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The Morning Mix

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Tickets continue to get punched. Five teams gained entrance to the madness last night, including Gonzaga of course, Davisdson of course, Iona mild surprise, James Madison sure, why not? and Western Kentucky Seriously? Again?

Let’s hit the links.

Read of the Day:
Middle Tennessee won the Sun Belt by five games. But a fluke loss in the postseason tournament reroutes them to the N.I.T. It’s one of the a cruel and inevitable fates of dominating a mid-to-low major. (Eye on College Basketball)

Top Stories:
2013 Big East Tournament Preview: It’s a nostalgic week in the Big Apple, as the Big East Tournament gets underway for the last time in its semi-original form.

Trey Burke named B1G Player of the Year, but he’ll be defined by this month: The Michigan guard edged out Indiana’s Victor Oladipo for the Big Ten Player of the Year. But his status as a National Player of the Year contender will depend on what he accomplishes from this point forward.

NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheets:
James Madison knocked off top-seeded Northeastern to earn trip to the Big Dance for the first time since 1994.

– For the second-straight year, Western Kentucky emerged out of left field to win the Sun Belt tournament.

– Casual fans will enjoy seeing Davidson back in the brackets for what seems like 15-consecutive years.

– Get to know the Iona Gaels. Welcome to the Momo Jones show.

Observations & Insight:
– I dare you to find me someone who doesn’t think Indiana is a top-5 team…What’s that? You found somebody who doesn’t think Indiana is a top-5 team? Thanks Gary Parrish. Poll Attacks. Get ’em. (Eye on College Basketball)

– There are roughly 25 teams sitting on the mythical tournament bubble. According to Jason Mcintyre, those 25 teams are fighting for only about six openings. (The Big Lead)

– In the wake of Tom Crean’s post-game tongue-lashing of former-Indiana assistant Jeff Meyer, Mike DeCourcy questions the need for the post-game handshake. (Sporting News)

– Despite getting blown out by Duke over the weekend, North Carolina isn’t going to abandon the small-ball lineup that righted the ship following a dreadful start to the season. (ESPN)

Hoops Housekeeping:
– Campbell fired head coach Robbie Lang following a 13-20 season. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Georgia Southern fired head coach Charlton Young after four years at the helm. (Eye on College Basketball)

– What are the chances Villanova wins the Big East tournament? (VU Hoops)

– Pittsburgh could really come up from behind and surprise people in the NCAA tournament, and James Robinson may could have a lot to do with it. (Times Online)

– Iowa State senior Anthony Booker has apologized for making an obscene gesture during Saturday’s win over West Virginia. (Des Moines Register)

– USC has indefinitely suspended two players involved in a street fight over the weekend in Spokane. (ESPN LA)

– Nerlens Noel was recognized by the SEC as one of the conference’s best community service volunteers. What often gets lost in the discussion of his flat-top and NBA draft stock is the fact that Noel is tremendously genuine human being. Some would even has he has “high-major” character and morals. (AllKyHoops.com)

– Speaking of Noel, the freshman phenom will undergo knee surgery today to repair the ACL he tore against Florida. (Yahoo Sports)

– Wyoming officials have apologized for the behavior of their home fans during March 6th game against Colorado State. Apparently interns in the sports marketing department distributed anti-Larry Eustachy flyers prior to the contest. (With Leather)

Odds & Ends:
– Who is the most hated college basketball player of all time? Grantland hopes to end the discussion. Personally the bracket could have been better. No Chris Jackson, no Greivis Vasquez, and no Luke Harangody. I really don’t remember hating Kirk Heinrich all that much. (Grantland)

– I know a lot of people probably don’t like these new South Florida uniforms, but those people are wrong. The new shorts are swaggy. On top of that, these uniforms are light years better than the disastrous new Adidas uniforms. (USA Today)

– Ten tips to consider when filling out your NCAA tournament brackets. (Extra Bacon)

– We’re just eight days into the postseason, and the Circle of March is already starting to take shape. (Rush the Court)

– Arizona State’s mascot got a face lift, and everybody (myself included) hates it. (AZCentral.com)

Picture of the Day:
James Madison punched their ticket to the Big Dance last night. Things got weird. (H/T @RecrdsANDradio)

source:

Video(s) of the Day:
This is a sure-fire way to become the most popular kid in high school. (Deadspin)

Video(s) of the Day:
This is real good stuff.

Dunk of the Day:
I posted this dunk here yesterday. I’m posting it here again today. That should tell you just how good this dunk it.

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 (@TroyMachir

CBT’s 2016-17 College Basketball Season Preview Schedule

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Believe it or not, but college basketball season technically begins this week, as programs around the country are allowed to start practicing as early as September 30th, this Friday.

