The Morning Mix

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Marquette got rid of their bat problem.

Louisville got back on track.

Kansas won again.

Grambling State lost again.

That’s the hand we were dealt last night.

Let’s hit the links.

Tuesday’s Top games:
7:00 p.m. – Wisconsin @ No. 11 Ohio State
7:00 p.m. – No. 19 North Carolina State Virginia
7:00 p.m. – Stony Brook @ Albany
8:00 p.m. – Indiana State @ No. 15 Wichita State
9:00 p.m. – Kentucky @ No. 16 Ole Miss
9:00 p.m. – Nebraska @ No. 23 Minnesota
9:00 p.m. – North Carolina @ Boston College
10:00 p.m. – Nevada @ UNLV
 
 
Read of the Day:
Garry Parrish discusses Miami in his latest “Poll Attacks”. He applauded John Feinstein for ranking the ‘Canes at No. 5, blasts others who rank ‘Canes outside top-20. Sounds about right. Read it. (Eye on College Basketball)

Read of the Day:
Mike Lopresti of USA Today catches up with former-Butler star Ronald Nored, who is living the dream coaching high school hoops in Brownsburg, Indiana. Read it. (USA Today)
 
 
Top Stories:
The reign of terror ends for the Bradley Center Bat: The biggest story from the weekend was that a bat disrupted play during the Providence-Marquette game at the Bradley Center on Saturday. It really was a pretty hilarious sequence of events.Anyways, the bat was removed from the arena on Monday.

Marshall Henderson, the most entertaining villain in the country: The college hoops world hasn’t had a good “villain” character in a good long time. But Marshall Henderson of Ole Miss is becoming the guy everybody loves to hate. He’s arrogant, cocky, and colorful. But he’s also one of the game’s top players this season.

According to Rick Pitino, freshman Kevin Ware won’t be returning to the court anytime soon:Freshman guard Kevin Ware was suspended prior to the Cardinals’ Monday game against Pittsburgh. Following the win over the Panthers, Rick Pitino let it be known that Ware probably won’t be returning any time soon.

VIDEO: ECU’s Shamarr Bowden rains punches on UTEP player: ECU guard Shamarr Bowden has been suspended for one game following an incident during the Pirates’ loss o UTEP on Saturday. Bowden got tangled up with UTEP’s Konner Tucker,and during the scrum, threw punches that glanced off of Tucker’s head.

So how bad is Trevor Mbakwe’s wrist injury? The Minnesota center injured his wrist during the Gophers’ loss to Wisconsin on Saturday. Mbakwe says he won’t miss any game time, but with the Gophers amid a four-game losing streak, they cannot afford to lose their big man for any amount of time.

How concerned should Indiana be about Cody Zeller’s struggles? Indiana has looked like the best team in the Big Ten, a top five team and a national title contender all while Cody Zeller has looked somewhat pedestrian. Victor Oladipo is playing like an All-American, but is that why Zeller hasn’t played like Player of the Year?

There’s no rush for a 12th Big East team, because it doesn’t improve much: On Big East Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco told reporters that the conference is looking to add a 12th team after the recent losses of Boise State and San Diego State. But at this point, will it really matter? No potential member will improve the depleted conference.
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping:
– It was announced on Monday that North Carolina and Kentucky are going to renew their non-conference series. The two played each other last season, and after the hiatus this season, they will resume next season in Chapel Hill. (Cats Illustrated)

– Syracuse freshman Dajaun Coleman will miss the next four weeks due to knee surgery. (Syracuse.com)

– The SEC/Big East Challenge will not continue. This was the final year of the contract and the two conferences decided against renewing the event. (AL.com)

– UConn football commit Jordan Fuchs wants to play for the Huskies’ basketball team too. (Connecticut Post)

– Wisconsin big-man Frank Kaminsky remains a game-time decision against Ohio State because of an eye injury. (Bucky’s 5th Quarter)

– Bradley center Will Egolf was arrested for drug possession earlier in January. On Monday a man from South Peoria was charged with selling Vicodin to Egolf. (Peoria Journal Star)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– We shouldn’t blame Rick Pitino for being hesitant about handing over the reigns of the offense to Russ Smith, but he just might have to. (Courier-Journal)

– A handful of coaches from NYC-metro schools helped ring the NASDAQ closing bell. (New Jersey Hoops Haven)

– Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution thinks college basketball stinks this season. Please tell me I’m not the only one who vehemently disagrees? (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

– Akron was hoping to wear a special uniform for “Social Media Night” against Ohio. They will still wear the jerseys, but the NCAA won’t allow them to put the @ZipsMBBTwitter handle on the uniforms. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Providence’s Bryce Cotton is just 27 points shy of eclipsing the 1,000-point plateau. This is a great-read on his voyage to 1,000. (Friar Basketball)

– Jeff Goodman saw five games in 31 hours. He has a lot of things he wants to get off of his chest. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Should Oklahoma State press more often? They certainly have the athletes to do so. Then why doesn’t Travis Ford employ the press more frequently? (Cowboys Ride for Free)

– In case you want more of Ole Miss’ Marshall Henderson (Which I know you do), Deadspin has the goods. (Deadspin)

– Virginia is likely to be planted firmly on the bubble come Selection Sunday. A win against North Carolina State tonight will definitely help. (Washington Post)

– What exactly does the absence of Dajuan Coleman do to the Syracuse frontcourt? (900 Irving)

– Anybody want to take a guess at how many NCAA bids the ACC gets? Could be three, could be five. A little consistency would help. (USA Today)

– A slide show of some of the better signs in attendance at Cameron Indoor Stadium for Maryland’s ACC farewell game against Duke. (The Blue Zone)

– Seriously, the staff at the Bradley Center had to call in pest control to remove a rogue bat of the rafters, and AC/DC was used in the process. (The Dagger)

– What’s the difference between this season’s Florida State team and the one that won the ACC last season? Defensive Toughness. (Rush The Court)
 
 
Video(s) of the Day:
This is from Russia, and is absolutely hilarious.


 
 
Dunk(s) of the Day:
Arizona’s Carrick Felix wants in on the NCAA Slam Dunk Contest.


 
 
Dunk(s) of the Day:
Illinois State’s Tyler Brown wants in as well. I’m leaning towards Brown after this video.


 
 
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Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

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Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.