Jay Bilas photobomb

The Morning Mix

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What a weekend.

What a season.

Savor these moments folks, because we may never see another college basketball season quite like this one. The regular season comes to an end this week, and if this season has been any indication, Championship Week is going to be bonkers. But that’s seven days away. We got a lot of ball left to be played.

Let’s hit the links.

Monday’s Top games:
7:00 p.m. – Texas Tech @ No. 6 Kansas
7:00 p.m. – Cincinnati @ No. 10 Louisville
9:00 p.m. – Baylor @ Texas
 
 
Read of the Day:
A tremendous story from Geoff Calkins on a JuCo player in Memphis who was accused of crimes he did not commit. But thanks to a strong will and a bond with his public defender, Marshaun Newell is now the star player for Southwest Community College. (Memphis Commercial Appeal)

Read of the Day:
If you have the time, I highly suggest you sit down with this New York Daily News article about Steve Konchalski, known throughout North America as “The Canadian Coach-K”. He’s like Coach-K, only with much better stories. (New York Daily News)
 
 
Top Stories:
Trey Burke leads No. 4 Michigan past No. 9 Michigan State: The Wolverines went 0-12 from beyond the arc, yet were still able to get past the Spartans on Sunday, and it was due in large part to the play of National Player of the Year candidate Trey Burke.

Virginia adds another line to baffling resume with loss at Boston College:The Cavaliers have more good wins and bad losses than any team in the country. Their loss on Sunday to Boston College is one of the many reasons why.

Miami’s loses to Duke by three at Cameron? Meh.: Ryan Kelly had a sensational performance, but shouldn’t we give Miami some credit? Duke needed a somewhat-fluky performance to beat the Hurricanes in Durham.

Ryan Kelly’s career day shows why he makes Duke a title contender:Ryan Kelly scored 36 points in his first game back from a foot injury, and he reminded all of us why Duke was and is still a legitimate national Championship contender.

Let’s keep VCU’s blow-out win over No. 20 Butler in perspective: It’s easy to overreact considering what VCU did to Butler on Saturday. But considering how Butler has made its living this season, a blowout loss to a high-octane team like VCU shouldn’t be too surprising.

Doug McDermott scores season-high 41, Creighton wins first MVC title since 2001: McDermott’s best performance of the season kept him alive in the National Player of the Year debate and helped the Bluejays to their first MVC title in over a decade.

Kentucky loses, but its NCAA tourney hopes aren’t dead yet:Kentucky could have benefited from a road win at Arkansas, but those are hard to come by. The Wildcats are still on the bubble, but that’s better than not being on it at all.

Ben Howland: Shabazz Muhammad headed to the NBA draft after season: It’s no shock at all to hear that Muhammad is going pro. It is a bit bizarre however that their head coach would make that known to the public. The Bruins are in a position to contend for the Pac-12 Regular Season Championship and are a near-lock to make the NCAA tournament. But that’s UCLA for ya.

Towson sets NCAA record, goes from 1-31 to 2nd place in CAA: The Towson Tigers have been the laughing-stock of college hoops for the past two seasons. But led by head coach Pat Skerry and Georgetown-transfer Jerrelle Benimon, the Tigers now own the most impressive turnaround in NCAA history.

Grambling State finishes regular season winless at 0-27:You just hate to see this happen. But at least Towson had provided even the slightest amount of optimism.
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– This is just awesome: The ultimate fantasy college basketball broadcasters draft. (Sports Illustrated)

– Is New Mexico worthy of a no.1-seed in the NCAA Tournament? Their resumes suggest that they are. (The Catch and Shoot Blog)

– Loyola (Md.) head coach Jim Patsos continues to have success because he does things his way. (Baltimore Sun)

– Akron’s 19-game winning streak is now over thanks to a lackluster performance against Buffalo. Louisiana Tech now holds the nation’s longest winning streak with 17 in-a-row. (Hustle Belt)

– The race for the Big-Ten title is still up for grabs. It’s quite possible that a tiebreaker will have to be used to determine a champion. (Columbus Dispatch)

– Northern Kentucky did Senior Night right. The Norse eased a 13-point deficit in the final three minutes of the game and earned a thrilling victory over Jacksonville. (AllKYhoops.com)
 
 
Odds & Ends:
– If only we all could be as strong as 9-year old UCLA superfan Jeffrey Hughes, Jr. (Los Angeles Times)

– Great video footage of Pittsburgh seniors Dante Taylor and Tray Woddhall following Senior Day. This is what it’s all about. (Panther Lair)
 
 
Picture of the Day:
Best.Photobomb.Ever (Twitter)

source:

 
 
Video of the Day:
This is the most incredible buzzer-beater I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of buzzer-beaters.


 
 
Dunk of the Day:
I have very little to say about this dunk because my jaw is currently dropped.

 
 
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Four-star 2017 shooting guard commits to Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams celebrates a play in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Virginia, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Blacksburg, Va. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP) LOCAL STATIONS OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT; LOCAL PRINT OUT (SALEM TIMES REGISTER; FINCASTLE HERALD; CHRISTIANSBURG NEWS MESSENGER; RADFORD NEWS JOURNAL; ROANOKE STAR SENTINEL; MANDATORY CREDIT
Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP
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Recruiting, and on-court results, have picked up at Virginia Tech since Buzz Williams took over as head coach. In his second year at the helm the Hokies won ten conference games, and in reaching the Postseason NIT made their first postseason appearance since 2011.

Thursday night Virginia Tech landed its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2017, as four-star shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker made his pledge.

The 6-foot-5 Alexander-Walker, who’s ranked 91st in his class by Rivals.com, also took official visits to Maryland and USC before making his pledge to the ACC program. Alexander-Walker attends Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but as a native of Canada plays his grassroots basketball for the Canada Elite program on the Under Armour Association circuit.

