The Morning Mix

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The theme of the weekend was “Overtime”. Ten of the 160 games this weekend went into overtime. Tennessee and Texas A&M went to quadruple overtime. Alabama and LSU went to triple overtime. Milwaukee and IUPUI went into double overtime. Seven other games featured an extra session. In all, we got 80 minutes of free basketball this weekend.

Let’s hit the links.

Monday’s Top games:
7:00 p.m. – No. 8 Syracuse @ No. 17 Marquette
7:00 p.m. – Texas Tech @ No. 13 Kansas State
9:00 p.m. – Villanova @ Seton Hall
9:00 p.m. – No. 9 Kansas @ Iowa State
Top Stories:
Georgetown exacts their Big East revenge by exposing Syracuse: John Thompson III used the 2-3 zone against Syracuse to perfection on Saturday and Otto Porter did the rest, as the Hoyas ended their rivals’ 28-game home win streak.

Kendall Williams’ 46 points lead New Mexico to huge win at Colorado State: Williams’ put on one of the best individual performances of the season against a ranked Colorado State team. Oh yeah, he was 10-13 from beyond the arc.

Will Miami’s loss to Wake Forest be a wake-up call or a sign of trouble?We all knew this was coming. The ‘Canes looked vulnerable in their three previous games, and they spotted the Demon Deacons 19 points early on, a deficit Miami was unable to close.

Stony Brook clinches third America East title in last four years: Steve Pikiell is one of the most underrated coaches in the country. He took over a Stony Brook program that was an utter mess in 2005. He turned them around quickly and has led them to three America East championships in the past four seasons.

Aaron Craft’s offensive explosion keys Ohio State win over MSU: Aaron Craft makes his living as one of the top defenders in the country. But on Sunday it was his offense that fueled the Buckeyes marquee victory over Michigan State.

Oregon State freshman gets technical for dunking pregame, Beavers lose by 1 to Cal: The headline says it all.

In you had forgotten, Trey Burke is still in the Player of the Year race: Victor Oladipo and Otto Porter have stolen the Player of the Year spotlight as of late, but we shouldn’t forget about what Trey Burke is accomplishing.

Small ball gets North Carolina their third-straight win: Roy Williams changed things up last week, deciding to go with a four-guard lineup that better fit his team, and so far it seems to be working.

Hoops Housekeeping:
– Seton Hall recruit Aquille Carr is keeping his options open and may spurn college in favor of playing overseas. (New York Post)

– Montana’s postseason hopes took a big hit this weekend when Will Cherry re-broke his foot. The Grizzlies are already without Mathias Ward, their leading scorer. (Big Sky Bball)
Observations & Insight:
– The New York Times rips Duke and “Krzyzewskiville”, citing that the university is for education, not sleeping in tents. This is ripe. (New York Times)

– Nebraska head coach Tim Miles did not a make single substitution in the second half against Iowa on Saturday. It worked. The Huskers won 64-60 after trailing by as many as 19 points. He didn’t like the look of his eight-man rotation, so he shortened it up to just five. (Lincoln Journal Star)

– The City-6, also known the Big-5 plus Drexel, has three teams trying to get off the bubble and in to the big dance as the season comes to an end. (Penn Live)

– The Georgetown-Syracuse rivalry has had a lot of mediocre players. Wait, what? (Deadspin)

– Ryan Fagan takes a look at the teams on the bubble that improved their odds this weekend and those who did not. (Sporting News)

– Some NIT-ology for you because we can never have enough NIT-ology. (Big Apple Buckets)
Odds & Ends
– The ESPN Game Day bus is the ultimate road trip vehicle. But did you know that it’s unnocupied during the week? (USA Today)

– Mike Bruesewitz got a new haircut, and it’s awesome. (The Dagger)

– Right after Kansas lost to TCU, I tackled the “Top 10 upsets” of the season. CHD does a good job rehashing the bizarre 18-point home loss Villanova suffered to Columbia, and fills you in on two that just nearly missed my list. (College Hoops Digest)
Dunk of the Day:
There is no player in the country better at in-bounds ally-oops than Sam Thompson.

