Nerlens Noel sign

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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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.