The Morning Mix

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Good news everyone. We’re only 36 hours away from another installment of meaningful postseason basketball. There’s some half-decent N.I.T. games tonight if you’re really scratching at the itch tonight.

Let’s hit the links.
 
 
Read of the Day:
Here’s an interesting stat: Arizona’s Kaleb Tarczewski is the only top-10 recruit in this season’s freshman class that hasn’t been eliminated from March Madness. For the most part, the 2013 NCAA tournament has belonged to guys who were not highly sought after coming out of high school. Read this. (Yahoo Sports)
 
 
Top Stories:
Breaking Down the Sweet 16: The X-factor in each game: College Basketball Talk predicts the x-factor for every Sweet Sixteen. Can Florida stop #DunkCity? What lineup adjustments will be made between Ohio State and Arizona?

Ranking the Watchability of the Sweet Sixteen matchups: There are four games on Thursday and four games on Friday. We rank them in terms of watchabillity. No. 1 shouldn’t be hard to figure out. #DunkCity.

Soon-to-be-renamed Big East signs basketball rights deal with CBS Sports: The remaining members of the Big East, along with the programs on their way in, have agreed to media rights deal with CBS. The deal allows for up to 12 games to be broadcast by CBS annually. Of those twelve, six will be conference games.
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– Aaron Craft is being compared to Tim Tebow. Of course. (Fox Sports Ohio)

– With Miami’s dominance, Florida’s longevity and FGCU’s cinderella story, the state of Florida is controlling the college hoops world. (Dallas Star-Telegram)

– Ron Baker was the hero of Wichita State’s upset win over Gonzaga in the third round. But Ken Pomeroy wants to know why Wichita State Baker, who missed 21 games this season due to injury, didn’t get the same treatment as Oregon and Dominic Artis, who missed nine games this season. (KenPom Blog)

– Evansville’s Colt Ryan became the all-time leading scorer in Evansville history last night, scoring 39 points against Canisius in the C.I.T. Quarterfinals. (Mid-Major Madness)

– Seth Greenberg examines the different “match-up nightmares” facing each team in the Sweet Sixteen. (ESPN Insider)

– How exactly do you stop #DunkCity? College ChalkTalk gets a coach’s perspective on controlling the Eagles’ up-tempo offense. (College ChalkTalk)

– Kansas and Louisville remain as the only substantial threats to denying a potential all Big-Ten Final Four. (The Dagger)

– According to statistics, the 2013 edition of March Madness has been of of the most maddening of all time. (Harvard Sports Analysis Collective)

– NC-State fans come to the defense of the often-criticized Wolfpack forward C.J. Leslie, who is expected to declare for the NBA draft. (State Fans Nation)

– Shaka Smart is going to be a top candidate for all the major openings across the country. UCLA could make a splash if they hired Smart away from VCU. But would “HAVOC” be a good fit out in Westwood? John Gasaway examines. (ESPN Insider)

– A look at who will stay in school and who will go pro out of the Pac-12. (Pacific Takes)

– Iowa State’s off-season will be filled with “what ifs” following a year plagued by heartbreaking losses. (Ames Tribune)

– An excellent breakdown of the five most indispensable players in the Sweet Sixteen. (ESPN)

– James Madison is looking to make a move. In other words, the CAA is on its way to becoming the new WAC. (JMU Sports Blog)
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping:
– Tulsa is moving out of the old Conference-USA and in to the new/old Big East, a.k.a. Conference-USA.(Examiner.com)

– Eamonn Brennan has been on top of the on-going turmoil at Wake Forest better than anybody in the country. The Deacons are going to stick with Bzdelik, much to the chagrin of the disgruntled fan base. (ESPN)

– Josh Pastner has agreed in principle to a contract extension to remain the head coach at Memphis. (Memphis Commercial Appeal)

– Northwestern has zeroed in on Duke assistant Chris Collins as the man to replace Bill Carmody as head coach of the Wildcats. An announcement could come within the next 12 hours or so. (CSN Chicago)

– Buffalo has hired Duke-great Bobby Hurley as their new head coach. He spent this past season as an assistant coach under his brother Danny at Rhode Island. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Ole Miss is expecting Marshall Henderson to return for his senior year. But as is the case with Henderson himself, expect the unexpected. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Mark Gottfried to UCLA? Think about it. Shaka is staying at VCU. Brad Stevens is staying at Butler. Richard Howell and Scott Wood are graduating. C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown are going pro. Gottfried was an assistant there for the 1995 National Championship. It all makes sense. (SNY.tv)

– Arkansas forward Marshawn Powell has declared for the NBA Draft, and did so on Twitter. (Arkansas Online)

– According to head coach Roy Williams, no North Carolina players are definitely leaving early yet. (ESPN)

– Virginia Tech sophomore Robert Brown has announced his intentions to transfer out of Blacksburg. It’s shocking to think about what Tech’s roster could have looked like this season: Erick Green, Robert Brown, Jarell Eddie, Cadarian Raines along with Montrezl Harrell (Louisville), Tyrone Garland (La Salle), Dorian Finney-Smith (Florida) and Allen Chaney (High Point). That team would have made the field of 68 this year. (Washington Post)

– It looks like Austin Peay is losing the services of three players, all of whom have decided to transfer out of the program. (OVC Ball)

– An excellent who’s-who Twitter list for all Sweet Sixteen. (Run The Floor)

– A Q&A with Seth Curry’s mom. No, seriously. A Q&A with Seth Curry’s mom. (Lost Letterman)
 
 
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Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

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Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

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Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

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John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.

Ohio State snags third 2018 commitment in a week with four-star guard Luther Muhammad

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Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.

Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.

Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.