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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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Motley plays big in No. 11 Baylor’s win over No. 10 West Virginia

Baylor forward Johnathan Motley (5) reacts to a play against Texas in first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 74-64. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald via AP)
Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald via AP
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Even as Baylor has floundered some down the stretch, the Bears have been able to count on Johnathan Motley being a monster. The 6-foot-10 forward has been putting up numbers and shooting up draft boards.

Against No. 10 West Virginia, he showed off all his skills – and it resulted in a win, as the 11th-ranked Bears topped the Mountaineers, 71-62, in Waco on Monday in a much-needed victory.

Motley was superb once again, going for 23 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two assists in 35 minutes. He shot it well from the field, going 6 of 12, but was a perfect 11 of 11 from the free-throw line. It was a big-time performance, especially with point guard Manu Lecomte out with an ankle injury.

Monday was nothing particularly special in terms of performance from Motley as he’s been consistently great during Big 12 play. He had 27 and 11 against Iowa State and 21 and 16 against Oklahoma just last week alone. He’s been overshadowed some by Baylor’s early season success – the story was the Bears and coach Scott Drew, not Motley – and that Frank Mason is not only the no-doubt Big 12 player of the year, but maybe the frontrunner for the national award as well.

He’s been really, really good.

Motley is averaging just short of a double-double with 17.3 points and 9.8 rebounds along with 1.0 blocks per game. He’s not the double-double machine of Caleb Swanigan, but he’s got nine during Big 12 play. He also put up 32 points and 20 rebounds against Texas. There aren’t many better performances than that around the country.

Against the Mountaineers, Motley struggled some early, going 1 of 5 from the field with just four points in the first half. He made five of his next seven shots, though, and made nine second-half free throws to score 19 after the break to get Baylor in the win column after a three-losses-in-four-games stretch.

Jo Lual-Acuil rightfully gets a ton of credit for being the anchor of Baylor’s defense, but pairing the 7-footer with Motley is what makes the Bears’ defense so stout. Teams have an effective field goal percentage of just 44.8 against the Bears and are making just 43.8 percent of their shots inside the arc. The length of Lual-Acuil and Motley is a huge reason why.

The game was somewhat rare for West Virginia as the Mountaineers forced 18 turnovers, which was at a rate of 26.5 percent (better than their Big 12 average), and still lost. Some of it certainly can be attributed to the absence of forward Esa Ahmad, who was out with a back injury, but 3 of 15 shooting from 3-point range was a killer overall.

West Virginia and Baylor are jockeying with Iowa State for second place in the Big 12, but if everyone holds serve, it’ll be a three-way tie in the country’s toughest conference. If the Cyclones can win in Morgantown on Friday, though, Steve Prohm’s group will claim the spot outright. If West Virginia wins, the most likely scenario (assuming Baylor beats Texas) puts the Mountaineers second, Baylor third and Iowa State fourth for the tournament in Kansas City next week.

No. 23 Virginia holds No. 5 North Carolina to 43 points in statement win

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - FEBRUARY 27: Kyle Guy #5 of the Virginia Cavaliers shoots the ball during Virginia's game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at John Paul Jones Arena on February 27, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images)
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What a difference a week makes.

Just eight days ago, down in Chapel Hill, North Carolina handed Virginia the kind of whooping that changes the narrative of a season. The final score was 65-41, but that really doesn’t do it justice. At one point late in the second half, the Wahoos were trailing 63-36.

The story was totally different on Monday night.

Despite digging themselves a 7-0 hole in the first two minutes of the game, No. 23 Virginia knocked off No. 5 North Carolina, 53-43, in a revenge game. The Tar Heels haven’t been held to 43 points or less in a game since Feb. 24th, 1979, and that game came before the shot clock was introduced to college basketball. Dean Smith’s Tar Heels stalled for the entire first half, taking just two shots and heading into half time down 7-0.

They would eventually lose 47-40:

The previous low for points scored by a Roy Williams-coached UNC team was 45 points when they lost 57-45 at Syracuse on Jan. 11th, 2014.

That should give you an idea of just how impressive Virginia’s defense was on Monday night before you factor in that the Tar Heels are one of the nation’s top five offensive teams, according to KenPom. But they just never could get into any kind of a rhythm. Tony Bennett had them scouted to perfection, eliminating Kennedy Meeks from the game with his patented post-doubles and using London Perrantes to harass Justin Jackson for 40 minutes. Jackson never once looked comfortable, not for one possession.

With the loss, the Tar Heels now need to beat Duke in the season finale at the Dean Dome to win the outright ACC regular season title.

And while the attention for this win is going to be on UNC and their struggles, the real story here is Virginia.

