The Morning Mix

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Monday didn’t provide a bunch of action on the hardwood. But with early season injuries springing up and the Big Ten/ACC Challenge gearing up, we got a lot to get to.

Lets hit the links.

 

Monday’s Top Games:
7:00 p.m. – Vermont @ Harvard
7:15 p.m. – Iowa @ Virginia Tech
7:15 p.m. – No. 21 Minnesota @ Florida State
7:30 p.m. – No. 18 North Carolina State @ No. 3 Michigan
9:15 p.m. – Maryland @ Northwestern
9:15 p.m. – Nebraska @ Wake Forest
9:30 p.m. – Texas Southern @ No. 19 Colorado
9:30 p.m. – No. 14 North Carolina @ No. 1 Indiana

 

Read of the Day:
In what may be the most brilliant article you read all week, Will Blythe explains how to fix college basketball. Read It. (The New Republic)

Read of the Day:
In what may be the second-most brilliant article you read all week, David Pargman swiftly and thoroughly explains why athletes should be able to major in sports. Read it. (The Chronicle)

 

Top Stories:
Daniel huge as Murray State survives Lipscomb: Ed Daniel, purveyor of the best afro east of the Mississippi River, had himself a monster night, scoring 20 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and swatting away five shots. If Murray State is going to be as successful as last season, Daniel may have to replicate this performance again.

Now retired, Jim Calhoun to host Golf Channel show: Of course he is. He’s retired. All retired people play golf. But he’s actually not the first college hoops coach to broadcast golf programming. Former-Maryland coach Gary Williams frequently co-hosted coverage of the AT&T National Golf Tournament for CSN Washington.

Jeff Withey swats his way to a triple-double: The Kansas big-man recorded 16 points, 12 rebounds and a school-record 12 blocks en route to a 70-57 win over San Jose State.

Cyber Monday is over, so check out what teams we bought at a discounted price: After watching three weeks of college hoops, the College Basketball Talk staff details who they are buying cheap, buying a lot of and flat-out ignoring this holiday season.

UCLA or Memphis, who is more disappointing? We were having these exact thoughts roughly 365 days ago. At this point one has to wonder if if these two teams aren’t just really good at destroying hype

 

Hoops Housekeeping:
– ICYMI, Pittsburgh’s Trey Zeigler was arrested over the weekend for driving under the influence and has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Jamie Dixon. (Sporting News)

– Julius Randle, one of the top-3 uncommitted recruits in the class of 2013 will be sidelined for three months with a fractured foot. (USA Today)

– North Carolina State forward Thomas de Thaey has decided to leave the program and will return to Europe to be closer to his father, who has been battling cancer since April. (Fayetteville Observer)

– Louisville center Gorgui Dieng will have surgery later today on his injured wrist and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. (The Cardinal Connect)

– North Carolina sophomore guard P.J. Hairston has been ruled out of tonight’s game against Indiana because of recurring knee pain. (ESPN)

 

Observations & Insight:
– Ken Pomeroy has some stats, graphs and number in advance of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. (KenPom Blog)

– Jeff Eisenberg previews and predicts winners for all the Big Ten/ACC Challenge games. (The Dagger)

– An AP voter kept UCLA in their top-25 after losing to Cal-Poly. Naturally, they were featured in Gary Parrish’s Poll Attacks. (Eye on College Basketball)

– A mid-major recap of Monday’s action. (Mid-Major Madness)

– Denver is heading to the Summit League, which will be their third conference in as many years. This is the most entertaining read on the subject. (Mile High Mids)

– We knew Creighton was legit, but they aren’t the only MVC team thriving thus far. In fact, the Missouri Valley Conference is having its second best season in conference history. (Evansville Courier-Press)

– Paul Biancardi hands out his grades for the ACC recruiting classes. (ESPN Insider)

 

Odds & Ends
– The Mid-American Conference is applying to trademark the term/hashtag #MACtion. This my friends, is a brilliant, brilliant marketing move (CBS Sports)

– After a tough week in the Bahamas, the Memphis Tigers are regrouping, which happens to including changing their media policies. (Memphis Commercial Appeal)

– A Louisville Cardinals fan diary from the Battle 4 Atlantis holiday trip. (Card Chronicle)

– Philahoops.com is the best site on the web for Philly-area college hoops news, but they need your help to stay afloat. (Philahoops.com)

 

Dunk of the Day:
A recap of all the #POSTERIZED entries from a wild Feast Week (Ballin’ is a Habit)

 

Video(s) of the Day:
Kentucky mascot hits backwards half-court shot (Kentucky Sports Radio)

 

Do you like the new Morning Mix? Hate it? Have a suggestion or wanted something featured? Troy Machir will take all your praise, insults and inquiries via Twitter (@TroyMachir)

Old Dominion lands former four-star center

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Elbert Robinson came out of high school in 2014 as a borderline top-50 recruit with offers from the likes of Florida, Kansas and Louisville before he ultimately chose to attend LSU.

