The Morning Mix

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Just another busy day in the college hoops neighborhood. Ohio’s game against Eastern Michigan was postponed because of an armed gunman near campus. Plus a toddler ran on the court during Baylor’s home game against Oklahoma.

64 games were played last night. I love that number.

Let’s hit the links.

Wednesday’s Top games:
7:00 p.m. – Illinois @ Michigan State
7:00 p.m. – Drexel @ George Mason (NBC Sports Network)
7:00 p.m. – Iona @ Niagara
7:00 p.m. – Loyola (Md.) @ Canisius
8:00 p.m. – Morehead State @ Belmont
9:00 p.m. – No. 8 Arizona @ Washington
9:00 p.m. – No. 9 Butler @ Saint Louis
9:00 p.m. – Arkansas @ Alabama
10:00 p.m. – Oregon State @ California
11:00 p.m. – No. 7 Gonzaga @ Loyola Marymount
11:00 p.m. – Arizona State @ Washington State
 
 
Read of the Day:
I really like the positive attitude being displayed by Michigan State redshirt sophomore Russell Byrd. The sharpshooter has struggled to live up to recruiting hype, but he refuses to quit on the people who believe in him. (MLive.com)

Read of the Day:
Nine ways to fix the officiating in college hoops. This is the funniest thing you will read all day. The Tim Higgins video is worth the click. (Troy Nunes)

Read of the Day:
Luke Winn’s Power Rankings. You know what to do with these. (Sports Illustrated)
 
 
Top Stories:
Marshall Henderson’s jail time partially the result of positive cocaine test: It had been widely reported that Henderson had spent time in jail stemming from a 2010 forgery charge. But the reason he wasn’t jailed until last spring for a charge stemming from 2010 is that he violated his probation last January.

CBT Podcast: The role of Marshall Henderson in college hoops, and Coach of the Year debate: In episode-8 of the CBT Podcast, Troy Machir and Daniel Martin provide their opinions on the colorful and often volatile Ole Miss guard. Coach of the Year candidates are also discussed.

VIDEO: Michael Snaer’s fourth game-winner in the last two years: The Florida State guard continued to show his prowess in the clutch, hitting a game-winning three-pointer for the second time in the span of a week. This is also the fourth time he’s done it in two seasons. This time Maryland was the wrong end of things.

Oklahoma survives at Baylor, moves into tie for 2nd in the Big 12: Oklahoma nearly blew a 16 point lead, but Baylor missed two chances at a game-tying three in the final seconds. This was a big win for a team that is really putting it all together for Lon Kruger, who is on the verge of having OU back in the national discussion.

No. 10 Oregon is blown out by Stanford, who is finally playing up to par: The Ducks were playing without starting point guard Dominic Artis and it showed. The Cardinals outclassed them in every regard and finished with a 24-point margin of victory.

Missouri falls on the road to LSU in Laurence Bowers’ return: Laurence Bowers return from injury was supposed to provide the boost the Tigers needed to get out of their recent slide. But even Bowers’ 10 points and six rebounds weren’t enough to get Tigers back on track. Missouri has now lost three of six.

Notre Dame holds off red-hot Villanova at home: The Wildcats came up short on the road at Notre Dame following their back-to-back home wins over top-five teams Louisville and Syracuse. This was a game the Irish had to win, considering they entered the game having lost two of three at home.

Syracuse and St. John’s will continue series until 2015: Despite Syracuse’s move to the ACC next year and St. John’s exploring options with the Catholic 7, the two original Big East members will continue to play one another for the next few seasons. Jim Boeheim is famous for refusing to schedule non-conferences road games outside the state of New York, so this should not come as a major surprise.

VIDEO: Division II players goes between-the-legs in a game: Justin Glover of Winston Salem-State attempted not one but two between-the-legs dunks during a game last week against Elizabeth City State. He connected on one of them. It’s glorious.
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping:
– A day after suffering their first SEC loss of the season, Ole Miss got another dose of bad news. Sophomore big-man Aaron Jones is out for the remainder of the season due to an ACL injury and senior guard Nick Williams is out indefinitely with a foot injury. That is not good news considering the Rebels have a showdown with Florida this weekend at “The O-Dome”. (The Dagger)

Ohio’s game vs. Eastern Michigan last night was cancelled due to gunman on campus. The university took precautionary measures after a women was robbed at gunpoint near the campus. (Hustle Belt)

– North Carolina State guard Lorenzo Brown remains questionable to play against Miami this Saturday because of an ankle injury. (Sporting News)

