

source:
 
 
Video of the Day:
Cornell basketball gets into the Ivy League spirit by singing some Neo. Of course they do. (The Big Lead)


 
 
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College Basketball Power Rankings: Duke to No. 1, Xavier and Minnesota climb

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At this point, there really is no choice but to put Duke at No. 1 in the Power Rankings this week.

That’s what happens when you’re a consensus top three team in the preseason and, five days into the regular season, you pick off another top three team. Hell, we had Michigan State ranked No. 1 in the NBC Sports Power Rankings last week.

At this point, Michigan State is still No. 2 for me. Their one loss this season came on a night where Grayson Allen went crazy and they gave up 25 offensive rebounds and committed 18 turnovers, and they still were in the game down the stretch. Beyond that, the only teams in the top 25 that have lost so far this season are Kentucky, Northwestern and Providence. The Wildcats fell to Kansas while playing their best game of the season, while Northwestern and Providence both dropped out of the top 25.

But the truth is that, as of today, we still don’t really know anything about these teams. Arizona, Villanova and Wichita State didn’t have to play anywhere near their best basketball to start the season 3-0. The same can be said for anyone that is currently sitting at or near the top of these rankings.

This week is when we start to really find out about them. Arizona is playing in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina and Florida are in the PK80. Wichita State is out in Maui. There are events in New York City all week. UCLA, Creighton, Baylor and Wisconsin are in Kansas City. There are games in Las Vegas and Orlando and California

And while my opinion on the glut of exempt events still stands, I do think that we learn more about, say, Wichita State seeing them play potentially overmatched opponents in Maui over the course of three straight days than we do seeing them beat the brakes off of mid-major competition in Koch Arena.

Anyway, here is the NBC Sports Top 25 in its entirety:

1. Duke, 4-0 (Last Week: No. 2)
2. Michigan State, 3-1 (1)
3. Arizona, 3-0 (3)
4. Kansas, 3-0 (4)
5. Villanova, 3-0 (5)
6. Wichita State, 2-0 (6)
7. Florida, 3-0 (7)
8. Cincinnati, 3-0 (8)
9. USC, 4-0 (9)
10. Miami, 3-0 (10)
11. Xavier, 3-0 (14)
12. Texas A&M, 2-0 (11)
13. Minnesota, 4-0 (19)
14. Louisville, 2-0 (12)
15. Notre Dame, 3-0 (13)
16. Seton Hall, 4-0 (15)
17. Kentucky, 3-1 (16)
18. North Carolina, 2-0 (17)
19. Saint Mary’s, 4-0 (21)
20. Alabama, 3-0 (22)
21. Purdue, 4-0 (24)
22. Gonzaga, 3-0 (23)
23. UCLA, 3-0 (18)
24. Texas, 3-0 (NR)
25. Texas Tech, 4-0 (NR)

NEW ADDITIONS: 24. Texas, 25. Texas Tech
DROPPED OUT: 20. Northwestern, No. 25 Providence

Texas Tech mollywhops No. 21 Northwestern, stakes claim to second-best in Big 12

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No. 21 Northwestern was, technically, never even tied with Texas Tech on Sunday evening.

The Wildcats were given a technical foul at the start of the game because their players were not in the scorebook, which was more than adequate foreshadowing for what was to come. Keenan Evans made a free throw before the ball was tipped, the Red Raiders would then score the next eight points and jump out to a 23-5 lead that Chris Collins’ club never recovered.

Northwestern never was within single-digits again, let alone close enough to make this a game. They lost 85-49, the worst loss for the Northwestern program in nearly a decade, since Nov. 27th, 2007.

I could recite the stats to you, if you’d like. Northwestern shot 26.7 percent from the floor. They were 6-for-23 from three. Texas Tech forced 17 turnovers, and Northwestern had 12 field goals to 11 steals for the Red Raiders.

It was as bad of a beatdown as you’ll see between two teams in the NCAA tournament discussion.

It’s easy to read into this loss, and the loss that Northwestern suffered at home against Creighton on Wednesday, and think that the Wildcats are not yet cut out for being the hunted, and that might be fair. As cliché as it is, there is something to be said for the way an opponent plays when you are the quality win. At some point, Northwestern is going to have to prove they can handle that.

But Sunday was not about Northwestern.

Sunday was about Texas Tech.

It was about Chris Beard putting the Big 12 on notice.

This team is tough and they are old. They have size and athleticism. They have a star in lead guard Keenan Evans and a roster that is more than willing to put in the work on the defensive end of the floor. Most importantly, however, is that Beard has built a team full of guys that all have something to prove. There aren’t any four or five-star freshmen on his roster. The elite recruits that he does have are all transfers, cast-offs from other programs.

That’s just how Beard like it.

Now I don’t think the Red Raiders are going to be winning the Big 12 and ending Kansas’ streak of 14 straight Big 12 titles. But I do think that they’ll be right there in the mix for the title of second-best in the Big 12, and I’m not sure I would have felt that way before the start of the season.

