The Morning Mix

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Indiana and Florida lost on the road last night. Minnesota and Tennessee both picture up resume-boosting wins. Wednesday features a bevy of games with serious tournament implications.

It might be Hump Day, but we have a lot to get to and a lot to look forward to.

Let’s hit the links.

Wednesday’s Top games:
6:30 p.m. – No. 4 Michigan @ Penn State
7:00 p.m. – Virginia Tech @ No. 5 Miami
7:00 p.m. – No. 7 Georgetown @ Connecticut
7:00 p.m. – Akron @ Ohio
8:00 p.m. – Saint Joseph’s @ No. 18 Saint Louis
9:30 p.m. – No. 11 Arizona @ USC
10:15 p.m. – San Diego State @ No. 14 New Mexico
11:00 p.m. – Colorado @ Stanford

Read of the Day:
Dana O’Neil sheds some light on Orlando Sanchez’s NCAA eligibility situation. It’s a shame the NCAA doesn’t operate with common sense, because that’s really what is needed here. (ESPN)

Read of the Day:
A fantastic read from Dave Roth on the cult of the coach. A tremendous piece of writing. Read it. (Sports on Earth)

Read of the Day:
Andy Glockner provides the latest installment of “Bubble Watch”. You know what to do with this. Read it. (Sports Illustrated)
 
 
Top Stories:
All it took was the first 6:05 for Trevor Mbakwe to beat Indiana: Minnesota big man Trevor Mbakwe shot out of the gates last night, scoring 10 points and making big stops in the games’ first six minutes. That was the momentum boost that the Gophers needed to get them over the top.

Cody Zeller tentative in No. 1 Indiana’s loss to Minnesota, raises concern for Hoosiers: Cody Zeller finished with just nine points on 2-of-9 shooting last night in the Hoosiers’ road loss to Minnesota. Victor Oladipo might be the National Player of the Year, but Indiana won’t win the National Championship if Zeller is tentative.

Bus carrying Maine women’s basketball team reportedly involved in ‘serious accident’: A charter bus reportedly carrying members of the Maine women’s basketball team was involved in a serious crash along Interstate 95 in Georgetown, Mass.

Big 12 admits error was made near end of Kansas’ win over Iowa State:the Big 12 admitted that mistakes were made by the officiating crew at the end of regulation of the Kansas-Iowa State game from Monday, though the conference would not point to a specific play or sequence.
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping:
– The 30 finalists for Naismith Player of the Year were announced yesterday. (Card Chronicle)

– Oregon desperately needs freshman point guard Dominic Artis back on the court. The Ducks have been a different squad while he’s sat out with a foot injury. It looks like Artis will be to return this Thursday when Oregon faces Oregon State. (Oregon Live)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– It appears that the Catholic-7 is very close to making an announcement regarding the league’s future. (A Jersey Guy)

– As Jason McIntyre suggests, use defensive efficiency numbers when determining which teams you think will make the Final Four. (The Big Lead)

– Duke forward Ryan Kelly is expected to return to the hardwood for the Blue Devil’s Senior Night game against Miami. Duke was a different team with Kelly in the lineup, but what exactly should we expect from him now that he’s back? (Duke Hoop Blog)

– Memphis has been steamrolling through a weak Conference-USA. But the Tigers always seem to come up short when they play a step up in competition. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Mike DeCourcy explains why the Akron Zips are built to succeed in the NCAA Tournament this year. (Sporting News)

– Seth Greenberg breaks down his list of the top-ten “match-up nightmares”. Indiana’s Victor Oladipo is the obvious choice, but his no. 2 selection might throw you off. (ESPN)

– I’m still confused as to why former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine would take the job as Athletic Director at Sacred Heart. (New York Daily News)

– Jim Boeheim snapped at CBS Sports’ Jeff Goodman following Syracuse’s loss on Monday at Marquette. HEre is Goodman’s response, and it’s on point and completely valid. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Ohio vs. Akron is the mid-major game of the night. If Ohio is able to beat Akron, ending the nation’s longest active win streak, the no. 1 seed for the MAC tournament could get determined via coin flip. (Hustle Belt)