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VIDEO: Kris Dunn wills Providence to win over No. 11 Arizona

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Kris Dunn spent the first 35 minutes of Friday night’s game against No. 11 Arizona in foul trouble, splitting his time between sitting on the bench and trying to avoid finding himself, again, on the wrong side the whistle.

With 11 minutes left in the game, and with Dunn yet to find a rhythm, the all-american point guard was whistled for his fourth foul as he battled for a rebound with Arizona’s Mark Tollefsen. Head coach Ed Cooley say his superstar beside his for six game minutes, time enough for Arizona to turn a 49-47 deficit into a 58-54 lead.

There were just over five minutes left when Dunn reentered the second semifinal of the Wooden Legacy, and he proceeded to show everyone in the country why he was named the Preseason Player of the Year. Providence had nine possessions after he reentered the game. Dunn scored 11 points and had a pair of assists on those eight possessions, and if Ben Bentil had stuck a wide-open three — that was setup by Dunn — the Friars would have scored on all nine.

In total, Dunn was responsible for all 15 Friar points in a game-changing, 15-7 run in the final 4:30. It was capped off by this Kobe-in-his-prime-esque game-winner:

The win for Providence is huge for a couple of reasons:

  • Dunn showed a killer instinct against a marquee opponent, something that we didn’t necessarily see out of him a season ago. He wasn’t going to let his team lose, and given that Providence doesn’t have anyone else that can consistently create good shots, they are going to need that from him a lot this year.
  • It makes a statement for the Friars. Arizona is overrated at No. 11 in the country, yes, but going out on national television against an elite program and getting this kind of performance from Dunn is a confidence-booster and a tone-setter. Providence hasn’t been accustomed to winning in recent years. This is a way to set a trend.
  • Ben Bentil continues to play like a star. Dunn had 19 points and eight assists on Friday, but Bentil followed up a 24-point performance in the win over Evansville with 21 critical points on Friday.

This win sets up a matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence on Sunday night, which means that Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn — the two best players in the country, sorry Ben Simmons — will be going head-to-head.

Oh. Hell. Yes.

No. 14 Cal goes 0-2 in Las Vegas Invitational

Jaylen Brown
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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After midnight on the east coast on Thanksgiving, No. 14 Cal blew a 15 point second half lead against San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to use a 30-6 run to put away the game and advance to the final of the Las Vegas Invitational. That’s the same San Diego State team had scored 43 points in a loss to Arkansas-Little Rock last week.

Not 24 hours later, the Golden Bears were shredded defensively by the Richmond Spiders, losing 94-90 in the consolation game of a four-team tournament they were considered to be the heavy favorite in.

It’s a disappointing two-game stretch for Cal, who entered the season as a Pac-12 favorite and had looked the part for the first four games of the season.

And the issue appears to be on the defensive end of the floor.

Richmond is a good Atlantic 10 team. Terry Allen and Marshall Wood are high-major big men, Shawn’Dre Jones is a jitterbug at the point and Chris Mooney runs a Princeton-esque system that is very difficult to prepare for without a day in-between games. So it’s not really surprising that the Spiders gave Cal a fight.

But 94 points?

On the heels of giving up 44 points in the second half against the offensively-challenged Aztecs?

That’s a problem, one that I’m sure that Cuonzo Martin is going to address this week in practice. Martin has managed to put together a roster that is build for small-ball, with four talented perimeter players surrounding a first round pick in the post. But that’s not the style that he’s known for. Martin played his college ball at Purdue in the Gene Keady days. He cut his teeth as a head coach at Missouri State in the Missouri Valley. His team’s at Tennessee were known for being tough and physical defensively.

That’s how Martin coaches, which is part of the reason Cal had such hype entering the year.

The talents of Tyrone Wallace, Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews on a team with a coach that gets teams to defend the way Martin does? It’s no surprise that pundits would be optimistic.

But as of now, they have some work to do defensively if they want to live up to that hype.