The Morning Mix

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Last night we witnessed the single most shocking upset of the entire season. TCU got their first Big-XII conference win in program history, knocking off No. 5 Kansas. This upset leap-frogs Cal-Poly/UCLA and is a top contender for “Upset of the Year” along with Old Dominion’s victory over Virginia early in the year.

Let’s hit the links.

Thursday’s Top games:
7:00 p.m. – No. 1 Indiana @ Illinois
7:00 p.m. – Clemson @ Virginia
7:00 p.m. – Jacksonville @ Mercer
8:00 p.m. – Belmont @ Murray State
8:00 p.m. – Arkansas State @ Middle Tennessee
8:30 p.m. – Oral Roberts @ Northwestern State
9:00 p.m. – North Carolina State No. 4 Duke
9:00 p.m. – No. 21 Missouri @ Texas A&M
9:00 p.m. – Washington @ UCLA
9:30 p.m. – Cal @ Arizona State
10:00 p.m. – Colorado @ No. 19 Oregon
11:00 p.m. – Pepperdine @ No. 6 Gonzaga
11:00 p.m. – Saint Mary’s @ Santa Clara
12:00 a.m. – Long Beach State @ Hawaii
 
 
Read of the Day:
Luke Winn’s Power Rankings feature a pictures of what looks to Bill Walton on a nature hike in the 1970’s. Read it. (Sports Illustrated)
 
 
Top Stories:
No. 5 Kansas loses to TCU, has their fatal flaw exposed: All of the offensive issues we’ve talked about when discussing Kansas finally came to a head last night. It is difficult to have faith in a team that struggles to score high percentage shots on a consistent basis.

Toledo’s Nathan Boothe downs Miami (OH) with buzzer-beating three (VIDEO): Freshman center Nathan Boothe is an unlikely candidate to take the game-winning shot for Toledo. But as fate would have it, the ball landed in the hands of the 6-foot-9 center, and he sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to propel the Rockets over the Redhawks last night.

No. 22 Oklahoma State wins another thriller, this time in OT vs. Baylor: Michael Cobbins blocked an A.J. Walton shot in the paint, and Markel Brown raced coast-to-coast, scoring on a driving lay up in overtime to propel the Cowboys to another dramatic victory. This team isn’t always consistent, but they’ve proven that they can come up big in crunch time.

Indiana State blows out No. 16 Creighton, tied for 2nd in Missouri Valley: This is exactly why the Missouri Valley Conference is one of the most entertaining leagues in the country. one day after a lowly Southern Illinois beat Wichita State, the Shockers third in a row, Indiana State dominated No. 16 Creighton, on its way to a 76-57 victory. The Sycamores now find themselves in second place in the conference and added another good win to their tournament resume.

Keith Appling injures shoulder as No. 8 Michigan State beats No. 18 Minnesota: Freshman guard Gary Harris fought through back pain, and Keith Appling injured his shoulder, but the Spartans were able to hang on to defeat the Gophers 61-50. With guard Travis trice missing the game due to a concussion, backcourt depth could be an issue for Sparty down the road.

No. 17 Cincy learns hard way Providence isn’t a pushover: The Friars are not a tournament team. Not NCAA, NIT or CIT. But they certainly aren’t a team you can sleep-walk against on their home court. Mic Cronin’s Bearcats learned that the hard way last night.

Dickie V to call Indiana-Michigan State with Magic Johnson: Just a day after news comes out that Dick Vitale will be broadcasting his first Final Four for ESPN International, it was announced that Dickie-V will work the Indiana-Michigan State game on February 19th alongside Mike Tirico and Spartan legend Magic Johnson.
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping:
– It was announced yesterday that South Carolina State head coach Tim Carter had resigned effective immediately. No reason was given for his resignation. Carter was in his fifth season as head coach but the Bulldogs are 4-17 this season, with two of those wins coming against non-Division-I programs. (Times and Democrat)

– The Los Angeles Police Department is looking for a a former LAPD officer suspected in the shootings of a Cal State Fullerton womens assistant coach and her fiance. (Sports Illustrated)

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-basketball/news/20130207/cal-state-fullerton-coach-fiance-killed-ex-cop-suspected.ap/#ixzz2KBsrsMro

