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The Morning Mix

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Tuesday was a rather light night of college hoops. But starting today business is going to pick up. The high-major conferences begin their postseason tournaments, and all the chaos and entertainment we saw during the regular season is likely to replicate itself during the next five days.

Let’s hit the links.

Read of the Day:
A great-read on what parents and family mean to Temple’s Carl Jones. Read it. (Philahoops.com)
 
 
Top Stories:
VIDEO: ‘The Crossover’ tells you what to expect in the NCAA tournament: Some good debate here from our pals over at ‘The Crossover”. NCAA tournament talk and NBA draft discussion are whats on the docket.

JT III is great, but Buzz Williams should be Big East Coach of the Year: JT III has done a great job at Georgetown, but people are overlooking what Buzz did with Marquette this season.

Bob McKillop, John Beilein, Frank Martin tabbed to coach Team USA in University Games: Davidson’s Bob McKillop has been chosen to serve as the head coach of Team USA in the 2013 World University Games Team, which will take place July 7-16 in Kazan, Russia. McKillop’s Davidson squad punched their ticket to the Big Dance on Monday night in the SoCon championship game.
 
 
NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheets:
Valparaiso returns to the NCAA tournament led by head coach Bryce Drew, who etched his name into tournament lore with his buzzer-beating shot agains Ole Miss in 1998.

South Dakota State and sharpshooting superstar Nate Wolters return to the Big Dance for the second time in a row.

LIU-Brooklyn is the first NEC team to win back-to-back-to-back tournament titles and will be dancing for the third straight year.
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– A breakdown of Vegas odds for the Pac-12 tournament, which is being held in, where else, but Vegas of course. (Coug Center)

– LIU-Brooklyn’s victory over Mt. St. Mary’s in the NEC title game last night gave the Blackbirds the first ever NEC championship three-pear. (Catch and Shoot)

– Louisville’s Russ Smith missed out on winning the Big East player of the year, and probably won’t be named National Player of the Year. But he’s still in the hunt for KenPom Player of the Year. (Card Chronicle)

– MEAC Commissioner Dennis Thomas has been satisfied with ticket sales at the early round MEAC tournament games despite the appearance of an empty arena. (HamptonRoads.com)

– The Big-XII tournament is going to be full of possibilities and opportunities. It should make for a very entertaining conclusion. (Ames Tribune)

– Have you ever wondered what types of free swag college basketball players got for participating in postseason tournaments? The total value of NCAA tournament gifts this year is $320,000. (Sports Business Daily)
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping:
– Highly touted Seton Hall commit Aquille “Crimestopper” Carr has decided to forgo college and will instead play in Europe for a season. This isn’t actually all that shocking. (Sporting News)

– Colorado forward Andre Roberson will return from his bout with mono in time for the Pac-12 Tournament. (Sporting News)
 
 
Video(s) of the Day:
Championship edition of the Harlem Shake. Why not.

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BUBBLE BANTER: All of the action on the fringe of the NCAA tournament

Fred VanVleet
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Tonight’s bubble action. This post will be updated as the games are completed.

Cincinnati at UCF, 7:00 p.m.
Pitt at No. 12 Miami, 7:00 p.m.
No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
Ole Miss at Florida, 9:00 p.m.
Georgia at No. 22 Kentucky, 9:00 p.m.
Arkansas at Mississippi State, 9:00 p.m.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A Big 12 and a Big Ten showdown

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.

The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.

We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
  2. Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
  3. Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
  4. Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
  5. No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.