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The Morning Mix

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Monday was a busy news day. Kevin Ware began his recovery, West Virginia lost a trio of players, NC-State lost two, Tubby didn’t stay fired for long, and the maestro of #DunKCity is moving to SoCal.

let’s hit the links.

Read of the Day:
This is the best story on Kevin Ware yet. His team is crying, his parents are panicking, and he just wants his team to win the game. Great stuff. Read it. (Courier Journal)

Top Stories:
VIDEO: Seth Davis, Dan Patrick discuss coverage of Kevin Ware’s injury: CBS’ handling of the Kevin Ware injury has been discussed at length since Sunday afternoon. Most of the media agree that while the footage was disturbing, CBS handled themselves extremely well.

Is this the most upset-filled NCAA Tournament ever? A professor at DePaul University came up with a formula to decipher whether or not this is the most upset-filled tournament of all time.

College Basketball Talk provides the essentials on all four Final Four teams. Want to know how they got there and if they can win? the following previews have the answer. Louisville Cardinals, Wichita State Shockers, Syracuse Orange, and Michigan Wolverines.

Wichita State, better when they’re the underdog? Based on the regular season results, the Shockers tend to do much better when they are the underdogs, which they will be when they face Louisville this weekend in Atlanta.

2012-2013 AP All-American teams released: Trey Burke, and Otto Porter headline the first team. Victor Oladipo, Doug McDermott and Kelly Olynyk round out the squad.
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– A collection of the best and worst (Most of them are “worst”) Jon Rothstein comparisons. (Daly Dose of Hoops)

– Great stuff from Jeff Eisenberg on what Kevin Ware’s injury meant to guys like Derrick Roland, a former-Texas A&M forward who suffered a similar injury against Washington back in 2009. (The Dagger)

– Jeff Goodman provides his insight on the draft status of the game’s top undecided players. (Eye on College Basketball)

– CBS has no regrets about their handling of the Kevin Ware injury, and they shouldn’t. The network handled the aftermath with caution and precision. (Fox Sports)

– Jeff Goodman, as he is to do, dropped a bombshell yesterday afternoon. He reported that Ed Rush, the Pac-12 coordinator of basketball officials, has been investigated by the conference for comments he made about Arizona head coach Sean Miller. (Eye on College Basketball)

– But it appears like Rush has been cleared of any accusations. (NBC Sports)
 
 
Hoops Housekeeping:
– It looks like Andy Enfield has parlayed his tournament success at FGCU into a gig as head coach at Southern Cal. (Yahoo Sports)

– Tubby Smith will be named the new head coach at Texas Tech just a week after being fired from Minnesota. (Lubbock Avalanche-Journal)

– Former Sacramento Kings head coach Reggie Theus has been named as new head coach at Cal State Northridge. (ESPN)

– Three players, including standout guard Jabarie Hinds, have announced that they will transfer out of West Virginia. (Rant Sports)

– Freshman guard Rodney Purvis is transferring out of North Carolina State, becoming the ninth player to transfer out of the program since 2010. (Charlotte Observer)

– Speaking of NC-State, forward C.J. Leslie has announced that he will declare for the NBA Draft. (Fox News)

– Sensational freshman forward Anthony Bennett is leaving UNLV and will enter the NBA draft. (Las Vegas Sun)

– Highly touted recruit Aaron Gordon will make his college placement announcement following tonight’s McDonald’s All-American Game. (AZ Desert Swarm)

– The NCAA announced the pool of referees working the Final Four. Karl Hess and John Higgins “headline” the list. (Fox Sports)

– Coaching legends Gene Keady and Rollie Massimino headline the 2013 class of inductees into the College Basketball Hall of Fame. (ESPN)

– Former-Toledo head coach Bob Nichols passed away over the weekend. The 82-year old was the all-time wins leader in the Mid-American Conference. (Yahoo Sports)
 
 
Picture of the Day:
Kevin Ware got to hold the Midwest regional title while he recovered from surgery to fix his broken leg. (College Basketball Talk)

source:
 
 
.GIFs & Videos:
Highlights from the McDonald’s All-American Game Practice (h/t Ball is Life)

Andrew Wiggins’ perfect-score dunk at last night’s McDonald’s All-American Slam Dunk Contest

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Johnson, Paige help No. 9 Tar Heels roll past Panthers 85-64

North Carolina's Isaiah Hicks (4) dunks against Pittsburgh during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Brice Johnson scored 19 points to lead a dominating offensive performance that helped No. 9 North Carolina beat Pittsburgh 85-64 on Sunday.