– Charlotte’s leading scorer, Demario Mayfield, has been suspended indefinitely due to a violation of Athletic Department policy. The 49ers are 4-2 in the Atlantic-10 but have dropped two of their last four. (Charlotte Observer)

– Iona freshman guard A.J. English will miss the remainder of the season in order to have surgery to fix an injured wrist. (Big Apple Buckets)

North Carolina sophomore P.J. Hairston, doubtful for Saturday’s home game against Virginia Tech after suffering a concussion on Tuesday night. (Fayetteville Observer)

– Wake Forest will officially retire Chris Paul’s jersey on March 2. It will be the 11th uniform to be hoisted into the Demon Deacon rafters. (Star News Online)

– Former Indiana Hoosier Devan Dumes is now facing new criminal charges after allegedly firing off multiple rounds at an Indianapolis home earlier in the month. Things have not been going well as of late for Dumes. (RTV6-Indy)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– Butler’s Andrew Smith isn’t thought of as being one of the nation’s elite big-men. But the stats suggest other wise. (Indianapolis Star)

– Remember when Northern Illinois only scored four points in the first half against Eastern Michigan on Saturday? Well, the Huskies got 26 points from Abdel Nader, including a game-winner with 2.2sec left to beat Kent State last night. (WREX-13)

– Illinois is holding a contest for students to come up with a new mascot and symbol to replace Chief Illiniwek. Jeff Eisenberg briefs us on the best and worst submissions. Personally, I’d go with the owl. (The Dagger)

– Former-Wisconsin Badger Zach Bohannon serves as a guest blogger to explain why athletic trainers need more support. (Eye on College Basketball)

– John Gasaway tackles the polls vs. computers debate using Kansas State, Butler and Pittsburgh. (ESPN Insider)

– Tom Izzo’s teams have always had a reputation for having a deep and productive bench. This season’s team has been winning despite having a less than ideal bench composite, which is kinda surprising. (The Only Colors)

– Northern Iowa head coach Ben Jacobson believes the Missouri Valley Conference deserves three bids to the NCAA tournament this season. (Courier Press)

– A great-read on Wichita State’s Carl Hall, who has battled through heart conditions to make the most out of his short NCAA career. (Omaha World-Herald)

– Nerlens Noel vs. Anthony Davis debate continues. It’s a close call. (Run The Floor)

– Former-coach Bruce Pearl weighs in on the “down year” debate, believes the veterans make the game great. (ESPN)

– Jay Bilas and Chad Ford debate about the best player on the Indiana Hoosiers, Tyler Zeller or Victor Oladipo. (ESPN Insider)

– Matt Norlander digs up a great stat-sheet stuffing record that Ohio’s D.J. Cooper is about to set. (Eye On College Basketball)

– Some quality inside-the-numbers trends regarding the top distributors in the NEC. (Big Apple Buckets)

– Brady Heslip’s three-point attempt for Baylor at the buzzer glanced off the rim, and in reaction, Bears head coach Scott Drew did a back flop. (Run the Floor)

– An awesome time-lapse video of “The Tad Pad” at Ole Miss for the entire Rebels game against UK. (Kentucky Sports Radio)
 
 
Video(s) of the Day:
A toddler ran on to the court during the Baylor-Oklahoma game. it’s all cute until Pierre Jackson plows into him uncontrollably on his way to the basket. (The Big Lead)


 
 
Dunk(s) of the Day:
Nevada’s Deonte Burton gets up in a hurry against UNLV. Not too many people talk about Burton, but he’s an unheralded human highlight reel.


 
 
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Lonzo Ball says “I’m better than” Markelle Fultz

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Usually, it’s LaVar Ball that makes news for what he says.

His eldest son is now getting in on the business of generating headlines with something other than his play.

The UCLA star, who said he’ll enter the draft after just one season with the Bruins, claimed he’s the better prospect than Washington freshman Markelle Fultz, who many have pegged as the No. 1 pick in June’s draft.

“Markelle’s a great player,” Ball said, according to ESPN, “but I feel I’m better than him,” “I think I can lead a team better than him. Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him.”

Not exactly inflammatory stuff – like saying you could have beaten Michael Jordan, that you want a $1 billion apparel deal or a number of things his father has said – bu Ball is certainly projecting confidence. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. There’s quite a bit of money – and pride – at stake with the draft, and Ball put up a season worthy of comparison to Fultz, who had great numbers but played for an abysmal Washington team. Ball, on the other had, had strong numbers while leading UCLA to the Sweet 16.

Both are going to go at the top of a draft that’s stocked full of promising point guards. Which player goes before the other remains to be seen, but it’s likely public pronouncements aren’t going to affect the draft order.

 

UMass hires McCall away from Chattanooga

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UMass has found, once more, the man to take over its basketball program.