– Georgetown is in first place in the Big East and will head to Storrs, Conn. tonight to play UConn in the Gampel Pavilion. Surprisingly enough, Georgetown has never won inside Gampel Pavilion. (Hartford Courant)

– North Carolina State has had its share of ebbs and flows this season. The same can be said of star forward Travis Leslie. If the Wolfpack want to have any postseason success, they will need Leslie to step his game up. (Wilmington Star News)

– Making the case for Gee McGhee as SoCon Freshman of the Year. (Mocs Mania)

– In his latest “Tuesday Truths” entry, Jon Gasaway takes a look at how BCS-conference teams are doing against league opponents on a per possession basis. (Basketball Prospectus)

– It does not appear as if Mike Krzyzewski will be returning to the sidelines as the head coach of the US Olympic team. (USA Today)
 
 
Odds & Ends
– This might just be the most disturbing thing Twitter conversation I’ve ever read. Seriously, people like this need to get punished for their words. (Busted Coverage)

– A pretty awesome timeline of all the upsets No. 1 teams have suffered this year. (USA Today)

– It looks like Cincinnati, Louisville, Baylor and a few other schools will be getting camouflage uniforms, similar to what they wore last year during the post season. (Bearcats Blog)

– The following link takes you to an actual video of a Division I college basketball player taking a jump shot on a free throw attempt. Ryan Evans has been absolutely plagued by free throw issues this season. He’s got a serious case of the “yips”. I suppose this is the last resort. (The Big Ten Network)
 
 
Picture of the Day:
Jordan McRae did just about everything last night against Florida. And yes, I mean EVERYTHING. (H/T @WesRucker247)

source:
 
 
Video of the Day:
Trevor Mbakwe crumples Cody Zeller with A TREMENDOUS BLOCK!


 
 
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No. 13 Notre Dame lands come-from-behind win to beat No. 6 Wichita State in Maui

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Notre Dame led twice during Wednesday night’s Maui Invitational title game.

At 4-2, and, after Martinas Geben hit the second of two free throws with 2.3 seconds left, at 67-66.

That score would end up being the final, as the 13th-ranked Irish erased a 14-point second half deficit to knock off No. 6 Wichita State and bring home that Maui trophy.

Bonzie Colson led the way with 25 points and 11 boards while Matt Farrell chipped in with 15 points, four assists, four boards and three steals. Geben chipped in with 12 points, including those two free throws that served as the eventual game-winners.

Beyond the simple fact that they did it against one of the best teams in the country, what makes this comeback so impressive is that the Irish didn’t rely on a flurry of threes to change the course of the game. This comeback came through grit, toughness defensively and, if we’re being honest, a little bit of luck.

With less than 20 seconds left on the clock and the Irish down by three points, Colson airballed a pretty good look at a three from the top of the key. On the ensuing inbounds, Farrell stole the ball and happened to find Colson under the rim for a layup. The lead was cut to one, and Wichita State proceeded to miss the front end of a one-and-one after being fouled.

The ball once again ended up underneath Notre Dame’s basket, but this time it was the Irish ball, and after a gorgeous inbounds play, Geben headed to the line for two shots. The first shots somehow managed to go down after bouncing off the back of the rim, the backboard and the front of the rim twice.

And with that, Notre Dame would get off of the islands with another quality win for their résumé and a title to their name.

No. 8 Kentucky finally has it easy against Fort Wayne, 86-67

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Nick Richards had career highs of 25 points and 15 rebounds, and 70 percent first-half shooting propelled No. 8 Kentucky to an 86-67 rout of Fort Wayne on Wednesday night.

Kentucky’s 19-of-27 shooting before halftime countered the Mastodons’ eight 3-pointers that kept them close for a while. Once Fort Wayne started missing, it couldn’t match the length or speed of the young Wildcats (5-1), who eventually led 78-48 with 6:50 remaining on the way to their most decisive win this season.

