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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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Arizona lands first commitment in 2017 class

Alex Barcello (Jon Lopez/Nike)
(Jon Lopez/Nike)
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Arizona landed their first commitment in the Class of 2017 on Friday night as point guard Alex Barcello pledged to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.

Barcello is a 6-foot-2 point guard from Tempe who plays his high school ball for Corona del Sol. He committed to the Wildcats on an official visit to the Tucson campus.

Barcello is a borderline top 100 prospect who sits at No. 123 in the Rivals top 150. He’s known for his ability to shoot, and he’s more of a combo-guard — i.e. shoot-first — than a point guard at times, but he’s a nice pickup and projects as a solid four-year player for the Wildcats.

Virginia, Indiana, Stanford and Butler were the other four schools on Barcello’s list.

Duke lands first commitment in 2017 class

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Alex O’Connell knew exactly where he wanted to play his college ball, which is why, just two days after picking up an offer from Coach K and the Blue Devils, he became Duke’s first recruit in the Class of 2017.

O’Connell announced the on twitter on Friday afternoon:

O’Connell is a four-star prospect from Georgia that had a terrific summer, going from being a borderline top 75 prospect to a player that caught the interest of Duke, who, along with Kentucky, sit atop the college recruiting hierarchy. He’s an explosively athletic and lanky 6-foot-6 wing with three-point range on his jumper. He needs to add some weight and some strength — he’s listed as a crisp 175 pounds — but he has the tools, and the swagger, to develop into a very effective player in the ACC.

Is he a one-and-done prospect?

Probably not. In fact, since 2010, Duke has landed just two players that were rated lower than O’Connell: Antonio Vrankovic and Jack White. If you know who both of them are, you’re probably either Jon Scheyer or lying.

But what O’Connell is is a kid who put in the work to get better this past year and who has the skill set, the physical tools and work ethic to continue to improve. He may not be on Grayson Allen’s trajectory, but O’Connell has the makings of being an impact player for the Blue Devils for three or four years.

Alex O'Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)
Alex O’Connell (Jon Lopez/Nike)

Shaka Smart lands contract extension at Texas

Texas head coach Shaka Smart instructs his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Shaka Smart has already landed himself a contract extension at Texas.

The school, according to the Austin American-Statesman, has given Shaka a one-year extension — through the 2022-23 season — and bumped his salary up to a cool $3 million, a raise of $100,000 annually.

Smart’s Longhorns went 20-13 last season and lost on a half court buzzer beater from Northern Iowa’s Paul Jespersen. It will be tough for Smart to match the success that he had last season, specifically because he lost senior point guard Isaiah Taylor to the professional ranks.

That said, the former VCU head man has been reeling in quite a bit of talent from the state of Texas — namely, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen — and is not all that far from turning the Longhorns back into a relevant member of the Big 12 title race.

Arizona and Texas headline Lone Star Shootout

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the first half against the Wichita State Shockers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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Another marquee, early season event is on the books for the college basketball season as four potential tournament teams will be squaring off at the Toyota Center in Houston on Dec. 17th.

The highlight of the double-header, which has been dubbed the Lone Star Shootout, will probably end up being Arizona vs. Texas A&M. The Wildcats are a Pac-12 contender and a borderline top 10 team as we enter the season, and while the Aggies will have work to do replacing the seniors they lost off of last season’s roster, they’re a borderline top 25 team.

The other matchup will feature a pair of former Southwest Conference rivals facing off in Texas and Arkansas. Texas will be talented but young while Arkansas may actually have the best player on the floor in Moses Kingsley. What will make this matchup interesting is that both Mike Anderson and Shaka Smart are known for being coaches that prefer a full court pressing system.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to play in front of our fans at the Toyota Center in Houston,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said in a statement. “It is one of the most important areas in this state as it relates to our recruiting and fan base.

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
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Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.