The Morning Mix

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Did you have a good weekend? I was in College Park, Md. on Saturday night. I went for the basketball and stayed for the riots.

Ready for another crazy week of college hoops?

Let’s hit the links.

Monday’s Top games:
7:00 p.m. – No. 21 Notre Dame @ No. 16 Pittsburgh
7:00 p.m. – Hofstra @ Drexel (NBC Sports Network) 7:00 p.m. –
7:00 p.m. – Norfolk State @ Hampton
7:00 p.m. – Bucknell @ Lehigh
9:00 p.m. – West Virginia @ No. 10 Kansas State
9:00 p.m. – Rutgers @ Villanova

Read of the Day:
John Feinstein provides some quality insight on the path being charted by the members of the Catholic-7. Georgetown President Jack DeGioia is playing a key role in the formation of the new basketball conference and schools like Detroit-Mercy could be targeted for admittance. (Washington Post)
 
 
Top Stories:
Hard work pays off for Terrapins in 83-81 victory over No. 2 Blue Devils: Maryland had five days to prepare for their biggest home game of the season. During those five days Mark Turgeon tested his team mentally and physically. It paid off on Saturday night against Duke.

Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy dances late in Saturday’s win at Air Force:Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy decided to show off some of his dance moves late in the Rams’ 89-86 win at Air Force, much to the chagrin of the Air Force student section.

Temple survives UMass, are tournament hopes still alive?Following an 83-82 road win over the Minutemen on Saturday, the Temple Owls keep NCAA tournaments hopes alive after doing its best to ruin them with a 84-83 home loss to Duquesne on Thursday night.

No. 3 Miami survives despite Clemson neutralizing Shane Larkin: IT wasn’t pretty, but Miami earned the victory they travelled to Clemson to obtain, defeating the Tigers 45-43.

Providence is on their way back to national relevancy: After beating No. 21 Notre Dame 71-54 on Saturday afternoon, the Providence Friars have now won four straight in the Big East, which includes a 54-50 win over then-No. 17 Cincinnati. Providence is still at least a year away, but the improvement of this team is inarguable.

Doug McDermott scores 2,000th career point, joins Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson: McDermott scored his 2,000th career point Saturday in a win over Evansville, becoming just the third player in Missouri Valley history to reach that milestone through three collegiate seasons.

Iowa creeps onto NCAA tournament bubble after win over Minnesota: Iowa has lost a handful of close games this season in Big-Ten play, but that has become the nature of the Big Ten. It is the nation’s deepest conference top to bottom, but after a dominating 72-51 win at home over Minnesota Sunday, Iowa is creeping into the conversation for the NCAA tournament.

VIDEO: John Calipari tees off on his team after 30-point loss at Tennessee: Kentucky was run out of the building by Tennessee over the weekend, losing by 30 in the Wildcats’ worst game since the season-ending injury to Nerlens Noel. Coach Cal was not pleased with his team’s effort.

P.J. Hairston, North Carolina get key win over Virginia to hold ground in ACC race: P.J. Hairston and North Carolina’s up-tempo offense were too much for Virginia in a 93-81 victory on Saturday. Hairston scored 29 points, which included 6-of-12 shooting from three-point range.
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– A lot of great content in the latest installment of the “Pick ‘n’ Roll, including the art of the the buzzer-beater. (ESPN)

– Mike DeCourcy reviews the upcoming week takes a look at the marquee matchups in front of us. (Sporting News)

– You can understand why members of Big Blue Nation may have issues with the one-and-done rule following the injury to Nerlens Noel. But then again, this what they’ve signed up for, isn’t it? (A Sea of Blue)

– Mike Krzyzewski was dismissive of the notion that Maryland is a rival of Duke, take a jab at Big-Ten move. (Sporting News)

– Arizona State got a must-win victory on Saturday, knocking off Colorado at the buzzer. Doug Haller looks back at the scene in Boulder. (AZ Central)

– Miami’s 45-43 victory at Clemson last night was the lowest-scoring ACC game in the shot clock era. (D1sCourse)

– Eric Prisbell debates the possibility of the SEC being a one-bid league. Florida is the only lock at this point and Missouri, the team’s second best team cannot win on the road. Selection Sunday could be interesting for the SEC. (USA Today)

