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The Morning Mix

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Not too much heavy lifting last night. Cal beat Oregon thanks to a Justin Cobbs buzzer-beater. Delaware beat Drexel in double overtime on a controversial no call, and if you get to the bottom, you’ll be rewarded with a hilarious story about a radio broadcaster who doesn’t take no flack from no referee.

Enjoy.

Let’s hit the links.

Friday’s Top games:
7:00 p.m. – Saint Louis @ No. 15 Butler
7:00 p.m. – North Dakota State @ Akron
9:00 p.m. – Stephen F. Austin @ Long Beach State
 
 
Top Stories:
CBT Podcast: NCAA Tournament contenders gear up for the stretch run: Rob Dauster joins Troy Machir (That’s me) to discuss the latest news and notes from the college hoops world. It’s called “The best 30 minutes in college basketball” for a reason.

NCAA tournament berth, Pac-12 regular season crown well within California’s reach: A Justin Cobbs’ jumper with 0.7 seconds remaining sealed a victory for the Golden Bears over No. 23 Oregon. Cal has now won six of their last seven and are still in contention for an at-large birth and a Pac-12 Championship.

Delaware’s double overtime win over Drexel features controversial finish: A Frantz Massenat runner in the final seconds of double overtime was blocked by Delaware’s Jamelle Hagins, and it certainly looked as if the officials missed a goaltending violation.

Shabazz Napier, Kevin Ollie angling for Big East postseason hardware: Kevin Ollie is the leading candidate for Big East Coach of the Year, and junior guard Shabazz Napier has to be considered a top contender for the Big East Player of the Year award, all the while unable to participate in postseason play.

Balanced effort in win over Big 5 rival La Salle bodes well for Temple: The Atlantic-10 looks like a four team league, with a handful of teams fighting for that last spot. La Salle could have solidified their resume with a win over Temple, but the Owls prevailed.

Month of February once again problematic for Minnesota: over the last three years Minnesota has amassed a 4-17 record in the month of February. That’s not a good stat. The Gophers are slipping and sliding towards the bubble.
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping:
– Former Boston Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine has been named as the new Athletic Director at Sacred Heart University. Yeah, I’m confused too. (ESPN)

– Two former Miami basketball assistants filed a motion on Thursday to have their infractions cases dismissed because of mistakes made by the NCAA. (ESPN)

– Montana is in first place in the Big Sky Conference with a 15-1 record. But they could be without their leading scorer Mathias Ward for a while due to a foot injury. This is bad news for the Grizzlies and good news for Weber State, who sits in second place at 14-2. (Big Sky BBall)

Michigan State guard Gary Harris is still dealing with shoulder issue. The freshman has been banged up all season and recently had his left shoulder pop out of its socket against Indiana. (College Basketball Talk)

– Syracuse freshman Dajuan Coleman returned to practice for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in late January. Four week to recovery from knee surgery? Impressive. (Syracuse Post-Standard)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– The latest installment of Jeff Goodman’s “Good ‘N Plenty” covers a wide variety of subjects with inside information that only Goodman can get. I think. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Seth Davis debunks a bevy of myths tied to Selection Sunday in his latest “Hoops Thoughts” column. (Sports Illustrated)

– Dick “Hoops” Weiss thinks the NCAA should penalize themselves when they make an error just as a university would if they did something illegal. In principle, this makes sense. The problem is that the solution is not very practical. (New York Daily News)

– The Big Ten is known for such low-scoring affairs that its unofficial motto is “first to fifty”. This study from Mark Bashuk puts some statistics to go with the motto. (The Big Lead)

– Northwestern will not make the tournament this season, thus continuing their streak of NCAA tournament futility. Bill Carmody has been at Northwestern for 13 years, and has been on the hot seat for nearly all of them. Is this the year he finally gets canned? (Lake the Posts)

– Tom Izzo calls the groin-punching incident involving Derrick Nix “ridiculous”. (MLive.com)

– An all-inclusive look at the races for conference championships. (College Hoops Heaven)

– Could Nerlens Noel still win the Freshman of the Year award in the SEC despite missing the final month of the season due to an ACL injury. (Rush The Court)
 
 
Odds & Ends
– Bob Ramsey is the radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Saint Louis Billikens. During their big win over VCU on Wednesday, a referee had some issues with what Ramsey had to say during the broadcast. Not only is this incident in its elf absolutely hilarious, but Ramsey’s response is sheer gold. (The Dagger)
 
 
Video of the Day:
What you are about to see is the greatest halfcourt shot in the history of Earth. No, I am not joking at all.

 
 
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 (@Tro

John Calipari helping to raise money for Louisiana flood victims

AP
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It’s easy to be critical of John Calipari.

You don’t have to be a Louisville fan to know all the jokes by now. He cheated at UMass. He cheated at Memphis. He’s had two Final Fours vacated. Teflon John. Yada yada yada.

I get it. Negativity comes with success, particularly for someone who is as brash about his success as Coach Cal is.

But even Cal’s harshest critics cannot begrudge the work he does — can get his players to do — for charity and how well he can harness the power of Big Blue Nation to make a tangible difference. Remember the ‘Hoops for Haiti’ telethon that raised more than $1 million to help earthquake victims back in 2010? Or the hundreds of thousands of dollars he raised for Hurricane Sandy relief? Or when his fantasy camps generated more than $1 million in charitable donations?

And should I mention the amount of times that stories of Kentucky players befriending sick kids or visiting children’s hospitals?