Marcus Paige added 15 points for the Tar Heels (21-4, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who shot 59 percent to stay atop the league ahead of the next renewal of their fierce rivalry with Duke.

UNC had plenty of balance, shared the ball and got out in transition in arguably their best performance in weeks, using a 13-0 second-half burst to blow the game open. UNC finished with 26 assists on 32 baskets, 24 points off turnovers and scored 16 fast-break points after managing a combined five in the past two games.

Michael Young and James Robinson each scored 15 points to lead Pitt (17-7, 6-6). But the Panthers shot 37 percent and committed 19 turnovers, and a strong effort on the glass did little to offset their troubles.

The Tar Heels were playing their first home game in two weeks after a difficult three-game road trip that started with losses at Louisville and Notre Dame. Then came Tuesday’s game at Boston College, where the Tar Heels struggled against a winless league team then had a scare when Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams briefly collapsed in a second-half huddle after an attack of vertigo and had to leave the sideline for the rest of the game.

Williams was back in the office on Wednesday’s off day, returned to practice Thursday and told reporters Friday he was fine and even cracked jokes about a two-decade history with vertigo dating to his Kansas years.

Getting back home certainly helped everyone feel better. After wrestling with shooting struggles for much of the past month, UNC’s offense kicked back into an efficient and balanced gear, while Paige – the player the Tar Heels are practically begging to jolt free from a prolonged shooting slump – looked more like his old self against the Panthers.

That included one second-half play in which he caught a crosscourt pass from Theo Pinson in transition and made sure to step back behind the arc before burying a 3-pointer.

The Panthers had lost three of four since a 5-2 league start coming in, including 65-63 on a late tip-in at No. 12 Miami on Tuesday. And Pitt again had trouble getting their offense going, failing to crack 70 points for the third straight game.

TIP-INS

Pittsburgh: Second-leading scorer Jamel Artis scored five points on 2-for-8 shooting. … Pitt finished with a 41-29 rebounding advantage. … Pitt made 9 of 21 3-point attempts.

UNC: Justin Jackson scored 14 points. … UNC made 8 of 15 shots from 3-point range and 13 of 15 free throws. … Jackson and Pinson had six assists each. … UNC managed just one offensive rebound.

UP NEXT

Pittsburgh hosts Wake Forest on Tuesday.

UNC hosts Duke on Wednesday.

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the AP’s college basketball site at http://collegebasketball.ap.org

Denzel Valentine dominant as No. 8 Michigan State whips Indiana

Michigan State's Denzel Valentine (45) shoots over Indiana's Kevin Yogi Ferrell during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
AP Photo/Al Goldis
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Trailing by one point at the half, Indiana appeared to be in good shape at No. 8 Michigan State. However the fact that they were unable to slow down Denzel Valentine, who scored 15 first-half points, was a major concern for Tom Crean’s Hoosiers. Sure enough the national Player of the Year candidate continued on his tour de force in the second half, scoring another 15 points and dishing out seven assists as the Spartans rolled to an 88-69 victory.

For the game Valentine finished with 30 points, five rebounds, 13 assists and just one turnover. Of Michigan State’s 48 second half points, Valentine had a hand in 29 of them with all seven of his assists resulting in Michigan State layups. It was a dominant performance from one of the nation’s best players, a versatile guard whose four games missed due to injury may have led to some overlooking him when it comes to those national Player of the Year conversations.

When Valentine’s on everything else flows smoothly for Tom Izzo’s team, as his ability to both score and create results in quality looks for teammates who would struggle if they had to get that part of the job done themselves.

The biggest beneficiary Sunday afternoon was forward Matt Costello, who finished the game with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Of Costello’s ten made field goals (10-for-12 FG) five were assisted by Valentine, and he accounted for 13 points and seven rebounds in the second half. As a team Michigan State shot 63.3 percent from the field and assisted on 16 of their 19 made field goals in the second half, turning a tight contest into a blowout.

Tum Tum Nairn returned the court for the first time in seven games, but he played just two minutes and his time on the court will be managed carefully by Izzo moving forward. For many teams not having your point guard at full strength would represent a crippling blow, but that hasn’t been the case for Michigan State thanks in large part to Valentine. Michigan State went 4-3 in those seven games without Nairn, but the three losses were by a total of three points.

Valentine’s ability to make his teammates better will be a key factor down the stretch for Michigan State, and that skill was what led to the Spartans blowing out Indiana on Sunday.