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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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Illinois PG expected to be ready for practice

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Illinois point guards and injuries have been an unfortunate trend over the past two seasons with Tracy Abrams, who missed the past two seasons with a torn ACL followed by a torn Achilles the next year.

On Sunday, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported some good news for an incoming Fighting Illini floor general. Te’Jon Lucas, a three-star prospect from the Class of 2016, will be fully cleared for the start of practice, according to Rothstein. In February, Lucas had broke his fibula in his right leg in two places during a game.

Lucas had committed to Illinois the previous September.

Abrams received a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA in June, and he decided to remain in Champaign for his final season. If healthy, he’ll be the starter. Jaylon Tate is also back for another season. But they are both seniors, which makes Sunday’s report important for John Groce’s program. Lucas will be on the floor Day 1 of practice, being molded for the future by two experienced guards.

The 5-foot-11 Lucas is the only true freshman on the roster.

Illinois begins the 2016-17 season on November 11, hosting Southeast Missouri State.

Xavier adds to class with three-star center

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Xavier added a fourth piece to its 2017 recruiting class on Sunday morning.

Kentravious Jones, a 6-foot-11, three-star recruit, committed to the Musketeers. He announced the decision via Twitter.

Chris Mack’s current recruiting class is headlined by four-star swingman Naji Marshall. The incoming quartet also includes guard Elias Harden and forward Jared Ridder. But Jones’ commitment fits an area that needs to be addressed for the Musketeers moving forward. Xavier isn’t particularly deep when it comes to big men. That frontcourt only gets thinner once RaShid Gaston, a graduate transfer from Norfolk State, exhausts his eligibility after this season.

Jones, along with current freshman forward Tyrique Jones, gives Xavier a young foundation for the future. Jones is an old-school, big-bodied center. He’s got a nice back-to-the-basket game, and had his best stretch of the summer during the UAA Finals. In three games with the Atlanta Xpress, he averaged 15.3 points, shot 59 percent from the field, and grabbed nine boards per game.

Conditioning will be the emphasis for him over the course of the next year. However, we have seen Xavier work well with a big, skilled centers in the past (see: Stainbrook, Matt). According to Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Jones has dropped 30 pounds.

Sunday morning’s news may not even be Xavier’s last score on the recruiting trail. The Musketeers have one scholarship remaining (two, or three if Edmond Sumner and Trevon Bluiett enter the NBA Draft this spring), and are in play for several coveted prospects like point guards Paul Scruggs, Quade Green and Matt Coleman, as well as forward Kris Wilkes.

Minnesota center to miss a month

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 7: Reggie Lynch #22 of the Illinois State Redbirds and Fred VanVleet #23 of the Wichita State Shockers fight for control of a loose ball during the MVC Basketball Tournament Semifinals at the Scottrade Center on March 7, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Minnesota’s projected starting center is sidelined, but is expected to be ready for the season opener.

Reggie Lynch, the Illinois State transfer, had surgery on his left knee, the program announced on Friday night. According to Marcus R. Fuller of the Star-Tribune, the Golden Gophers are anticipating that Lynch is available for the season opener on Nov. 11 against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The 6-foot-10 Lynch has been in the news this offseason prior to his impending debut with Minnesota. In May, he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault. On August 1, the Hennepin County attorney’s office was announced he would not face charges, citing insufficient evidence.

Lynch spent two seasons at Illinois State, averaging 9.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Redbirds as a sophomore. He sat out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Minnesota is coming off a second-to-last place finish in the Big Ten with an 8-23 (2-16 Big Ten) record.

Women’s hoops coaches boycotting recruiting events

DENVER, CO - MARCH 31:  Head coach Muffet McGraw of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish directs her team during practice prior to the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Final Four at Pepsi Center on March 31, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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For some high-major women’s basketball programs, the final evaluation period of 2016 is being used as a vacation from the recruiting trail.

According to a report from Lindsay Schnell of Sports Illustrated, are not attending events during this weekend’s recruiting period for a host of reasons.

First, many are fed up with the price of tournament packets, booklets of rosters that college coaches receive upon paying their entry fee. Packets are supposed to be chock-full of contact information for the prospects, but sometimes aren’t accurate or up-to-date. (This has become a well-documented issue on the men’s side of college hoops. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish wrote on it this summer.) Furthermore, there are so many events now that college coaches are often forced to pay obscene amounts of money to watch just one player at a single event, and play recruiting hopscotch around the country, criss-crossing the nation to see so many events and spend thousands of dollars. One Power Five coach said her staff crunched the numbers, and found that in just two years, they’ve spent more than $4,000 more than they did in 2014 on packets alone. Another coach told a story of sending an assistant across the country for one day, to one event, to watch one team. When the assistant arrived, the team had left early for its next event. No refund was available for the college that had paid what turned out to be a useless entry fee. The head coach called it “exasperating.”

Jeff Borzello of ESPN, who spoke to Notre Dame head coach and eventual Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw for his report, estimated that the cost for one of the coaches packets — the ones that include player contact information, rosters, etc. — can cost each school an average of $600 per event.

This era of grassroots basketball has taken off in recent years with Nike, Under Armour and adidas all creating their own sponsored leagues. All three run exceptional events from the staff to the facilities, all the way to the three, free meals a day for coaches. Organizers of these events will argue that there’s a cost to running such high-end events. These packets, some of which are so in-depth they include players’ GPAs, help fund these tournaments (events, paying a staff, etc.).

Coaches, mostly mid to low-major coaches, will argue that these packets aren’t worth the cost, considering that every coach (head and assistant) must purchase them in order to gain entrance. And you will find packets where the information inside is either inaccurate, or missing or both. For elite programs, this isn’t an issue. You show up, you’re seen, you leave, you go to the next event, repeat. For mid to low-major coaches, this really puts a dent in their budget, especially when they have to travel to multiple events (buying packets at each one) because you have to land that “steal,” you have to find that player who is overlooked.

This protest, or boycott (or whatever you want to call it) will hurt those these events are intended to help the most: the players. If coaches continue to avoid these tournaments, that late-bloomer may miss out on a scholarship, or that player with mid-major offers won’t get the chance to play in front of high-major coaches.

According to Schnell, there is a proposal, voted on in April, to eliminate a live recruiting period in April and September. But many coaches in women’s basketball have made it clear this weekend how they feel about the issue.

USC lands commitment from three-star center

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USC added to its 2017 recruiting class with a commitment from a 7-foot big man.

Andy Enfield and the Trojans beat out Florida, Vanderbilt and Tennessee for the services of Calvary Christian Academy (Florida) center Victor Uyaelunmo. He announced his college decision on Friday afternoon.

“It was the best fit for me academically and athletically,” Uyaelunmo said according to David Furones of the Sun Sentinel. “The basketball coaches really wanted me to come, and I thought it was the best place for me.

“They told me how they were going to use me, and they have a couple of guys leaving this year, so I just fit in right.”

Uyaelunmo is regarded as a three-star prospect by Rivals, however, ESPN rates him a four-star recruit. He joins a two-man class which includes four-star forward Jordan Usher.

The departure of Nikola Jovanovic, the Trojans’ leading rebounder during the 2015-16, was a surprising one, and one that left USC with a hole in the middle. While Uyaelunmo still has one more year before arriving on the Los Angeles campus, the Trojans have a promising piece in the paint for the future; a long, athletic big man who has the potential, in time, to become one of the nation’s top shot blockers.

Uyaelunmo played for Nike South Beach in the EYBL this spring and summer. In 12 appearances, he averaged 5.0 points. 5.9 rebounds and 1.0 block in 17.6 minutes per game.