With that in mind, it’s time for us to kick off the process of previewing the 2016-17 season, getting you ready for everything that will happen in our beloved sport for the next five months with a series of predictions that, hopefully, won’t prove to be totally and completely wrong by the end of the year.

Here is a complete schedule of everything you can expect to see from us over the next six weeks.

And be sure to bookmark this page, as we will be updating the schedule with links as each story gets posted. That way, if you miss anything — which is unlikely if you follow @CBTonNBC on twitter and like the College Basketball Talk page on FaceBook — you can go back and find it quite easily.

AWARDS

Sep. 27: NBCSports.com All-American Team
Sep. 27: Expert Picks and Predictions
Oct. 31-Nov. 4: Preseason Top 25 Countdown
Oct. 31: Mid-Major All-Americans
Oct. 31: Mid-Major Power Rankings

RANKINGS

Oct. 24-28: Top 100 Players Countdown
Oct. 25: Top Back Courts
Oct. 25: Top Front courts
Oct. 26: Top Lead Guards
Oct. 26: Top Off-Guards
Oct. 27: Top Wings
Oct. 27: Top Big Men

CONTENDERS SERIES

Oct. 3: Final Four Sleepers
Oct. 10: Final Four Favorites, part 1
Oct. 14: Final Four Favorites, part 2
Oct. 17-21: Title Contenders

CONFERENCE PREVIEWS

Sep. 29: WCC
Oct. 4: ACC
Oct. 5: Mountain West
Oct. 6: Atlantic 10
Oct. 7: American
Oct. 11: Big Ten
Oct. 18: Big 12
Oct. 25: Pac-12
Nov. 1: SEC
Nov. 8: Big East

Sep. 29: America East
Sep. 30: Atlantic Sun
Oct. 3: Big Sky
Oct. 4: Big South
Oct. 5: Big West
Oct. 6: CAA
Oct. 7: Conference USA
Oct. 10: Horizon
Oct. 11: Ivy
Oct. 12: MAAC
Oct. 12: MAC
Oct. 13: MEAC
Oct. 14: Missouri Valley
Oct. 17: NEC
Oct. 18: Ohio Valley
Oct. 19: Patriot
Oct. 20: SoCon
Oct. 21: Southland
Oct. 24: SWAC
Oct. 26: Summit
Oct. 27: Sun Belt
Oct. 28: WAC

LISTS

Sep. 26: Best Non-Conference Games
Sep. 28: Programs on the Rise and Decline
Sep. 28: Impact Transfers
Sep. 30: All-‘Yup, He’s Still In School’ Team
Nov. 1: Top Dunkers
Nov. 2: Coaches on the Hot Seat
Nov. 2: Key Assistant Coaching Hires
Nov. 2: Best, Worst Head Coaching Changes
Nov. 3: Impact Freshmen
Nov. 3: Breakout Stars
Nov. 7: Under-the-Radar Stars
Nov. 8: X-Factors
Nov. 9: Potential Cinderellas
Nov. 9: Most Important Players
Nov. 10: 68 Things To Watch For

Illinois PG expected to be ready for practice

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Illinois point guards and injuries have been an unfortunate trend over the past two seasons with Tracy Abrams, who missed the past two seasons with a torn ACL followed by a torn Achilles the next year.

On Sunday, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported some good news for an incoming Fighting Illini floor general. Te’Jon Lucas, a three-star prospect from the Class of 2016, will be fully cleared for the start of practice, according to Rothstein. In February, Lucas had broke his fibula in his right leg in two places during a game.

Lucas had committed to Illinois the previous September.

Abrams received a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA in June, and he decided to remain in Champaign for his final season. If healthy, he’ll be the starter. Jaylon Tate is also back for another season. But they are both seniors, which makes Sunday’s report important for John Groce’s program. Lucas will be on the floor Day 1 of practice, being molded for the future by two experienced guards.

The 5-foot-11 Lucas is the only true freshman on the roster.

Illinois begins the 2016-17 season on November 11, hosting Southeast Missouri State.

Xavier adds to class with three-star center

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Xavier added a fourth piece to its 2017 recruiting class on Sunday morning.

Kentravious Jones, a 6-foot-11, three-star recruit, committed to the Musketeers. He announced the decision via Twitter.

Chris Mack’s current recruiting class is headlined by four-star swingman Naji Marshall. The incoming quartet also includes guard Elias Harden and forward Jared Ridder. But Jones’ commitment fits an area that needs to be addressed for the Musketeers moving forward. Xavier isn’t particularly deep when it comes to big men. That frontcourt only gets thinner once RaShid Gaston, a graduate transfer from Norfolk State, exhausts his eligibility after this season.

