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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LaVar Ball having ‘zero’ interaction with UCLA team bodes well for next season

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With the NBA Draft looming in less than a month, the biggest talking point has been just how much of an impact LaVar Ball is going to have on his son, Lonzo’s, NBA career.

It’s a question worth asking given the, ahem, outspoken nature of the eldest Ball.

But in the collegiate ranks, that’s a question that’s been asked about UCLA regarding next season. While Lonzo and LaMelo, who is finishing up his sophomore season in high school, are the stars that get the majority of the attention, there is another Ball brother that will be enrolling at UCLA next season: LiAngelo.

LaVar has already said that he expect Gelo to be a one-and-done player, which may not jibe with how good Gelo actually is. He’s not Lonzo and he’s not LaMelo. He’s not a dynamic athlete or a lead guard. He’s a 6-foot-5, 200 pound shooter with limitless range but limited upside. There’s a reason Rivals ranks him as a three-star prospect.

What’s going to happen when UCLA, a top 15 team in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25, doesn’t give Gelo Lonzo-esque minutes or shots next season? How will LaVar handle it if his second son is coming off the bench for the Bruins?

Steve Alford doesn’t seem concerned about it, telling a reporter from the LA Times that LaVar was “never at practice, never called me” and was around the team “zero.”

“I think all parents probably should know that moving on to the collegiate level anyway,” Alford said. “It’s not high school, it’s not AAU. Your son’s on scholarship; your son’s at UCLA getting an incredible opportunity academically and athletically.

“Playing time, shots, that kind of stuff — we don’t entertain some of those phone calls anyway. I never had any issues at all with LaVar.”

It will be interesting to see if that continues next season.

The Bruins have a chance to be pretty good. Maybe not quite as good as last season, maybe not a Pac-12 title favorite or even the best team in LA — USC is loaded — but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them end up as a top four seed in the NCAA tournament with Aaron Holiday and Thomas Welsh returning and Jaylen Hands headlining the recruiting class.

Will LaVar be able to handle UCLA’s success if it comes at the expense of his son’s?

NCAA: Former USF assistant provided extra benefits, lied to NCAA investigators

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The NCAA has alleged that former South Florida assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided roughly $500 in impermissible benefits and initially lied to NCAA investigators about it, according to the Tampa Bay Times, who obtained the NCAA’s summary disposition report.

Oliver Antigua is the younger brother of Orlando Antigua, who was the head coach at USF until he was fired in January. Now an assistant on Brad Underwood’s staff at Oklahoma State, Orlando was not alleged to have committed an NCAA violation in the report.

Oliver is alleged to have provided the extra benefits to two student-athletes while they were being tutored by the sister-in-law of Gerald Gillion, a special assistant to Orlando who resigned last fall, four months after Oliver did. USF has already self-imposed a $5,000 and reduced their scholarships from 13 to 12, according to the report.

“The University of South Florida and the NCAA continue to work together to resolve the inquiry into violations of NCAA bylaws and university standards by a USF intercollegiate athletic program,” according to a statement released by the school. “USF anticipates having a final resolution with the NCAA sometime this fall. Until the process concludes and the matter is fully resolved, USF cannot provide further comment.”

Villanova lands four-star 2018 guard

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Villanova added its first recruit in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday night.

Jay Wright and his staff landed a verbal commitment from Paul VI Catholic High School’s Brandon Slater, a four-star guard by Rivals as the No. 42 overall prospect in the rising senior class.

The 6-foot-5 Slater announced his decision via Twitter.

Slater, according to Jeff Borzello of ESPN, picked the Wildcats over Maryland, Miami, South Carolina, and Virginia.

He is currently playing the Nike EYBL with Team Takeover, the same grassroots program that produced current Villanova guard Phil Booth.

Comic-Con forces Providence to play at Alumni Hall for home opener

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Providence will play its first game at Alumni Hall, the on-campus facility, for the first time in 35 years this fall.

The Friars unveiled their 2017-18 non-conference schedule on Thursday afternoon. The team’s home opener will play either Houston Baptist or Belmont in Mullaney Gym inside Alumni Hall.

According to Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal, the reason for that is a schedule conflict at Providence’s home arena, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, in downtown Providence. A Comic-Con convention is scheduled Nov. 10-12. As McNamara notes, it’s a busy part of the season for The Dunk. The arena also is home to the Providence Bruins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Boston Bruins, and by mid-November, their season is in full swing.

The Friars haven’t played at Alumni Hall since 1972, the same year the Dunkin’ Donuts Center was opened. In the three decades since Providence last played a regular season game there, the facility has gone under necessary renovations, as you could imagine. Even with added seats, Mullaney Gym can host a maximum of 1,549. That’s a fraction of what The Dunk’s capacity of 12,400.

Providence will return to its downtown home on Nov. 13, hosting Minnesota as part of the Gavitt Games. The Golden Gophers will likely be a top-20 team to open the season. The Friars, who bring back every notable player from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, is a fringe top-25 team.

Jalen Coleman-Lands to transfer out of Illinois

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The already-thin Illinois roster got thinner on Thursday afternoon.

Evan Daniels of Scout.com reported that sophomore guard Jalen Coleman-Lands has requested and received his release from the program. He will have to sit out next season but will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Coleman-Lands was a top-40 recruit in the Class of 2015, according to Rivals. He becomes the second player from that recruiting class this month to exit the school. Reserve guard D.J. Williams elected to transfer on May 8. With Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett, two incoming recruits, both previously reopened their recruitments following John Groce’s firing.

Even with the addition of Wright State graduate transfer Mark Alstork, who officially joined the Fighting Illini on Wednesday, Illinois is left with only nine scholarship players as of right now.

Coleman-Lands’ production dipped from his freshman campaign, ending the 2016-17 season averaging 8.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, shooting 38 percent from three.

One destination that will likely be rumored will be nearby DePaul. Coleman-Lands played for new DePaul assistant coach Shane Heirman at prep school powerhouse La Lumiere School. Heriman quickly tapped into that prep pipeline, helping secure a commitment from La Lumiere from five-star 2019 point guard Tyger Campbell earlier this month.

Coleman-Lands had taken official visits to Notre Dame and UNLV before committing to the Illini in September 2014.