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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Diallo withdrawing from draft, returning to Kentucky

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It took plenty of time for the news to make its way public, but it was a wait that proved welcome for Kentucky fans.

Wildcat freshman Hamidou Diallo will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to Kentucky, the school announced

Diallo’s situation was one of the more interesting in college basketball as he became an incredibly intriguing pro prospect despite being on a college roster and never playing a minute.

The five-star recruit enrolled at Kentucky in January after attending a semester of prep school with the plan to redshirt the season and then play for the Wildcats in 2017-18. There were rumblings and rumors about Diallo potentially playing for John Calipari’s group last year, but ultimately they stuck to the plan to keep him on the bench and preserve his eligibility. Throughout it all, there was always the specter that Diallo could just decide to go the professional route anyway.

That possibility moved fully into the forefront earlier this month when Diallo showed off a 44.5-inch vertical leap at the NBA Draft combine in Chicago. The 6-foot-5 guard also recorded a wingspan that nearly measured 7-feet. With those types of physical traits, he makes for an awfully interesting professional prospect, regardless of refinement or experience.

Given Diallo’s lack of high-level experience, though, there was no guarantee he’d be a first-round selection as teams would be wary of drafting solely on potential, rather than the mostly they typically do.

“I hope to play in the NBA one day — just not this season,” Diallo said in a statement. “Based on the information I received by testing the waters, I believe it’s in my best interests to return to school. Although I was a part of the team last season and trained with my teammates, I never fulfilled another one of my dreams, which was to play for a major college program and win a national title.

“I am excited about returning to Kentucky for the 2017-18 season. I can’t wait to play in a Kentucky jersey for the first time.”

Going back to Lexington to play college basketball gives Diallo a chance to showcase his skills against competition the NBA will be able to evaluate him against. It also makes Kentucky – surprise, surprise – extremely formidable this season as they, once again, restock the roster with potential lottery- and first-round picks. With Diallo officially in the fold, Kentucky is a no-doubt top-five team that will be among the favorites to cut down the nets in April 2018.

“I’m really proud of Hami,” Calipari said in a statement. “He took in all the information, asked a lot of questions, including questions to the NBA teams. I love the fact that he wants to put himself in a better position and help lead this new team to a championship.
“I can’t wait to get him on the court and have all of you fans see what I know.  He’s a special player and a special person.”

LaVar Ball selling “Stay In Yo Lane” shirts

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Create controversy. Profit from controversy.

It’s not an especially new or original strategy, but it’s one that LaVar Ball continues to try to exploit.

The infamous basketball dad is at it again, looking to capitalize on the uproar/kerfuffle/news cycle/debate/ickiness he created when he belittled FS1’s Kristine Leahy, telling her to “stay in your lane” on multiple occasions when claiming the Big Baller Brand didn’t need to market to women.

Well, they are now, with a nod to Ball’s proclamation, selling “STAY IN YO LANE” tees, for both men and women.

Marketing misogyny. Isn’t that nice.

It’s clear that LaVar Ball isn’t going to shy away from the public spotlight anytime soon, especially with eldest son Lonzo looking destined for the Lakers and middle son LiAngelo set to join UCLA, and he’s going to do his best to use that light to push the BBB franchise that scared away the world’s biggest apparel companies.

This plan has no mystery, subtlety or taste. Which might as well be the Big Baller Brand slogan.

Mykhailiuk returning to Kansas for senior season

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Kansas’ attempt for a 14th consecutive Big 12 title, and run for Bill Self’s second national title, got a shot in the arm Wednesday.

Svi Mykhailiuk announced that he will return to Lawrence for his final season of eligibility. “Senior year going to be fun,” he wrote on his Instagram page.

Senior year gonna be fun😈👌🏼🤘🏼 #KUCMB

A post shared by Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (@sviat_10) on

The Jayhawks were already going to be loaded this season with Devonte Graham, a potential All-American, returning for his senior season and Udoka Azubuike healthy after missing last year due to injury along with Malik Newman becoming eligible after a transfer from Mississippi State and recruits Billy Preston and Marcus Garrett bolstering the ranks. The return of Mykhailiuk, though, only solidifies Kansas’ place not only atop the Big 12, but in the country.

Mykhailiuk, a 6-foot-8 forward, had something of a breakthrough season as a junior, posting career highs nearly across the board, including shooting 39.8 percent on nearly five 3-point shot attempts per game. With his size and shooting ability, Mykhailiuk was sure to garner professional interest, even though it would have been more likely than not he would been drafted in the second round of next month’s draft.

Mykhailiuk’s situation is certainly a unique one for college basketball as the Ukraine native enrolled at Kansas in 2014 just after his 17th birthday. He won’t turn 20 until next month, making him the same age as many sophomores and more likely to be viewed by NBA teams in the future as having upside, rather than a typical 22- or 23-year-old senior who scouts look at as having come close to reaching their ceiling.

Mykhailiuk wasn’t going to be the linchpin of Kansas’ success next season, but his decision to return shouldn’t be underestimated. His size, experience, skill and versatility provide the Jayhawks with a real weapon that will help alleviate pressure and expectations from other players up and down the roster. He’s very much a difference-maker for a team that will be contending for a spot in the Final Four.

Caleb Swanigan to stay in NBA draft

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Caleb Swanigan is leaving Purdue and staying in the NBA draft.

The Boilermaker big man held as much sway on the college basketball landscape with his decision as nearly any player who declared for the draft without an agent. After a season in which he became a double-double machine and averaged 18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, Swanigan would have been one of – if not the – favorites for National Player of the Year while also making Purdue right at the top of the Big Ten with Michigan State.

Instead, he’ll end his collegiate career after a pair of seasons and one Sweet 16 appearance in West Lafayette. As a professional prospect, Swanigan is an interesting case. He was as productive of player as college basketball has seen in recent years as a sophomore, putting up 20-20 games with ridiculous consistency. He’s got some range, but limited quickness and athleticism. The question will be how his game – and frame – will translate into the new NBA that prioritizes versatility, shooting and athleticism. Right now, not many have him pegged as a sure-fire first-round pick.

The loss for Purdue is hard to overstate given just how good “Biggie” was. There’s just no replacing that type of production in the lineup. Still, Matt Painter and the Boilermakers still have an intriguing group, with Isaac Haas and Vince Edwards both electing to return to school after dipping their toes in the NBA waters. There’s some other intriguing young pieces there that will keep Purdue interesting in the Big Ten race.

Florida State picks up late commit from McDonald’s All-American

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The losses sustained by Florida State have been numerous and significant. Three players declared early for the NBA Draft. Another two contributors were lost to graduation. All in all, the Seminoles haven’t had the greatest of springs.

Wednesday, though, they got some good news.

McDonald’s All-American wing M.J. Walker committed Leonard Hamilton’s program to give Florida State a late, and important, addition to its 2017 recruiting class, beating the likes of Ohio State, Georgia Tech and UCLA.

Walker, a 6-foot-5 guard, gives the Seminoles yet another five-star prospect after landing Dwayne Bacon and Jonathan Isaac in the last two recruiting classes. Walker will help Hamilton and Co. reboot after both Bacon and Isaac, along with Xavier Rathan-Mayes, all left school to pursue professional careers after the Seminoles’ 26-9 season that saw them advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Walker becomes the sixth member of Hamilton’s 2017 recruiting class that was previously headlined by four-star 7-footer Ikechukwu Obiagu. That group will be tasked to retool a team losing not only major NBA-level talent, but also major production. The Seminoles won’t return a single player who averaged double-digit points per-game last year and just one who played at least 20 minutes per night.