The 7-foot-1 center, though, never even averaged 10 minutes a game in Baton Rouge and now will be finishing his career as a graduate transfer at Old Dominion, according to multiple reports.

“Old Dominion was perfect for him,” Lawrence Johns, Robinson’s grassroots coach, told the Virginian-Pilot. “I know for a fact that nobody in (Conference USA) is over 7 feet.

“I told him to go there and show people why he was the No. 1 center the year he came out.”

Robinson, who sat out last year for medical reasons, could step right into a major role with the Monarchs, who lost their starting frontcourt this offseason. He averaged 2.1 points and 1.4 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game last year for the Tigers.

VIDEO: Mixtape for North Carolina-bound Nassir Little

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Nassir Little is one of the most improved players in the high school basketball ranks, going from being a guy that was a borderline five-star prospect to being a potential No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

At 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and athleticism to burn, he has all the makings of being one of the switchable wing defenders that are en vogue in the modern era of the NBA.

Former UNC star Phil Ford has surgery for prostate cancer

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina says former point guard Phil Ford has had surgery for prostate cancer.

Team spokesman Steve Kirschner said Wednesday that Ford underwent the procedure Tuesday after he was diagnosed during his annual physical. Dr. Eric Wallen, the UNC physician who is treating Ford, says the cancer was caught early because Ford “has been proactive regarding his health.”

Ford played for Dean Smith in the 1970s and scored 2,290 points, a mark that stood as the school record until Tyler Hansbrough broke it in 2008. Ford also spent 12 seasons as an assistant to Smith after a seven-year NBA career in which he was the rookie of the year in 1979.

Bruce Pearl: ‘Good chance’ Auburn returns four players testing the waters

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Bruce Pearl told reporters on Monday that there is a “good chance” that his Auburn program will return all four of the players that are currently testing the waters of the NBA draft.

“I think there’s a good chance they’re all going to consider coming back,” Pearl said. “There’s a chance they’re all going to come back, but that’s been the case since the beginning.”

“I just feel as we get closer to the deadline and they gather more and more information, I think that chance improves. It would not surprise me, still, to see a couple of them stay in.”

Those four players are Mustapha Heron, Austin Wiley, Bryce Brown and Jared Harper. Brown was the leading scorer for the Tigers last season, while Heron was arguably their best player and Harper a steady floor general that is the piece that holds everything together. Wiley did not play after he was ruled ineligible as a result of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball. If he returns he will be eligible to play the 2018-19 season.

Heron will be the most interesting decision of the four. A former McDonald’s All-American, when he declared for the draft last month, he announced that he intended to sign with an agent. But he has told reporters in the last week that he never actually signed and is still “50-50” on whether or not he will return. He was not invited to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last week. Wiley was, but he did not make enough of an impression to earn himself a first round guarantee. Brown and Harper are very unlikely to be drafted, but both juniors will get feedback from NBA teams on what they might need to do to play their way into the league.

Auburn is coming off of a year where they shared the SEC regular season title with Tennessee, but they struggled down the stretch of the season after Anfernee McLemore suffered a gruesome ankle injury. As it stands, under the assumption that Heron and Wiley are gone, we currently have the Tigers ranked as a top 15 team in the country in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25.

With Heron and Wiley back, however, Auburn will have the pieces to make a case as one of college basketball’s five best teams next season.

Forward Lance Thomas transferring from Louisville

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With Anas Mahmoud out of eligibility and Ray Spalding having made the decision to enter the 2018 NBA Draft, new Louisville head coach Chris Mack had some holes to fill in the front court ahead of his first season at the helm. There’s now another departure to account for, as it was announced Tuesday afternoon that 6-foot-8 forward Lance Thomas has decided to transfer.

Thomas, who will have three seasons of eligibility remaining at his next school, appeared in 12 games for the Cardinals last season and averaged 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds in 4.2 minutes per game.

Losing Thomas may not appear to be a big deal based upon his production as a freshman. But, given the combination of player departures and misses on the recruiting trail this spring it can also be argued that Louisville is not in a position where it can afford any more personnel losses.

Louisville is now down to four scholarship players in the front court, wings V.J. King and Jordan Nwora and forwards Malik Williams and Steven Enoch, with Enoch eligible after sitting out last season after transferring in from UConn.

Williams made 12 starts as a freshman, averaging 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game, with King averaging 8.6 points per game and Nwora 5.7 points per game. Enoch played in 29 games at UConn during the 2016-17 season, averaging 3.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per appearance.