– The Wisconsin Badgers did not look like an NCAA Tournament team back in mid-December. But like he does year in and year out, Bo Ryan has his Badgers squad flying under the radar and in position to win the Big-Ten championship. (Fox Sports Wisconsin)

– Apparently there was an altercation between a UTEP fan and a member of the Central Florida basketball team. The incident took place immediately following the Knights 73-58 loss in El Paso. (Orlando Sentinel)

– Rutgers head coach Mike Rice has had a difficult year. His program hasn’t made great strides in getting out of the Big East cellar, and his struggles this season were highlighted by his 3-game suspension for anger-related therapy. How much longer does Mike Rice have at Rutgers? (On The Banks)

– If Detroit-Mercy does join the Catholic-7 at some point, would Oakland be considered to replace them in the Horizon League? Oakland previously inquired about acceptance following Butler’s departure, but Detroit-Mercy helped to block their entry. (Oakland Press)

– Could Siena be another possible candidate for Catholic-7 expansion? (Albany Times Union)

– Clemson University is conducting a feasibility survey to determine whether a new basketball arena would be economically beneficially to the athletics program and university. (Post and Courier)
 
 
Odds & Ends:
– Marshall Henderson delivers the soundbite of the season following the Rebels’ overtime win over Georgia. This kid is awesome. (Alabama.com)

– A college coach in Canada sank a half court shot earning a student free tuition. (Yahoo Sports)

– A wrap up of the tops plays from the weekend in .GIF form. Carlos Emery’s dunk is hysterical. He dunks so frequently that this is actual now considered a jump shot. (College Hoops Journal)

– The video won’t embed properly, so click the link to watch Ryan Evan’s killer one-handed putback jam for Wisconsin on Sunday. (Bucky’s 5th Quarter)
 
 
Video of the Day:
Maryland fans dial up a tag team Harlem Shake flash mob. It was Glorious. Bonus points if you can find me on press row. (Washington Post)


 
 
Dunk of the Day:
Oh look, Ben McLemore doing something that you and I can’t even do in our dreams. (ESPN)


 
 
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Five-star point guard decommits from Arizona

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The scope and ramifications of the investigation by the FBI into corruption in college basketball remains an unknown.Who will be ensnared, what programs will be impacted and how the sport as a whole will cope are all pressing questions that will likely unfold over weeks, months and maybe years.

In the short-term, though, the fallout is already being felt.

Arizona lost the commitment Thursday of five-star point guard Jahvon Quinerly, he announced via social media.

“After careful consideration, my family and I have determined it is in my best interest to retract my verbal commitment to The University of Arizona,”  Quinerly posted to Twitter. “I’d like to thank my extended family and fans for your continued love and support. Your positivity and kindness never goes unnoticed.”

While Quinerly didn’t address the investigation, it’s easy to draw a line from the arrest and eventual firing of Arizona assistant Book Richardson and Quinerly’s decision. Quinerly is believed to be the player referenced in federal court documents that was on the receiving end of money Richardson took from agents, according to the Arizona Republic.

What’s next for Quinerly will certainly be worth watching. How seriously will other schools pursue him? Will he opt to just go overseas and bypass the NCAA – and any investigations it may launch – all together?

Quinerly is not the first recruit to alter his plans in the wake of the investigation. USC, which also had an assistant coach (Tony Bland) arrested, lost the commitment of J’Raan Brooks last weekend.

The dominos of this investigation are sure to continue to fall. Just how many remains one of the many questions that will only be answered in time.

Illinois adds five-star guard

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The first commit for Illinois in 2018 is a significant in state addition.

Ayo Dosunmu, a top-30 guard from Chicago, announced Thursday that he’s staying in the Land of Lincoln and joining Brad Underwood’s Illini program.

“We know that I could only attend one school. After great thought and consideration,” Dosunmu wrote before posting a picture of him in an Illini jersey.

The 6-foot-4 Dosunmu averaged more than 23 points per game in the EYBL last summer for the Mac Irvin Fire while shooting 47.8 percent from the field. His decision to stay home and attend Illinois is a huge win for Underwood ahead of his first season in Champaign. Chicago is no easy place to recruit, but if Underwood can establish that pipeline, it would go a long way in bringing the Illini back to the top of the Big 10.

“I can come in and play in front of my home state,” Dosunmu told Rivals. “I want to do it for my home state and become the first five-star recruit to play for my state in a long time. I just want to start a new trend.“I know somebody would have to eventually do it.