– As mentioned, a bunch of Spartans got banged up last night against Minnesota. Ketih Appling felt his shoulder pop. Branden Dawson may have suffered an ankle injury and Adreian Payne may have suffered a broken nose. (MLive.com)

– Duke freshman Josh Hairston has been diagnosed with an arm infection following a cut he sustained during the Wake Forest game and is doubtful for the Blue Devil’s pivotal showdown against NC-State. (Duke Hoop Blog)

– New Mexico State senior forward Tyrone Watson was arrested and charged for allegedly attacking another student during a January party. (Las Cruces Sun-Times)

– It was announced yesterday that Iowa State junior guard Maurice Jones is not eligible to play for the Cyclones this season. Jones arrived on campus in October after transferring out of Southern Cal. But he left the school in poor academic standing and was denied eligibility. (Ames Tribune)

– Albany’s leading scorer Mike Black sprained his ankle last night in the Danes’ blowout win over UMBC. His status for Saturday’s game against Maine is uncertain. (Albany Times-Union)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– What should we make of Indiana State? They have wins over Miami, Ole Miss, Wichita State and now Creighton, yet have still found a way to lose eight games. (The Dagger)

– We won’t know about the status of Syracuse’s Jams Southerland until Friday, but it’s unlikely that he returns this season. If that’s the case, can the Orange still win the Big East? (Rush The Court)

– Mike DeCourcy provides some good words on Belmont guard Ian Johnson, one of the most underrated and unheralded guards in the country. (Sporting News)

– Rebounding margins are a statistic that’s commonly thrown around on telecasts without properly breaking down the percentages. After all, offensive and defensive rebounds are not made equal. (KenPom Blog)

– Murray State and Belmont face off tonight in the marquee game of the OVC season. But Belmont fans aren’t too happy that this is the biggest game of the season. They were hoping to get Creighton in BracketBusters. They didn’t. (Belmont Byrd Cage)

– Duke and NC-State face off tonight in a rematch of their early January game in which the Wolfpack knocked off the No. 1 Blue Devils in Raliegh, 84-76. The two teams are approaching the rematch with different mindsets. (Fayetteville Observer)

– Here’s a lengthy-but-good-read on Gonzaga’s National Championship hopes. If you have 5-10 minutes to spare, this article explains why a seasoned Elias Harris might be able to take the Zags further than ever before. (College Hoops Journal)

– St. John’s bounced back from a tough road loss at Georgetown to defeat UConn in the Huskies’ final regular season game at Madison Square Garden. With St. John’s leaving the Big East with the Catholic-7, this was the Huskies final Big East regular season game at The Mecca. (Rumble in the Garden)

Odds & Ends:
– Bill Walton was at Arizona last night to call the Arizona-Stanford game. Before the game, in typical Walton fashion, he spoke to Arizona students about life, hoops, war and Bob Dylan. (Arizona Daily Star)

– The Michigan Wolverines are going to don special 1968 throwback uniforms against Penn State on February 16th, when the Chrisler Center rededication ceremonies take place. (UM Hoops)

– Well this is just awkward: Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard was ejected from his son’s high school game for heckling referees from the stands. (USA Today)

– A video, picture and .GIF of Russ Smith’s russdiculous dunk against Rutgers last night. (Card Chronicle)

– For those of you interested in celebrity gossip: It looks like ESPN analyst Jay Williams is dating ESPN Sports Nation host Charissa Thompson. (The Big Lead)
 
 
Video of the Day:
I don’t even know what to say about this. I’m speechless. This is phenomenal. +10000.

Video of the Day:
Derrick Nix, all 270-pounds of him, fell on top of two Michigan State cheerleaders while going for a lose ball. (Big Ten Network)


 
 
Dunk of the Day:
Markel Brown goes reverse ally-oop in traffic. Impressive.

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Ball State forward Zach Hollywood found dead in off-campus apartment

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Zach Hollywood, a redshirt freshman on the Ball State basketball team, has died, the university confirmed to multiple local news outlets Tuesday.

Muncie police are investigating the death at Hollywood’s off-campus apartment, according to WTHR-TV. Multiple outlets are reporting that the death has been ruled a suicide.