Richards thrived in both halves and on both ends, making 9 of 10 from the field and all seven free throws for his first career double-double. The 6-foot-11 freshman’s previous highs were 10 points against Utah Valley and nine rebounds against Kansas last week.

Quade Green, Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander each added 11 points as Kentucky shot a season-best 33 of 55 (60 percent) and dominated the rebounding 44-21.

Junior guard John Konchar had 19 points and Bryson Scott 18 for Fort Wayne (3-2), who had won three in a row before losing on 40 percent shooting.

BIG PICTURE

Fort Wayne: A year after upsetting Indiana, the Mastodons led Kentucky 37-36 with 3:51 left in the first half behind 8-of-22 shooting from long range. They went cold from outside and elsewhere after that and the Wildcats pounced to lead at the break and stretch the advantage to 30 points in the second half. The Mastodons’ 12 3-pointers were their third-highest total this season.

Kentucky: Something had to give after all those tense performances and the Wildcats thrived because of their size and best shooting effort this season. Richards couldn’t be stopped on either end, and teammates seemed in sync for the first time. Sophomore forward Wenyen Gabriel came up just short of a double-double with 10 rebounds and nine points.

UP NEXT

Kentucky hosts Illinois-Chicago on Sunday to wrap up the Rupp Classic before getting a few days off.

Fort Wayne visits East Tennessee State on Saturday. ETSU lost 78-31 to Kentucky last Friday.

VIDEO: Providence beats Belmont on Kyron Cartwright’s buzzer-beating three

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We got the first wild buzzer-beater of the college basketball season on Wednesday night, as Kyron Cartwright answered a Belmont bucket with 3.7 seconds left by going 94-feet to hit a leaning three at the buzzer:

Providence won the game 65-63.

Cartwright finished with 17 points in the win.

Four Takeaways from N.C. State’s upset win over No. 2 Arizona

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Five games into the Kevin Keatts era and N.C. State already has themselves a signature win.

The Wolfpack upset No. 2 Arizona in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis, 90-84, sending Sean Miller home without reaching the Final Four once again. Allerik Freeman led the way with 24 points, while Braxton Beverly chipped in with 20 points off the bench and the combination of Abdul-Malik Abu and Omer Yurtseven combined for 21 points and 17 boards.

This wasn’t a fluky win, either.

N.C. State had control throughout. They were up 15-6 before Arizona woke up, they didn’t trail in the first half and they were the ones that made the Wildcats chase them down in the second half. It was quite impressive, as Keatts had this group playing hard and pressing for 40 minutes. It’s been a while since N.C. State fans can say that they’ve seen that.

Here are three things to takeaway from that win.

1. Arizona is going to have some things to figure out on the defensive end of the floor if they want to win a national title: Deandre Ayton is a man amongst boys. In his first college basketball game against competition that actually deserved to be on the same floor as him, Ayton finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds, a performance that makes me so damn excited to see just how good Marvin Bagley III, Miles Bridges and players of that ilk are if Ayton does not end up being the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.

Trier struggled in the first half, but he still managed to put together a 27-point performance, with 24 of those 27 coming in the second half. They put up 84 points. That wasn’t the issue.

The 90 points they allowed was.

Even more concerning was the fact that the Wolfpack scored those 90 points on just 73 possessions. The bottom-line is this: That’s not good enough, not when N.C. State is hardly a contender for the Final Four, let alone a national title challenger.

2. Kevin Keatts is making the most of the talent Mark Gottfried squandered: I’m not sure quite how good the Wolfpack actually are. I don’t think it’s possible to tell this early, even after a win over a team like Arizona. But what is undeniable is the simple fact that this N.C. State team plays are and with most passion and intensity than any Mark Gottfried team did.

They look like they are trying. They look like they care. And frankly, that often matters more than the simple stock-piling of talent. There’s no way anyone could look at this N.C. State roster and think that it has more talent on it than, say, a team with Dennis Smith Jr. or a team with T.J. Warren. The Wolfpack may not have a future lottery pick on this roster. But they do have guys that play their tails off, that play as if they have a point to prove and that play as if they are being coached.