“A team is never bad for so long. Just look at the Chicago Cubs; they were bad for 100 years but eventually they won the World Series. I just want to help start something new.”

Duke is No. 1 in the Preseason Coaches Poll once again

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The first Coaches Poll of the season was released on Thursday as Duke is the No. 1 team for the second consecutive season. Despite overhauling the roster with new freshmen talent, the Blue Devils received 20 first-place votes while Michigan State, Arizona and Florida also drew first-place consideration.

The top five isn’t too much of a surprise, although Florida getting a No. 1 vote while finishing at No. 7 in the poll is a bit puzzling. For a mid-major team, Oakland also received a considerable amount of votes just outside of the top 25.

  1. Duke (20 first place votes)
  2. Michigan State (9)
  3. Kansas
  4. Kentucky
  5. Arizona (2)
  6. Villanova
  7. Florida (1)
  8. Wichita State
  9. North Carolina
  10. West Virginia
  11. USC
  12. Miami
  13. Cincinnati
  14. Notre Dame
  15. Minnesota
  16. Louisville
  17. Xavier
  18. UCLA
  19. Gonzaga
  20. Northwestern
  21. Purdue
  22. St. Mary’s
  23. Seton Hall
  24. Baylor
  25. Alabama

Others receiving votes: Texas A&M 76; Virginia 57; Butler 43; Missouri 35; TCU 32; Rhode Island 31; Providence 21; Wisconsin 21; Maryland 20; Oakland 19; Oklahoma 19; Michigan 13; Texas 13; Virginia Tech 12; Oregon 12; Southern Methodist 6; Creighton 6; Georgia 3; Georgia Tech 3; Harvard 2; Arkansas 2; Florida State 1; South Carolina 1; Nevada 1.

SoCon Preview: Can Furman take over an unpredictable league?

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Beginning in September and running up through November 10th, the first day of the regular season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2017-2018 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

Today, we are previewing the SoCon.

The SoCon has been one of the most unpredictable conferences in college hoops over the last several years. Last season saw a three-way tie for first place in the regular season and the conference saw its third unique NCAA tournament representative in three years. This season should be wild as well as the SoCon has many of the nation’s elite three-point shooters returning.

Furman has a new head coach as Bob Richey was promoted to take over for Niko Medved (Drake) as he inherits a strong roster that won 23 games and tied for first last season. Four starters return for the Paladins, including senior guard and reigning SoCon Player of the Year Devin Sibley along with double-figure scorer Daniel Fowler. If Furman can get more interior help for its guard-heavy team then they could be the team to beat.

Returning the top seven scorers from a 20-win team, Samford has a lot of positive momentum in head coach Scott Padgett’s third season. Senior Demetrius Denzel-Dyson is one of the league’s most versatile talents as he’s joined by three more returning double-figure scorers. UNC Greensboro loses some firepower from a 25-win NIT team but junior sharpshooter Francis Alonso returns along with a good amount of interior depth. Replacing point guard Diante Baldwin could be key.

Five senior starters are back for Mercer including the dynamic backcourt duo of Ria’n Holland and Jordan Strawberry. Small forward Demetre Rivers also returns along with the frontcourt of Desmond Ringer and Stephon Jelks. The Bears have a lot of size but they need to improve defensively. East Tennessee State was the league’s autobid last season but the Buccaneers lose six dynamic seniors from that group. Guard Desonta Bradford is the team’s only returning double-figure scorer while junior college transfer forward Jeromy Rodriguez has a lot of hype as a scorer.

Wofford could be an intriguing team to watch as junior scorer Fletcher Magee leads the backcourt. Junior forward Cameron Jackson also returns as the Terriers have the personnel to either play a perimeter-oriented attack or more of a traditional lineup. Good news for Western Carolina as all five starters are back from last season’s team. But the Catamounts struggled to a 9-win season as the offense only shot 39 percent from the floor. Haboubacar Mutombo, nephew of Dikembe Mutombo, headlines the returning core.

The Citadel should continue to play fast as double-figure scorers like junior forward Zane Najdawi and sophomore gunner Preston Parks return.  New head coach Lamont Paris comes from Wisconsin to Chattanooga, and he doesn’t have any starters coming back from a 19-win team. Junior big man Makinde London showed promise as a role player last season for the Mocs. VMI lost its top three scorers from a young roster. Senior forward Armani Branch is the team’s only returning starter.

