The Morning Mix

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Time for another installment of your favorite morning roundup of college basketball news and notes.

You know what to do.

Let’s hit the links.

Monday’s Top games:
7:00 p.m. – No. 25 Kentucky @ No. 7 Florida
7:00 p.m. – Towson @ James Madison
7:00 p.m. – Boston @ Vermont
7:00 p.m. – Valparaiso @ Wright State
8:00 p.m. – Villanova @ Cincinnati
8:00 p.m. – Indiana State @ Missouri State
9:00 p.m. – No. 4 Michigan @ No. 8 Michigan State
9:00 p.m. – Alabama @ Georgia
 
 
Read of the Day:
It’s a common misconception that ESPN destroyed the Big East Conference. While the WWL has pulled some strings in regards to conference realignment, it was FOX and not ESPN that caused the Big East to deteriorate. (Frank The Tank’s Slant)

Read of the Day:
Louisiana Tech ranked higher than Georgetown and Marquette? Somebody did this, and Gary Parrish wants to know why. Poll Attacks. (Eye on College Basketball)
 
 
Top Stories:
Kansas proves losing streak was a result of confidence issues: The Jayhawks broke out of their two-game slump and absolutely pummeled Kansas State on Monday night. The issue for Kansas was their confidence, and they seemed to have it last night.

Georgetown beats Marquette, finally controls Big East destiny: The Hoyas have now won six straight games and eight of their last nine to climb to 8-3 in the Big East. Monday’s 63-55 win over No. 18 Marquette at the Verizon Center drew the Hoyas into a second-place tie with the Golden Eagles. This was the same team that lost to Pittsburgh by 28 and won a game despite scoring under 40 points.

You think the season’s been fun? It gets so much better this week: Last week was unquestionably the most bonkers week of the entire season. Four of the top five teams in the country lost and overtime was the flavor of the week. But with Rivalry Week upon us, we could be in for some entertaining deja vu.

Bubble Banter: Illinois, Oklahoma this week’s big winners: Dave Ommen, our resident bracketologist is back for another installment of Bubble Banter. Take a look at what teams are in and what teams still have work to do.

Rick Ray isn’t happy with Jalen Steele, at all: Rick Ray has had a rough season in his first as head coach at Mississippi State. Injuries and defections have left him with only a handful of scholarship players. But despite being shorthanded, he’s no cutting anybody any slack. Especially not Jalen Steele.
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping:
– Memphis guard Antonio Barton will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a hairline fracture in his right foot. The Tigers are undefeated in Conference-USA and have won 14 in a row. (Memphis Commercial Appeal)

– UConn center Enosch Wolf was arrested on campus Monday morning following a domestic dispute. the 7-foot German import was charged with burglary and disorderly conduct. He has been suspended indefinitely. (Hartford Courant)

– Northwestern lost two players to injury over the weekend. Jared Swopshire suffered and knee injury and Alex Olah suffered a concussion. Both players will miss the Ohio State game on Thursday. (Chicago Sun-Times)

– Oklahoma freshman Buddy Hield broke his foot against TCU last night and will miss the next 4-6 weeks. (Crimson and Cream Machine)

– Butler center Andrew Smith will miss the next two games will nursing an abdominal injury. The Bulldogs play host to Charlotte and travel to Fordham this week. (Fox 59)

 
 
Observations & Insight:
– You’re kidding me, right? Tubby Smith should be fired? Sure the Gophers greatly exceeded expectations early this year, but they’re almost a lock for the NCAA tournament and are in the top half of the best conference in the country. This is silly. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

– Oh look, yet another installment of “Is this the year Gonzaga makes it to the Final Four?”. Seriously, This may be the most repetitive story in college hoops this season. (USA Today)

– Depending on where you look, New Mexico could be the 3rd or 36th best team in the country. (Wall Street Journal)

– Virginia has won six of their last seven, and scored their second and third most single game totals in the past two games. But are they a tournament team? Jerry Palm doesn’t even think they are a bubble team. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Otto Porter is the key cog for Georgetown. The Hoyas will only go as far as he can take them. But exactly how far is that? (ESPN)