Jones, along with current freshman forward Tyrique Jones, gives Xavier a young foundation for the future. Jones is an old-school, big-bodied center. He’s got a nice back-to-the-basket game, and had his best stretch of the summer during the UAA Finals. In three games with the Atlanta Xpress, he averaged 15.3 points, shot 59 percent from the field, and grabbed nine boards per game.

Conditioning will be the emphasis for him over the course of the next year. However, we have seen Xavier work well with a big, skilled centers in the past (see: Stainbrook, Matt). According to Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Jones has dropped 30 pounds.

Sunday morning’s news may not even be Xavier’s last score on the recruiting trail. The Musketeers have one scholarship remaining (two, or three if Edmond Sumner and Trevon Bluiett enter the NBA Draft this spring), and are in play for several coveted prospects like point guards Paul Scruggs, Quade Green and Matt Coleman, as well as forward Kris Wilkes.

Minnesota center to miss a month

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 7: Reggie Lynch #22 of the Illinois State Redbirds and Fred VanVleet #23 of the Wichita State Shockers fight for control of a loose ball during the MVC Basketball Tournament Semifinals at the Scottrade Center on March 7, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Minnesota’s projected starting center is sidelined, but is expected to be ready for the season opener.

Reggie Lynch, the Illinois State transfer, had surgery on his left knee, the program announced on Friday night. According to Marcus R. Fuller of the Star-Tribune, the Golden Gophers are anticipating that Lynch is available for the season opener on Nov. 11 against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The 6-foot-10 Lynch has been in the news this offseason prior to his impending debut with Minnesota. In May, he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault. On August 1, the Hennepin County attorney’s office was announced he would not face charges, citing insufficient evidence.

Lynch spent two seasons at Illinois State, averaging 9.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the Redbirds as a sophomore. He sat out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Minnesota is coming off a second-to-last place finish in the Big Ten with an 8-23 (2-16 Big Ten) record.

Women’s hoops coaches boycotting recruiting events

DENVER, CO - MARCH 31:  Head coach Muffet McGraw of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish directs her team during practice prior to the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Final Four at Pepsi Center on March 31, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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For some high-major women’s basketball programs, the final evaluation period of 2016 is being used as a vacation from the recruiting trail.

According to a report from Lindsay Schnell of Sports Illustrated, are not attending events during this weekend’s recruiting period for a host of reasons.

First, many are fed up with the price of tournament packets, booklets of rosters that college coaches receive upon paying their entry fee. Packets are supposed to be chock-full of contact information for the prospects, but sometimes aren’t accurate or up-to-date. (This has become a well-documented issue on the men’s side of college hoops. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish wrote on it this summer.) Furthermore, there are so many events now that college coaches are often forced to pay obscene amounts of money to watch just one player at a single event, and play recruiting hopscotch around the country, criss-crossing the nation to see so many events and spend thousands of dollars. One Power Five coach said her staff crunched the numbers, and found that in just two years, they’ve spent more than $4,000 more than they did in 2014 on packets alone. Another coach told a story of sending an assistant across the country for one day, to one event, to watch one team. When the assistant arrived, the team had left early for its next event. No refund was available for the college that had paid what turned out to be a useless entry fee. The head coach called it “exasperating.”

Jeff Borzello of ESPN, who spoke to Notre Dame head coach and eventual Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw for his report, estimated that the cost for one of the coaches packets — the ones that include player contact information, rosters, etc. — can cost each school an average of $600 per event.

This era of grassroots basketball has taken off in recent years with Nike, Under Armour and adidas all creating their own sponsored leagues. All three run exceptional events from the staff to the facilities, all the way to the three, free meals a day for coaches. Organizers of these events will argue that there’s a cost to running such high-end events. These packets, some of which are so in-depth they include players’ GPAs, help fund these tournaments (events, paying a staff, etc.).

Coaches, mostly mid to low-major coaches, will argue that these packets aren’t worth the cost, considering that every coach (head and assistant) must purchase them in order to gain entrance. And you will find packets where the information inside is either inaccurate, or missing or both. For elite programs, this isn’t an issue. You show up, you’re seen, you leave, you go to the next event, repeat. For mid to low-major coaches, this really puts a dent in their budget, especially when they have to travel to multiple events (buying packets at each one) because you have to land that “steal,” you have to find that player who is overlooked.

This protest, or boycott (or whatever you want to call it) will hurt those these events are intended to help the most: the players. If coaches continue to avoid these tournaments, that late-bloomer may miss out on a scholarship, or that player with mid-major offers won’t get the chance to play in front of high-major coaches.

According to Schnell, there is a proposal, voted on in April, to eliminate a live recruiting period in April and September. But many coaches in women’s basketball have made it clear this weekend how they feel about the issue.