UVA’s loss to UNC last Saturday was their third loss in a four-game losing streak. They snapped that streak against N.C. State over the weekend, and seemed to find their groove again on Monday. Their issue has never been on the defensive side of the ball; it’s their ability to score, and they may have found their cure: Kyle Guy. The kid with the top-knot that is incorrectly referred to as a man-bun by everyone. (Trust me on that.)

Guy had played just two minutes in the overtime loss to Miami earlier in the week and was just 1-for-10 from the floor in the previous three games, a stretch where UVA scored just 144 points in 125 minutes of basketball. He had 19 points in the win over N.C. State and 17 points on Monday night, hitting five threes and providing UVA with a go-to option offensively. He’s uniquely suited to playing the role that Malcolm Brogdon and Joe Harris have played because he’s a lights-out shooter with quick feet, a quick release and an ability to read defenses as a runs off of screens. His presence opens up their offense.

As long as he’s good enough defensively, he’ll be able to see the floor.

And if he’s good enough defensively, UVA can be good enough offensively to win games like this.

Prosecutors detail allegations against Creighton’s Watson

OMAHA, NE - JANUARY 21: Maurice Watson Jr. #10 of the Creighton Bluejays receives and ovation before their game against the Marquette Golden Eagles at CenturyLink Center on January 21, 2017 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images
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Former Creighton star Maurice Watson appeared in front of a Douglas County judge Monday after turning himself into authorities Sunday following the issuance of a warrant for his arrest Thursday on the charge of first-degree sexual assault.

Watson’s bail was set at $750,000, which he would have to produce 10 percent of to be released from jail.

Prosecutors also detailed some of the allegations against Watson from the night of Feb. 3, when a 19-year-old woman alleges he raped her. Graphic details of the prosecution’s allegations can found here.

Watson’s attorneys said he denies the allegations.

Creighton said Sunday that Watson is barred from campus and not enrolled as a student, according to the Omaha World-Herald.  The Bluejays announced last week that Watson, who has been sidelined since tearing his ACL last month, had been suspended.

Coaches Poll: Gonzaga drops to fourth

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few (Getty Images)
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Gonzaga feel from first to fourth in the latest Coaches Poll after suffering its first loss of the season over the weekend.

Kansas moves into the top spot with UCLA and Villanova tied at No. 2.

The Bulldogs lost 79-71 to BYU at home after winning the first 29 games of the season.

The Jayhawks have won six-straight heading into Monday’s tilt with Oklahoma.

Here’s the full poll:

1. Kansas (23)

2. UCLA (3)

2. Villanova (5)

4. Gonzaga (1)

5. North Carolina

6. Oregon

7. Louisville

8. Arizona

9. Kentucky

10. West Virginia

11. Baylor

12. Florida

13. Notre Dame

14. Duke

15. Butler

16. Purdue

17. Florida State

18. Saint Mary’s

19. SMU

20. Cincinnati

21. Wisconsin

22. Wichita State

23. Virginia

24. Iowa State

25. Miami

AP Poll: Kansas moves to No. 1, Villanova 2nd, UCLA 3rd

LAWRENCE, KS - JANUARY 14:  Josh Jackson #11 of the Kansas Jayhawks reacts after a foul during the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Allen Fieldhouse on January 14, 2017 in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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Kansas is the new No. 1 in The Associated Press college basketball poll.

The Jayhawks (26-3) moved up two places to the top spot, receiving 58 first-place votes Monday from the 65-member national media panel.

Kansas is the sixth school to be No. 1 this season. The Jayhawks were on top last season for five weeks, including the final three polls of the season.

Villanova (27-3) remained second despite losing to Butler last week. The Wildcats were No. 1 on two ballots. UCLA (26-3), which was No. 1 on three ballots, moved up from fifth to third after its win over Arizona on Saturday.

Gonzaga (29-1) fell to fourth after losing its first game of the season, an upset by BYU on Saturday. The Zags, who had been No. 1 for the last four polls, received two first-place votes.

North Carolina moved from eighth to fifth and was followed by Oregon, Arizona, Louisville, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Here’s the full top 25″

  1. Kansas (58)
  2. Villanova (2)
  3. UCLA (3)
  4. Gonzaga (2)
  5. North Carolina
  6. Oregon
  7. Arizona
  8. Louisville
  9. Kentucky
  10. West Virginia
  11. Baylor
  12. Florida
  13. Butler
  14. SMU
  15. Florida State
  16. Purdue
  17. Duke
  18. Cincinnati
  19. Notre Dame
  20. St. Mary’s
  21. Wichita State
  22. Wisconsin
  23. Virginia
  24. Iowa State
  25. Miami