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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)


 
 
Do you like the new Morning Mix? Hate it? Have a suggestion or want something featured? Troy Machir will take all your praise, insults and inquiries via Twitter (@TroyMachir)

2016-17 Season Preview: Programs on the Rise, Decline

Rick Stansbury, left, speaks at a news conference where he was announced as the new men's NCAA college basketball coach at Western Kentucky on Monday, March 28, 2016, in Bowling Green, Ky. (AP Photo/Michael Noble Jr.)
AP Photo/Michael Noble Jr.
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Beginning in September and running up until November 11th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2016-2017 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2016-17 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

Almost every program in the country begins the season with optimism and an idea of how the season might break their way, but the reality is that only some schools are destined to meet or exceed expectations and others are fated to fail to reach their goals.

Here’s a look at where we see 10 programs headed in the future, five that are on the rise and five that may never reach their peak again.

MORE: All-Americans | Expert Picks | A Different Grayson Allen?

Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams celebrates in the final moments of the Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech NCAA basketball game in Blacksburg, Va., Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. Virginia Tech won 65-63.  (AP Photo / The Roanoke Times, Matt Gentry)    LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; SALEM TIMES REGISTER OUT; FINCASTLE HERALD OUT;  CHRISTIANBURG NEWS MESSENGER OUT; RADFORD NEWS JOURNAL OUT; ROANOKE STAR SENTINEL OUT
Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Matt Gentry)

PROGRAMS ON THE RISE

Virginia Tech: It hasn’t been the smoothest transition for Buzz Williams in Blacksburg, but it looks as though the Hokies are now ready to take the next step forward. They’re returning the bulk of last year’s team — namely Seth Allen and Zach LeDay — that went 10-8 in the ACC, won its last five regular-season games and knocked off Florida State in the conference tournament. They also picked off a pair of top ten teams during the year in Miami and North Carolina. No one can motivate a group of players that feel disrespected for being overlooked the way that Buzz can, and that’s what he has this year.

Memphis: I don’t think anyone is expecting Tubby Smith to add to his national championship count with the Tigers, but Smith proved at Texas Tech that he’s still capable of winning more than 40 years into his career. He got the Red Raiders into the NCAA tournament, and the job in Lubbock is significantly more difficult than it is in Memphis, albeit with lower expectations. Still, expect Smith to consistently get the Tigers into the Dance and out of the malaise of the last few years of the Josh Pastner era. His public reputation is negative — part of the fallout from his split with Kentucky a decade ago — but Smith has outperformed expectations at every job that he has had throughout his career.

TCU: The Horned Frogs are dumping money into hoops to climb out of the Big 12 cellar, and early returns suggest its working. They upgraded their facilities in a big way with a $72-million arena renovation and, more importantly, went and got alum Jamie Dixon to leave a stagnant – yet successful – situation at Pitt. Dixon is a proven winner and already is pulling in four-star recruits. The dividends may not be paid in full this season, but the Frogs are on the come up in a big way.

Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers have had plenty of success in their history, but it appears that first-year coach Rick Stansbury is setting things up for a major upgrade. First, he brought one-time Texas A&M Class of 2017 five-star commit Mitchell Robinson over with him and then added top-60, four-star guard Josh Anderson. There’s not a program in C-USA that can even come close to matching that kind of talent. And while the future is incredibly bright, he’s also added a number of transfers — including Providence’s Junior Lomomba and Washington State’s Que Johnson, both of whom are eligible this season — to bolster the roster this season.

Rhode Island: Last year was supposed to be a breakthrough for the Rams, but the torn ACL of E.C. Matthews derailed those dreams and stuck Rhode Island in mediocrity. Given Matthews’ talent and an almost bonus year of experience from the rest of the roster, things seem to be coalescing for Rhode Island to have a memorable – if not better – season under Dan Hurley. Their back court (Matthews, Jarvis Garrett, Jared Terrell, Stanford Robinson) is one of the best in the country.

PROGRAMS ON THE DECLINE

UNLV: It’s not like the Runnin’ Rebels were exactly killing it under Dave Rice, but they were recruiting at a level new coach Marvin Menzies isn’t likely to match. Also, the process for replacing Rice shined a light on how coaches see the UNLV job and the situation at the school. The Rick Pitino rumors never materialized and then they couldn’t pry Mick Cronin from Cincinnati before agreeing to terms with first-year Arkansas-Little Rock coach Chris Beard, whose contract wasn’t approved until two weeks later after a contentious Board of Regents vote. Then Beard bounced for Texas Tech just a couple weeks later, leaving the Rebs with Menzies and a roster that had just two scholarship players on it. The rebuild won’t be impossible, but it will take some time.

Georgetown: After four-straight seasons of being at least a top-six seed in the NCAA tournament, the Hoyas have missed the dance in two of the last three years, finishing below .500 last season for the first time since a 13-15 mark got Craig Esherick fired in 2004. The Hoyas aren’t developing their talent like we’ve seen in the past, and they’re likely to finish in the middle of the Big East pack this season, a couple of red flags that the program isn’t exactly trending upward.