Miles Bridges hurt as No. 2 Michigan State cruises past Stony Brook

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Miles Bridges stayed in school to chase a national championship instead of cashing in on his potential in the NBA.

Three games into his sophomore season, he is hurt.

Bridges scored 20 points before limping off the court after injuring his left ankle, casting a pall over No. 2 Michigan State as it beat Stony Brook 93-71 on Sunday night.

“Thank God it’s not a high-ankle sprain,” coach Tom Izzo said. “It’s just a sprain where he rolled it. He’ll be day to day.”

The Spartans (2-1) bounced back from their loss to top-ranked Duke with a win that will be remembered as being costly if Bridges’ injury lingers.

Bridges was fouled with 8:32 left in the game as he went into the lane with the ball and awkwardly planted his left foot, rolling his ankle. After trying to stay in the game to shoot free throws, the preseason All-America player went back to the bench briefly before walking toward the locker room.

“By Tuesday morning, I’ll know more,” Izzo said. “Miles is tough enough to play through it but we’re not going to take any chances.”

Nick Ward scored a season-high 22 points, Joshua Langford had a career-high 19 points and Cassius Winston scored a season-high 13 points and had six assists for the Spartans.

The Seawolves (0-4) led for much of the first half, holding Bridges to two points as they led 22-15 midway through the first half.

Stony Brook’s Elijah Olaniyi scored 16, Akwasi Yeboah had 15 points, UC Iroegbu scored 12 and Tyrell Sturdivant added 10 points.

“The biggest positive was coming out and competing for 40 minutes,” coach Jeff Boals said. “We kept on fighting. I think we led 12 1/2 minutes in the first half. Our biggest thing was coming out and getting off to a good start, just to build some confidence.”

BIG PICTURE

Stony Brook: The America East Conference team made 13 of 26 3-pointers against one of the top teams in the country. That kind of shooting can help the Seawolves pull off an upset, something they had a chance to do in setbacks against Maryland and Connecticut.

“We’re 0-4 right now and it doesn’t look good on wins and losses, but we’ve competed in every game we’ve played,” Boals said.

Michigan State: Bridges’ health is a key factor for the team, and for himself. Izzo isn’t sure how long Bridges will be out.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Spartans will slip in The Associated Press poll after losing to the top-ranked Blue Devils and perhaps because Bridges is injured.

HUMBLED AT HOME

Michigan State standout freshman Jaren Jackson fouled out in 14 scoreless minutes. He missed his only shot, a 3-pointer, and had a team-high three turnovers.

“This might be the only time in that kid’s career he doesn’t score,” Boals said. “He is an unbelievable talent.”

The 6-foot-11 Jackson, rated as one of the top prospects for the 2018 NBA draft, was averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds.

“Jaren’s a great player, but he is a young player,” Langford said. “He’s way ahead of where I was.”

UP NEXT

Stony Brook: In its home opener on Wednesday night, hosts Brown.

Michigan State: Plays DePaul on Thursday night in Oregon at the Phil Knight Invitational. The Spartans will play the Ducks or Connecticut in the semifinals on Friday and could face No. 9 North Carolina on Sunday.

“It’s not the biggest stage like Duke was, but it’s time to get back to what we lost against Duke,” Langford said.

Donald Trump’s response to LaVar Ball: ‘I should’ve left them in jail!’

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I told you this was going to happen.

After LaVar Ball downplayed Donald Trump’s role in bringing home his son, LiAngelo, and the three other UCLA players that were arrested for shoplifting in China last week, Trump responded by taking to twitter and saying that he should have left American citizens in prison in a non-democratic, authoritarian country because they will not personally acknowledge his efforts enough:

Sigh.

Now we await LaVar’s response.

Five-star 2018 recruit Anfernee Simons could test NBA Draft process

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Five-star Class of 2018 guard Anfernee Simons is interested in potentially entering the 2018 NBA Draft.

According to a report from Jonathan Givony of ESPN, the former Louisville commit will likely be eligible to jump to the NBA straight out of high school since he graduated high school last year while turning 19 next June. The 6-foot-4 Simons, considered the No. 16 overall prospect in the Rivals’ Class of 2018 national rankings, is playing a post-grad season at IMG Academy for 2017-18 after reclassifying as a sophomore.

If Simons opts to go pro than college basketball loses a potential star as he’s been shooting up the national rankings over the past year. Simons was committed to the Cardinals since the beginning of his junior year but he opened things up once former head coach Rick Pitino lost his job in a fallout from the FBI investigation on college basketball.

Simons started his season at the National Prep Showcase this weekend as six NBA teams sent people to watch him play, according to Givony’s report.

It’ll be fascinating to see what happens in this situation as Simons hasn’t done much with the recruiting process over the last several months. Now that NBA teams are already watching him play, Simons could follow in Thon Maker’s footsteps and turn pro right away.