The cynic in me could say that all of this is for branding, helping ensure his players are image-conscious and aware of the sponsorship opportunities that come with being a likable, relatable and humble athlete. There’s probably some truth to that.

But do you think the kids that get visits from their Big Blue heroes care? Do you think it matters to the charities that get seven-figure checks to help with disaster relief?

I say all that to say this: During a press conference on Thursday morning, Cal had this to say, via SEC Country:

Calipari said former UK star Anthony Davis (currently of the New Orleans Pelicans) told Calipari, “Coach, you gotta do something” for Baton Rouge flood victims. Davis is out of the country but will try to get back for Sunday’s softball game to help. His 2012 title teammates, Terrence Jones and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, were not previously on the celeb list for Sunday but will be there.

Calipari has decided to donate all proceeds from Sunday’s alumni/celebrity softball game will go to the Baton Rouge flood-relief fund, through Red Cross. “So what I’m asking you to do is buy these tickets.” They’re $5 apiece. The previously raised funds will still go to the other designated charities, like each year.

For those so inclined, you can donate to the flooding fund by texting “GIVE” to 859-955-8173.

Vermont women cancels game in North Carolina over HB2

DURHAM, NC - MAY 10:  A unisex sign and the "We Are Not This" slogan are outside a bathroom at Bull McCabes Irish Pub on May 10, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina.  Debate over transgender bathroom access spreads nationwide as the U.S. Department of Justice countersues North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory from enforcing the provisions of House Bill 2 that dictate what bathrooms transgender individuals can use.  (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)
Sara D. Davis/Getty Images
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The University of Vermont is the latest in a ever-growing line of organizations canceling events in North Carolina due to the controversial HB2 law.

The Catamounts will not be traveling to play the Tar Heels on Dec. 28th as previously scheduled.

“We strive very hard to create an inclusive climate for our students and staff in which they all can feel safe, respected, and valued,” the school wrote in a statement. “It would be hard to fulfill these obligations while competing in a state with this law, which is contrary to our values as an athletic department and university.”

“This decision was made in consultation with our coaches, the women’s basketball team, and key university officials. We fully understand and sympathize with the impact that this decision may have on the North Carolina women’s basketball schedule. However, we believe this decision is consistent with our values and the conversations with our coaches and student team members. These were the most important considerations.”

Known as the “bathroom bill”, HB2 is the law that requires transgender people to use the bathroom of the sex that they were born not the sex they identify with.

Earlier this year, Albany was forced to cancel a trip to Duke due to legislation in New York regarding visits to North Carolina. The NBA has taken the 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte, and the NCAA is heavily considering pulling NCAA tournament games from the state.

Interestingly, ACC commissioner John Swofford was very non-committal on the subject when asked yesterday.

Derek Willis won’t be suspended for offseason citiation

Kentucky's Derek Willis (35) hits an uncontested three point shot during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 80-70. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
AP Photo/James Crisp
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John Calipari gave a press conference on Thursday morning and, for the first time since his arrest in June, the Kentucky head coach spoke about Derek Willis.

Willis, if you’ve forgotten, was found passed out in the street outside the open driver’s side door of his car at 4:30 a.m. You can see video of the arrest here. Willis is very lucky he wasn’t killed, and that he didn’t kill anyone else trying to drive in that condition.

Cal said that Willis will not be suspended for any games, but “Derek knows he’s under a different eye now than he was.” He did not elaborate on what kind of punishment Willis will receive beyond that, saying that “I don’t throw people under the bus.”

To be honest, I’m a little surprised that Willis won’t be forced to miss any games, but if we’re being frank, sitting out an exhibition and Kentucky’s opener sounds much more appealing than the kind of, ahem, ‘conditioning drills’ that Willis has likely spent the summer doing.

PODCAST: Boeheim’s non-controversy and the coaches we don’t want to fight

Jim Boeheim
AP Photo/Nick Lisi
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In today’s podcast, I’m joined by Travis Hines to discuss stuff that has been in the news over the course of the last two weeks, specifically Jim Boeheim’s comments about Carmelo Anthony and why it is a total non-controversy.

We also dive into why Boeheim’s comments are forced to be taken out of context as well as Monte’ Morris, ‘Pancake’ Thomas and which college basketball coaches we would least like to fight.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.

Cyclones add big man for 2017

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 15:  Head coach Steve Prohm of the Murray State Racers shouts from the sidelines against the Colorado State Rams  during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Iowa State secured its first commitment Wednesday of what will be a pivotal class of forwards in 2017.

KeyShawn Faezell of Mississippi committed to Steve Prohm and the Cyclones, he announced Wednesday.

“After praying to God to lead me in the right path and talking with my dad,” Faezell wrote, “I’ve decided to further my education and basketball career under coach Prohm at Iowa State University.”

Faezell, a 6-foot-9 consensus top-150 forward in the 2017 class, joins wing Terrence Lewis as the first two members of a class that figures to number at least six for ISU. The addition of Faezell is key because ISU will be losing three members of its frontcourt it will likely be leaning on heavily in 2015-16 in Deonte Burton, Merrill Holden and Darrell Bowie. A 2016 big man, Cameron Lard, has also yet to enroll in classes this fall due to academic issues, making Faezell’s commitment even more important should Lard be unable to get clearance.

“They need some people to come in and compete,” Feazell told the Ames Tribune. “I think I fit in the program.”

Prohm’s teams dating back to his Murray State days have always been guard-oriented and guard-heavy, but beginning to stack the roster with quality big men will be key as he looks to continue the Cyclones’ success in the Big 12, which includes a school-record five-straight NCAA tournament appearances.