– Marquette head coach Buzz Williams gives one of the best post-game press conferences in the country. He got his first technical foul of the season last night against Georgetown. His presser was off-the-charts entertaining. (D1scourse)

– Former-Oklahoma State head coach Eddie Sutton discusses the decline in college basketball attendance. Interesting stuff. (Tulsa World)

– Florida is going to need somebody to step up in the wake of Will Yeguete’s season-ending injury and Casey Prather just might be the guy to do it. (Alligator Army)

– Jim Boeheim doesn’t read the blogs. I’m crushed. (Syracuse Post-Standard)

– An NBA scouting report on Illinois State forward Jackie Carmichael. (NBA Draft Blog)
 
 
Picture of the Day:
Georgetown young alumni unveiled their unofficial Catholic-7 banner at last night’s game against Marquette. “Basketball is our Religion.” (H/T @JustinMU03)

source:
 
 
Dunk of the Day:
Jeff Withey does what Jeff Withey do.


 
 
Video of the Day:
3/4-court buzzer-beater OFF THE BOUNCE!


 
 
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Report: Texas’ Jones to test NBA possibility

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Both of Texas’ McDonald’s All-Americans from its 2016 class will test the NBA waters.

Andrew Jones will declare for the draft, but will not hire an agent, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

The 6-foot-4 guard joins Jarrett Allen, the Longhorns’ star center, in utilizing the rule change that became available to players last year in which they can declare, workout for teams, attend the NBA combine and still return to school.

Jones averaged 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a freshman. He shot 42.5 percent from the field overall and 32.8 percent from 3-point range.

Allen seems the likelier candidate to remain in the draft as a potential lottery pick, but Jones came to Austin with similar one-and-done possibilities given his status as one of the class’ top recruits.

Texas, of course, is hoping both return, not just because they’re both big talents, but because incoming and highly-touted recruit Matt Coleman fills the major hole in last year’s lineup – point guard. If the three of them can share the floor together, Year 3 of the Shaka Smart era will be much more interesting.

Morrow announces transfer from Nebraska

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Nebraska was once again hit with a surprising and damaging transfer.

Ed Morrow, Jr., who led the Huskers in rebounding last year, announced his intention to transfer, the school announced Wednesday.

“I support Ed in his decision to transfer schools and wish him well,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said in a statement. “We appreciate his hard work over the last two years. Although I am disappointed, we will continue to recruit young men who are committed to our mission of building Nebraska Basketball with a culture of success in all areas…life, school and winning basketball at its highest level.”

The 6-foot-7 sophomore’s departure is a major hit to the Huskers, who are coming off a 12-19 year in which Miles’ job security was called into question. It almost assuredly will be again this year as Nebraska hasn’t been able to build on its 2014 NCAA tournament appearance, instead putting together three-straight losing seasons.

Morrow’s decision is surprising not only given he’d been a productive member of the team – averaging 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game – but because he was born in Nebraska before attending high school in Chicago and both his parents were Nebraska student-athletes his father winning a national title on the football team in 1994 and his mother an all-Big Eight performer on the basketball team.

“I want to say thank you to my teammates, coaches, the fans and the University of Nebraska athletics department for giving me the opportunity to play Division I basketball,” Morrow said in a statement. “It is hard to leave home, and Nebraska is my home. I was born and raised here, it is my parents’ alma mater, and I have a lot of friends here. But sometimes you have to venture out to pursue dreams and aspirations in a career. This is a sacrifice I have to make to better myself.”

Morrow’s transfer comes a year after Andrew White surprised Nebraska with his decision to graduate and transfer to Syracuse, which no doubt impacted the Huskers’ poor 2016-17 record.

Miles was on the hot seat at the end of last season and will assuredly begin this season there as well. A roster hit like Morrow won’t do much to help him improve the situation. Nebraska does, however, have three starters returning while Georgetown transfer Isaac Copeland is eligible, as is Miami (Fla.) transfer James Palmer, Jr.

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.