Hollywood was 19 years old.

This is his final tweet, from 5:39 a.m. Tuesday morning:

Hollywood redshirted last season at Ball State after averaging 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game as a senior at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in Bradley, Ill.

“On behalf of Ball State University, it is with profound sadness that we learned today of the passing of Zachary “Zach” Hollywood, a student from Bradley, Illinois,” the school said in a statement. “Zach has been a part of our family for the past year. During his time on campus, he was a member of men’s basketball team and made many positive impressions throughout campus.”

“This is a tragedy. Our heartfelt condolences are with his family, friends and teammates.”

Hollywood’s teammates reacted on social media:

Hollywood’s death is a tragic turn in an already devastating story for his family, which lost Zach’s mother, Susan, suddenly just over one year ago.

3-on-3 at the Final Four for $100,000? It’s happening

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The Final Four just got more exciting.

On Tuesday, Intersport announced a 3-on-3 tournament that they will be hosting at the Final Four with a $100,000 payout for the winners. The participants must be seniors that have exhausted their collegiate eligibility, the teams will be created based on conference and the rules will be standard, international 3-on-3 rules: one-point for a bucket inside the arc, two points for a bucket outside the arc, 12-second shot clocks and games played to 21 points, or whoever has the highest score after 10 minutes. Each all-star team will feature four players, including one sub.

And, well, this is awesome.

I cannot express enough how much I love this idea.

One potential pothole here is that teams that are playing in the Final Four will, quite clearly, not have players eligible to participate.

It also should be noted that since “three-pointers” are now worth two points and “two-pointers” are now worth one, the value of long-range shooting is increased even more.

With all that in mind, why don’t we make a quick power ranking of the teams that can be created from the nine biggest conferences in college hoops:

  1. ACC: Grayson Allen (Duke), Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame), Joel Berry II (North Carolina), Ben Lammers (Georgia Tech)
  2. Big East: Angel Delgado and Khadeen Carrington (Seton Hall), Trevon Bluiett (Xavier), Marcus Foster (Creighton)
  3. Big 12: Devonte’ Graham (Kansas), Jevon Carter (West Virginia), Jeffery Carroll (Oklahoma State), Zach Smith (Texas Tech)
  4. AAC: Rob Gray (Houston), B.J. Taylor (UCF), Gary Clark (Cincinnati), Obi Enechionya (Temple)
  5. Pac-12: Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart (USC), George King (Colorado), Thomas Welsh (UCLA)
  6. Big Ten: Nate Mason (Minnesota), Scottie Lindsay (Northwestern), Vince Edwards and Isaac Haas (Purdue)
  7. Atlantic 10: E.C. Matthews and Jared Terrell (Rhode Island), Peyton Aldridge (Davidson), Jaylen Adams (St. Bonaventure)
  8. SEC: Yante Maten (Georgia), Deandre Burnett (Ole Miss), Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford (Arkansas)
  9. WCC: Jock Landale and Emmett Naar (Saint Mary’s), Jonathan Williams III (Gonzaga), Silas Melson (Gonzaga)

I had way too much fun putting this together.

What did I miss?

Harsh Reality: Indiana did not do Grant Gelon wrong, getting cut is part of sports

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What happened to Grant Gelon sucks, and I’m not sure anyone in their right mind would try to argue otherwise.

A 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Crown Point, Indiana, Gelon accepted a scholarship offer from then-Indiana head coach Tom Crean as a member of the Class of 2016. His commitment was something of a surprise at the time; Gelon was a two-star prospect, according to Rivals, and ranked 402nd in the class, according to 247 Sports. At the time, Gelon reportedly had seven scholarship offers: Central Michigan, UIC, Toledo, Iona, Youngstown State, IUPUI and Western Carolina.

It was a reach for Crean, but it was also a dream come true for an Indiana kid getting a chance to don the cream and crimson.

Which is what made what happened this spring particularly painful.

Crean was fired on March 16th. Indiana hired Archie Miller to replace him on March 27th. Five weeks later, after a handful of workouts with the new coaching staff, Miller called Gelon into his office — the date, according to the Northwest Indiana Times, was May 3rd — and told him that he was being cut. There was not going to be minutes available, the staff said, for a sophomore that played in just 12 games last season, and that finding a place to transfer would be Gelon’s best option.