MORE: 2017-18 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

PRESEASON SOCON PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Devin Sibley, Furman

The reigning SoCon Player of the Year, the 6-foot-2 Sibley was a big-time scorer for Furman last season. Putting up 17.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, Sibley’s efficiency stood out. Shooting 52 percent from the floor and 44 percent from three-point range, Sibley rarely takes a bad shot.

THE REST OF THE PRESEASON ALL-SOCON TEAM

  • Ria’n Holland, Mercer: With 11 20-point games last season, this 6-foot, 152-pound senior is small but he packs a powerful scoring punch.
  • Francis Alonso, UNC Greensboro: A lethal perimeter shooter, the 6-foot-3 junior hit 102 triples at a 46 percent clip last season while putting up 14.9 points per game.
  • Demetrius Denzel-Dyson, Samford: Capable of playing multiple spots, the 6-foot-5 senior averaged 16.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while shooting 46 percent from three-point.
  • Fletcher Magee, Wofford: The 6-foot-4 junior averaged 18.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game last season while shooting 42 percent from three-point range and 89 percent from the free-throw line.

ONE TWITTER FEED TO FOLLOW: @SoConSports

PREDICTED FINISH

  1. Furman
  2. Samford
  3. UNC Greensboro
  4. Mercer
  5. ETSU
  6. Wofford
  7. Western Carolina
  8. Chattanooga
  9. The Citadel
  10. VMI

Colorado State’s Eustachy says Paul Weir has ‘worst job in the country’ at New Mexico

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New Mexico coach Paul Weir just landed his new job in April but Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy already believes that Weir has, “the worst job in the country.”

Speaking to reporters, including the Albuquerque Journal’s Geoff Grammer, at Mountain West preseason media day in Las Vegas on Wednesday, the outspoken Eustachy criticized Weir’s lack of pay at New Mexico for the amount of pressure he is dealing with.

“I think he’s got the worst job in the country,” Eustachy said of Weir. “I just told him that. It doesn’t pay enough. If I got paid $5 million, I’d take all that crap that you get in Albuquerque, but he doesn’t make enough money. But that place is different, as you know. It’s a different beast.”

As noted by Grammer, Eustachy once called the New Mexico job one of the best in the sport before previous head coach, and Eustachy’s friend, Craig “Noodles” Neal took the job. But after Neal’s exit from the Lobos and the way the New Mexico fanbase soured on Craig’s son, Cullen, Eustachy has taken a different course. He believes Weir isn’t making nearly enough money to deal with that kind of potential hostility.

“It’s a great job if you’re making $2 million, what they were going to give Steve Alford, but what they pay (Weir), no,” Eustachy said.

Alford is now at UCLA after leaving New Mexico in the spring of 2013. Before he ultimately went to the Bruins, Alford signed a 10-year term sheet with New Mexico for around $1.8 million per year. Before his recent firing, Neal had elevated his contract to $950,000 annually after making $750,000 in his first season. Weir will only make $625,000 to coach his first season in New Mexico after signing a six-year deal.

Eustachy believes New Mexico has one of the great fanbases in college basketball but the group will also turn quickly if things start to go wrong.

“You might get one mulligan in that town, and that’s before you do the press conference,” Eustachy said of New Mexico fans. “You know how that town works. I think it’s great on one end. Name them? You’ve got Lexington, Kentucky, you’ve got Syracuse, N.Y., you’ve got Duke, and New Mexico is in that 10. … And the jobs you name that are going in that 10, those guys are making $8 million and Noodles was making ($950,000). To succeed there, with the expectations that come with it, it’s rare to survive that thing. You know that.

“Can you imagine Alford, if he was still making $2 million and he had a couple bad years there, what it would do? And it’s neat that they’re that much into it, but there’s got to be something else besides basketball in Albuquerque because it is a religion there.”

Some strong words from Eustachy in this as he takes small jabs at the New Mexico fanbase while criticizing their administration for being cheap. It’s admirable that Eustachy is advocating more pay for one of his colleagues but you have to wonder if doing this in a very public way is the best course of action.

Now when Colorado State travels to New Mexico on Jan. 27, there will be a lot of pressure on Eustachy, and his players, in what could be a hostile road environment. That’s a Saturday night game to keep an eye on later this season.