Missouri: This may not even be an accurate spot for the Tigers given they’ve had just 19 wins overall and six in the SEC during Kim Anderson’s first two years in Columbia, but considering Anderson’s 2016 recruiting class didn’t feature a player ranked in the top-200 of 247Sports’ composite rankings and only one returner averaged double-digit scoring last year, rock bottom may still be looming for Missouri.

Stephen F. Austin: This one is almost just by default given the success the Lumberjacks have enjoyed in recent years. Brad Underwood is at Oklahoma State and Thomas Walkup is in the pros, and Stephen F. Austin really can’t improve one what those two accomplished together. One league loss in three years and two Southland Player of the Year awards is basically impossible to match, let alone top. New coach Kyle Keller has a great resume and tons of experience recruiting Texas, but some sort of step back seems inevitable given the heights Underwood brought to the program.

Nebraska: Tim Miles arrived with a lot of enthusiasm four years ago and Nebraska opened a $180-million arena in 2013, but the Huskers have just one NCAA tournament appearance and three losing seasons to show for it. The late grad transfer of Andrew White is a major blow, and Nebraska simply doesn’t have a ton of talent or experience on the roster, nor do they appear to be making any major gains on the recruiting trail. Simply put, Miles is finding out what all his predecessors have – it’s very hard to win in Lincoln.

Georgetown coach John Thompson III speaks before practice for an NCAA college basketball second round game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, March 18, 2015. Georgetown plays Eastern Washington on Thursday. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Georgetown coach John Thompson III (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

VIDEO: Asheville player hits trick shot

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 18:  Kevin Vannatta #10 of the UNC Asheville Bulldogs drives against Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats in the first half during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 18, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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UNC-Asheville has gotten into the trick shot game.

The basketball program’s official Twitter account posted this video of guard Kevin Vannatta nailing a shot from the balcony of Kimmel Arena.

Nice shot, huh?

Vannatta, a junior from Upper Arlington, Ohio, started all 34 games for the Bulldogs last year, averaging 11.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from 3-point range. It looks, though , like he might be working on extending his range.

Northwestern finds new home for 2017-18

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Northwestern has found a temporary home while its arena undergoes a nine-figure renovation.

The Wildcats will play the 2017-18 season at Allstate Arena, about 15 miles west of Evanston, Ill. in Rosemont, the school announced Tuesday.

“We are excited to partner with Allstate Arena to host Northwestern men’s basketball games during the 2017-18 season while Welsh-Ryan Arena is undergoing its renovation,” Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips said in a statement. “The venue has a rich college basketball tradition in the Chicagoland area. I know that our fans will enjoy cheering on our team at Allstate Arena during what will be an exciting season.”

Allstate Arena previously had been home to DePaul, which is moving into its own new building this year. Capacity is around 18,000 for basketball.

Northwestern had its best season under coach Chris Collins last year, going 20-12 overall and 8-10 in the Big Ten.

The renovation to Welsh-Ryan Arena will bring the building – which opened in 1952 and last renovated in 1983 – into the 21st century by replacing wood bleachers, widening concourses, adding concessions, improving arena technology and adding new locker rooms at the cost of at least $110 million.

Construction is slated to begin in spring of 2017 and be completed in the fall of 2018.

George Washington tabs Maurice Joseph interim head coach

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George Washington announced on Tuesday that Maurice Joseph has been named interim head coach for the 2016-17 season.

“I am eager and well prepared to begin this journey with the 13 student-athletes in our locker room and the tight-knit group of coaches that I will rely upon heavily,” said Joseph. “It is a distinct honor to have the opportunity to be a mentor to our team in this new role. I have the utmost confidence that I will validate the trust that Provost Maltzman and Patrick Nero have placed in me, and that we will deliver a product that makes our students, alumni and fans across the globe proud of GW Basketball and the university.”

Joseph has been a part of the GW coaching staff for the last five years, a full-time assistant for the last three.

He takes over for Mike Lonergan, who coached Joseph for three years at Vermont. Lonergan was fired two weeks ago stemming from an investigation into allegations of abuse.

Lonergan’s other two assistants, Hajj Turner and Carmen Marciariello, both were interviewed for the position as well, according to sources. Turner had been Lonergan’s associate head coach for the past five years, since Lonergan took over at GW.

“In his five years at GW, Maurice has shown himself to be selflessly dedicated to the success of our student-athletes and fully committed to our department and university,” said Nero, GW’s athletic director. “His leadership ability and basketball acumen will bring focus and stability to the talented team we have this year. Our team, basketball staff and athletic department are looking forward to working together for a successful season.”

2016-17 CBT Expert Picks

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10:  Head coach Mike Krzyzewski hugs Grayson Allen #3 of the Duke Blue Devils after he fouled out against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during their 84-79 overtime loss during the quarterfinals of the 2016 ACC Basketball Tournament Verizon Center on March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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We are now less than six weeks away from the start of the college basketball season, which means that it is time for us to officially get our picks on the record.

Here, our four writers pick who we think will win each league, the national title and the major awards:

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