Good with either hand, Alexander-Walker can play either on or off the basketball. And that versatility should serve him well in a system that places a high value on “switch-ables,” or players who can fill multiple roles.

The Canada connection paid off for Virginia Tech in the recruitment of Alexander-Walker, with assistant coach Jamie McNeilly being a native of the country himself and having a connection to the Walker family. The Hokies will lose two perimeter players at the end of the 2016-17 season in Devin Wilson and Seth Allen, which will give Alexander-Walker the opportunity to earn minutes as a freshman.

Oakland lands former Oklahoma State guard Clark

AP
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File
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When point guard Stevie Clark began his career at Oklahoma State in 2013, the Top 100 prospect was expected by many to be an impact player for the Cowboys. Things didn’t go as planned however, as off-court issues ultimately led to Clark’s dismissal from the program before his sophomore season. Add in a lawsuit filed by Clark in which he alleged that he was forced by the school to take psychotropic drugs, and it’s safe to say that his time in Stillwater was anything but smooth.

Clark ultimately landed at Arkansas Baptist College, and on Thursday it was reported by the Detroit Free Press that he’s committed to Oakland University to play for head coach Greg Kampe. Clark joins a program with an immediate need at the point, with All-American Kahlil Felder having entered the NBA Draft and hired an agent as well.

The obvious question regarding Clark is whether or not he’s managed to take care of business off the court, and in an interview with Mark Snyder of the Free Press the Oklahoma native made note of the benefits of getting away from home for college.

Playing in Rochester, far from his home, will serve him well, he said.

“Anywhere away from home is the best thing,” Clark said. “It’s just hard balancing everything being close to home.”

Clark will be one of the options Kampe has to choose from at the point, with incoming freshmen Brailen Neely and Billy Thomas also among the new arrivals, and sophomore Jaevin Cumberland looking to earn more playing time than the 5.6 minutes per contest he averaged as a freshman.

Creighton point guard Watson Jr. to return for senior season

Creighton's Maurice Watson Jr. (10) reacts after scoring during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Xavier in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Creighton won 70-56. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
AP Photo/Nati Harnik
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Creighton’s chances of moving up the Big East standings and returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014 improved a great deal Thursday, as starting point guard Maurice Watson Jr. announced that he will be returning for his senior season. Watson, who began his college career at Boston University, entered his name into the NBA Draft pool without hiring an agent but decided that another year in Omaha would be best for him.

Watson was one of the most impactful transfers in the country last season, as his play at the point was a major factor in the Bluejays winning 20 games and going 9-9 in conference play after being picked to finish eighth in the Big East preseason poll. Watson averaged 14.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game last season, earning second team All-Big East honors.

With Watson’s return the Bluejays will welcome back three of their top four scorers from last season, with center Geoffrey Groselle being the lone departure. Head coach Greg McDermott adds a talented shooting guard in Marcus Foster, who sat out last season after transferring in from Kansas State. With Watson and Foster working together, Creighton will have a formidable perimeter tandem leading the way in 2016-17 with the likes of forward Cole Huff and guard Isaiah Zierden also being key contributors.

In addition to what Watson can provide in games he’ll also serve as a good mentor for Kaleb Joseph, who will have to sit out next season after transferring in from Syracuse. Joseph, who will have two seasons of eligibility remaining, fell out of the rotation as a sophomore so the year in residency should benefit him as he works towards grabbing the reins in 2017-18.

h/t ESPN.com

UConn, four-star 2017 big man Brown part ways

Brown, Zach
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Back in mid-January UConn made waves on the recruiting trail by securing a verbal commitment from 7-foot-1 center Zach Brown, a player seen by many as one of the top prospects in the Class of 2017. That partnership came to an end Thursday, as the two parties decided to part ways. News of the mutual decision was first reported by Scout.com.

The Miami native is currently ranked 28th in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, and Thursday’s news opens up a spot in the front court that UConn head coach Kevin Ollie and his staff will now have to fill. Amida Brimah, who’s currently going through the NBA pre-Draft process, will be a senior next season should he return to Storrs as will Kentan Facey.

Among the interior options who will have eligibility remaining beyond next season for the Huskies are sophomore Steven Enoch and incoming freshmen Mamadou Diarra and Juwan Durham.

UConn was in the running for 2016 power forward Taurean Thompson, but multiple outlets have the Brewster Academy product considering Michigan State (which added UNLV grad transfer Ben Carter Wednesday), Seton Hall and Syracuse at this point in his recruitment.

UCF lands commitment from transfer Terrell Allen

New UCF men's NCAA college basketball coach Johnny Dawkins speaks at his introductory press conference Thursday, March 24, 2016 in Orlando, Fla. (Jacob Langston/Orlando Sentinel via AP) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT
Jacob Langston/Orlando Sentinel via AP
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Having already landed one transfer in former Michigan guard Aubrey Dawkins (the new head coach’s son), UCF landed a second Thursday afternoon as former Drexel guard Terrell Allen announced that he’ll finish out his college career playing for Johnny Dawkins.

Allen, a CAA All-Rookie Team selection in his lone season at Drexel, announced the news by way of his Twitter account. After sitting out the 2016-17 season per NCAA transfer rules, Allen will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

On a team that struggled throughout the 2015-16 season, winning just six games, Allen averaged 9.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 32.5 minutes of action per game. The 6-foot-2 point guard finished the season ranked in the top ten in the CAA in both assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, with his assist tally ranking eighth and his A/T ratio of 1.9 placing him seventh.

With B.J. Taylor entering his junior season and Jeremy Carter-Sheppard joining the ranks this summer, the addition of Allen gives UCF another option at the point for the 2017-18 campaign.