“I told them I wanted to stay,” Gelon told the Indy Star. “I told them, I’m making my mind up, I’m gonna push hard, show them what I can do, I’m here for a reason. When I said that, it was like, ‘Whoa, slow down.’ They were kind of making that sound like it wasn’t an option.”

That’s because it wasn’t.

Miller was cutting Gelon.

He was not cutting his scholarship, mind you. The Indiana student-athlete bill of rights protects players from losing their tuition due to poor performance on the court or the field. Gelon would still be getting his education paid for if he opted to remain at Indiana, he just wouldn’t be playing for the Hoosiers. Gelon’s departure opened up a scholarship for the Hoosiers that eventually went to Race Thompson, a four-star power forward that reclassified into the Class of 2017 in order to enroll at Indiana this year.

“Coach Miller believes honesty in evaluating talent, while often difficult, is the appropriate measure to take at all times and in the best interest of each player,” a statement released by the Indiana athletic department read. “Grant was made aware that our staff believed his abilities were not of the caliber that would allow him to receive playing time of any kind in the future for the IU program.”

I feel for Gelon here. I really do. Getting cut sucks, and everyone reading this now has probably gone through it at some point in their life. It happens all the time, in every sport, at every age group. Once you get to a level in athletics where you’re playing in more than your hometown rec league, it gets competitive. If you’re not good enough, you don’t make the team. That is how this works. Gelon found that out the hard way.

And frankly, what Miller did is not uncommon. It’s called running a player off, and it happens all the time at every program. Gelon had a bad enough season as a freshman that there is no guarantee that he would have kept his spot on the team had Crean kept his job. Simply put, he is not a Big Ten basketball player. I’d wager that two out of every five transfers at the Division I level are the result of a player transferring out of a school — either because he was forced or because the writing was on the wall — to a lower level, one more in line with his skill-set.

That’s what happened with Gelon. He’s now at State Fair Community College in Missouri, where he’ll spend a year before looking to climb his way back into the Division I ranks, most likely at the low-major level.

And no matter how many interviews that he or his family gives, you won’t find me saying that Indiana handled this the wrong way.

Was Miller callous?

That wouldn’t surprise me. He’s not the type of guy to mince words, and there really is not a good way to sugar-coat, ‘You are not good enough for us.’

But Gelon was not having his scholarship taken away. Indiana was living up to their promise of paying for his education. They did not do him wrong. The staff gave him more than a month to prove himself as a player and, eventually, made the decision he would not be in their plans moving forward.

So he was cut. That opening allowed a four-star power forward to enroll this year.

That’s the harsh reality of life in the Big Ten.

And there’s nothing wrong with the coach of a basketball team doing what Miller and Indiana did.

VIDEO: UConn’s Kwintin Williams would win the NBA dunk contest

Screengrab via Instagram
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Think that’s too strong?

Look at this dunk:

Light

A post shared by Kwintin Williams (@jumpmanebig) on

He also did this over the summer:

Williams is a 6-foot-7, 215 pound JuCo transfer that should provide UConn with some minutes in the frontcourt this season.

LSU officially announces addition of Kavell Bigby-Williams

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LSU has announced the addition of Oregon transfer Kavell Bigby-Williams, a 6-foot-11 junior that was the National Junior College Player of the Year as a sophomore.

Bigby-Williams, who is a native of London, averaged 3.0 points and 2.8 boards last season as the Ducks reached the Final Four, but he played the majority of the season while under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that occurred while he was at Gillette College in Wyoming.

The local County Attorney declined to charge Bigby-Williams with a crime, and Gillette College police consider the case closed.

“The university conducted a responsible and comprehensive review before approving the transfer,” a release posted on LSU’s Athletics site read, “including close coordination with Title IX officials, multiple discussions with Gillette and Oregon officials and a thorough examination of available public records.”

LSU head coach Will Wade was quoted in that release as well: “This is an issue we all take seriously and we made absolutely sure we did our due diligence before considering moving forward. Kavell understands that and has made clear to me that he’s going to repay our confidence by representing LSU with his very best on and off the court.”