The Minutemen have reached an agreement with Chattanooga coach Matt McCall, the school announce Wednesday

“The tradition and resources that are in place not only make this one of the best basketball jobs in the Atlantic 10 Conference,” McCall said in a statement released by the school, “but one of the best jobs in the country. We couldn’t be more excited about becoming part of the UMass family and look forward to building upon the rich tradition that has been established here in the past.”

In McCall’s two years at Chattanooga, the Mocs to the NCAA tournament in 2016 and a 19-12 record this year that featured five-straight losses to end the season.

The move will take McCall out of the southeast for the first time in his career as he previously served as at Florida and Florida Atlantic before getting his first head coaching job at Chattanooga.

McCall wasn’t the Minutemen’s first choice to replace Derek Kellogg after three-straight lackluster seasons. Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey had agreed to take the job before a last-minute about-face that saw him return to the Eagles program just before his introductory press conference was scheduled to begin.

“Matt is a rising star in college basketball coaching who has been a key piece of three successful programs in his career,” UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said in a statement. “He has earned a reputation as a relentless worker, a great teammate and colleague and a confident leader of young men.

“Matt has worked with some of the most respected coaches and administrators in the country, who loudly sing his praises. Coach McCall’s appointment begins an exciting new chapter for our tradition-rich men’s basketball program at UMass.”

Despite being the second choice, McCall’s reputation in the coaching industry makes him a strong hire, having worked under Mike Jarvis and Billy Donovan. He took over at Chattanooga for Will Wade, and brought the Mocs to a 29-6 record and a  12-seed in the NCAA tournament in 2016.

UMass went to just one NCAA tournament under Kellogg (in 2014) during his nine seasons leading the Minutemen.

VIDEO: Frank Martin’s sideline demeanor as a high school coach

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South Carolina coach Frank Martin has the reputation of being rather, shall we say, intense on the sidelines during games.

The coach has a stare that seemingly could bore a hole through his players when they do something that doesn’t reach his level of expectation. Martin’s demeanor, though, didn’t just come into form once he hit the college ranks.

He was plenty intense on high school sidelines as well.

Martin won three titles while at Miami Senior in the mid-1990s, coaching the likes of future pros Steve Blake and Udonis Haslem. Now having reached his first career Final Four, that sideline persona has put him on the precipice of winning yet another championship, this time at the collegiate level.

South Carolina fans raise money to send “Gamecock Jesus” to Final Four

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South Carolina fans are sending one of their most recognizable compatriots to represent them this weekend.

Gamecock Jesus is heading to the Final Four.

South Carolina super fan Carlton Thompson is following the Gamecocks to Glendale as his fellow fans have raised over $7,500 to send the man known as “Gamecock Jesus” to Arizona for the team’s Final Four meeting with Gonzaga on Saturday night.

Thompson’s long hair, beard and presence at South Carolina games, even in lean times, earned him his nickname and apparently a following fervent enough to foot the bill for quite the trip.

“I’ve always dreamed it would be like this,” Thompson said last week about fan support at Gamecock games to the Post and Courier. “For years and years, it was so sparse with the crowds at the games. But once they started winning, the crowds started coming.”

Thompson is a 63-year-old VA hospital nurse, and has been attending South Carolina games for nearly 50 years.

Maryland’s Melo Trimble declares for the NBA Draft

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Melo Trimble’s career as a Maryland Terrapin is coming to an end. The junior guard is declaring for the NBA Draft and will sign with an agent.

“I am confident and excited to pursue an opportunity to play in the NBA,” Trimble said in a release. “I am proud of what my teammates and I were able to accomplish these past three seasons at Maryland. I developed many great relationships and friendships and together we able to create some very special moments for Maryland basketball. I want to thank Coach Turgeon for all of his support. He always believed in me. He challenged me and really helped in the development of my overall game. I am a more complete basketball player because of Coach Turgeon and the coaching staff. To stay at home and attend the University of Maryland is the best decision that I ever made and it was truly special to play in front of my family, friends and our amazing fans. Maryland will always be home.”

There was no better winner in college basketball the last three years than Melo. He changed the trajectory of Mark Turgeon’s program, winning 79 games in three years and ending his career 30-8 in games decided by six points or less. As a junior, Trimble and the Terps earned a No. 6 seed to the NCAA tournament, but they lost in the first round to Xavier. It was the only time in Trimble’s career that he didn’t reach the Sweet 16.

“Melo Trimble is a winner,” Mark Turgeon said on twitter. “Humble, hard-working, dedicated. Words can’t express what he’s done for our program. Always #StayMelo!”