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)

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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As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
Associated Press
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Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady returns home with team

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
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Wichita State forward Anton Grady was released from a hospital in Orlando on Sunday afternoon in time to return home with his Shocker teammates.

Grady suffered a spinal corn concussion on Friday when he collided head-first with an Alabama defender, snapping his head sharply to the side. He lay on the court motionless for 10 minutes after the injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher.

[RELATED: Can WSU still make tourney?]

“I want to send out a big thank you to Shocker Nation and all of my friends and family for of the love and encouragement that I have received the past few days,” Grady said in a statement on Sunday morning. “I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and appreciate every last one of them. I have a lot of work to do to get back on the court, but with the help of such a great support system, I’m ready for the challenge.”

By Friday night, Grady had feeling in all of his extremities, but he has a long road of rehab ahead of him.