It makes you wonder what could have been had Keatts been in Raleigh last season.

3. Braxton Beverly getting ruled eligible is going to be a big deal for N.C. State: Earlier this fall, Braxton Beverly was one of the biggest stories in college basketball, believe it or not. He had transferred to N.C. State from Ohio State after enrolling in summer courses prior to Thad Matta’s firing. He was ruled ineligible for this season with the Wolfpack, and it turned into the cause celebre for college basketball media members looking to circle the wagons and bash the NCAA.

It took longer than it should have, but Beverly was eventually cleared by the NCAA. He’s eligible to play this season, and he just so happens to be the point guy on the N.C. State press and one of their best shooters. He put up 20 points on the No. 2 team in America. I think he’s going to be relevant this season.

4. Arizona’s point guard issues rose to the forefront: When the Wildcats made their push in the second half, they did it on the strength of hustle plays and transition buckets. Jumping passing lanes and going coast-to-coast. Beating N.C. State’s press and getting a layup. Points that came off of offensive rebounds. Where they struggled was with their half court execution. The question with this team entering the season was with the point guard play. Was Parker Jackson-Cartwright going to be good enough to carry this team to a title? I’m not sure we can truly say we got on answer on Wednesday – N.C. State’s pressure, which was ratcheted up by the fact that Arizona couldn’t get a stop, played more of a role than anything – but Jackson-Cartwright certainly did not put in the kind of performance that would make Arizona fans feel comfortable.

Walker struggles in return home, No. 11 Miami beats La Salle

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READING, Pa. (AP) — Prized freshman Lonnie Walker IV struggled in his return home, but Dewan Huell scored 16 points and No. 11 Miami did just enough to get by La Salle 57-46 on Wednesday night and remain unbeaten.

Part of Miami’s recruiting pitch for the projected NBA lottery pick was a game in his hometown. Walker was held to five points and 2-of-8 shooting, and his woes were contagious. Miami (4-0) shot 37 percent from the field and the Explorers were 0 of 15 from 3-point range.

B.J. Johnson scored 16 points on 6-of-20 shooting and Pookie Powell added 15 on 5-of-15 from the field for La Salle (3-3) in its third straight loss.

La Salle traveled about 60 miles from campus, but it was a Miami home game and the crowd was solidly behind their local hero’s team. Walker has provided a needed boost to a struggling city northwest of Philadelphia.

Once a bustling railroad and mill town of 120,000, Reading has been in a steady decline for decades. It ranked as the poorest city in the nation in the 2010 Census based on median household income. Population has plummeted to under 88,000.

Walker and his Reading High School team had given the city something to be proud of in March, winning its first state title.

Many in the crowd wore red Reading High state champion T-shirts and sweatshirts, with sprinkles of Miami orange and La Salle blue and gold sprinkled in.

Walker didn’t start — he hasn’t yet this season — but the crowd roared as he got off the bench and walked to the scorer’s table 4 minutes in.

While Walker didn’t appear to have any issue with the left ankle he turned in a win over Florida A&M last week, it was a struggle. He missed his first three shots before finally bringing the crowd to its feet with a nifty crossover dribble and bank shot in the lane in the final seconds of an ugly first half that made it 19-19.

Walker couldn’t get it going in the second half, either. But he fed Bruce Brown Jr. for a 3-pointer with 3:23 left to put Miami up 49-39 during an 8-0 run.

Huell hit 8 of10 shots and added seven rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

La Salle: The Explorers dropped their third straight game to a Power 5 team (Northwestern, Boston College), but this was one they could have won with a decent shooting performance. They shot 29 percent from the field.

Miami: It was tough to tell if Walker was 100 percent with his ankle. He likely had some nerves. It was far from the performance he would have liked. Walker has been held to single digits in three straight games.

UP NEXT

La Salle hosts Big 5 rival Temple on Sunday before departing for a two-game tournament in Northern Ireland next week.

Miami returns home to face North Florida on Saturday before traveling to No. 14 Minnesota next Wednesday.