The Morning Mix

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The finish to Colorado vs. Arizona is what everybody will be talking about at the water cooler today. Sabatino Chen banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Arizona. One ref called it a make, the others didn’t know. So they went to the monitors, and all hell broke loose.

As you could imagine, we have a lot to get to.

Lets hit the links.

Friday’s Top Games:
7:00 p.m. – George Washington @ Georgia
8:00 p.m. – Memphis @ Tennessee
9:00 p.m. – Fordham @ Ole Miss
 
 
Tweet of the Day:

@sabatinochen23 Ball Don’t Lie.

Read of the Day:
Jeff Calkins nails it regarding the pretty disastrous way the Memphis athletic department has handled the ending of the Tennessee series. Read it. (Memphis Commercial-Appeal)

Read of the Day:
An absolutely awesome piece from the New York Times on legendary coaching icon Jerry Tarkanian. This piece does a really good job of covering all the sides to the former-UNLV head coach. At 82 years old, Tark’s health is starting to deteriorate. Take 10-15min and read this. (New York Times)
 
 
Top Stories:
No. 3 Arizona survives Colorado on controversial call: Sabatino Chen hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer off the glass to beat Arizona. The only problem was that it didn’t count. Or at least that’s what the refs said. You be the judge.

Refs blew call that cost Colorado win at Arizona, but not how you think: The refs cost Colorado a signature win and saved Arizona’s undefeated record. But surprisingly enough, the screwed up on more than one call.

Arizona’s offensive execution must improve if they’re to be a national contender: If Arizona wants to keep its undefeated streak, they will need to shoot better than 7-of-27 from the field overall and 3-of-11 from beyond the arc in the first half.

It looks like the Memphis/Tennessee rivalry might not be cancelled after all: On Wednesday Josh Pastner was saying the rivalry was done after this season and that Tiger fans wanted Louisville instead. But with recruiting at stake, the in-state non-conference rivalry looks to be staying around.

Breaking down how Purdue stopped Illinois’ Brandon Paul: The Boilermakers provided the blueprint for how to shut down potent Illinois scorer Brandon Paul. Here is a X’s & O’s break down of how it went down.

There’s a bigger point to Kentucky monitoring the heart rate of its players than work ethic: John Calipari is having the kentucky Wildcats wear heart monitors during practice to measure just how hard they are working. Some people have an issue with this. Raphielle Johnson doesn’t, and he will tell you why.

Big-XII Conference Catchup: The Big-XII is Kansas’ to win, but the Oklahoma State Cowboys could contend if they get consistent production from Le’Bryan Nash, Marcus Smart and company..

10 tidbits to know: Louisville’s chemistry, McCollum can shoot and more: Vin Parise, the College Basketball Insider for NBC Sports Talk stops by to drop some knowledge. Did you know that Davidson’s Nick Cothran is shooting 98% from the foul line? Vin did.

Santa Clara head coach Kerry Keating offers students special deal for Saturday’s game against No. 10 Gonzaga: This is just awesome. Santa Clara has their biggest home game of the season this weekend. But since students won’t be back from break, the Broncos’ head coach is going to help make sure students can afford to get back for the game.

 
 
Hoops Housekeeping
– Arkansas-Litte Rock guard John Gillon injured his knee last night against Western Kentucky and is expected to miss the next two weeks. (Burn the Horse)

– Virginia point guard Jontel Evans could return to action this Sunday against UNC. (Washington Post)

– St. John’s senior forward Orlando Sanchez was declared ineligible by the NCAA in November and as of now it looks like he is unlikely to ever suit up for the Red Storm ever again. (SNY.tv)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– In the wake of last night’s controversy, Colorado head coach Tad Boyle wants replay gone. (ESPN)

– Hawaii moved to 2-0 in the Big West thanks to a buzzer-beater from Garrett Jefferson (Warrior Insider)

– The “Catholic-7” will be meeting in New York City today to discuss exit strategies from the Big East. (Hartford Courant)

– Is it possible that we are overlooking the Big-XII? Considering Oklahoma State is the second-best team, I’d say “Yes. Yes we are overlooking the Big-XII”. (Dallas Star-Telegram)

– The Robert Morris Colonials are the current favorites to win the NEC. Well, that was before they put up a lackluster performance against Bryant and lost a game they were expected to dominate. (Times-Online)

– Gary Parrish takes a look a head at what is on tap this weekend. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Jeff Goodman’s “Good N’ Plenty” weekly feature takes Jamie Dixon to task for loading up on cupcake-heavy non-conference schedule and wonders if Wyoming’s Leonard Washington is the frontrunner for Mountain West Player of the Year. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Is it possible that San Diego State stays in the Big East? (Mountain West Connection)

– Get this: Murray State won their 600th game as a member of the Ohio Valley Conference last night. There is a Jim Calhoun joke to be made somewhere in here. (OVC Ball)
 
 
Picture of the Day:
This is what the Pac-12 website showed following the controversial Arizona/Colorado ending. #StandingsFail (H/T @UtahRy)


 
 
video(s) of the Day:
Sabatino Chen’s release. You be the judge


 
 
Video(s) of the Day:
Cody Zeller got himself a rap anthem. (Assembly Call)


 
 
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)

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.

Four-star wing Romeo Weems commits to DePaul

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DePaul landed its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2019 Tuesday afternoon, as four-star small forward Romeo Weems announced that he will be a Blue Demon. Weems, who attends New Haven HS in New Haven, Michigan, picked DePaul over Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Oregon and is considered by most major scouting services to be a Top 50 prospect in the 2019 graduating class.

The 6-foot-6 Weems plays his grassroots basketball for The Family on the Nike EYBL circuit, averaging 15.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this spring. Weems also has experience playing for USA Basketball, as he was part of the Under-16 team that won the FIBA Americas U16 title last year. Weems will also be part of the training camp from which the Under-17 team will be selected next month in preparation for this summer’s FIBA Under-17 World Championships.

DePaul managing to land a commitment from a prospect of Weems’ caliber, a versatile wing who can defend multiple positions while also being productive offensively, could be the shot in the arm that Dave Leitao’s program so desperately needs if they’re to improve their standing within the Big East.

Since making the move from Conference USA in 2005, DePaul has finished above .500 in a season just once (20-14 in 2006-07) with that also being the only time in which the Blue Demons finished above .500 in Big East play (9-7). Since Leitao, who led DePaul to its most recent NCAA tournament in 2005, returned for his second stint at the school the Blue Demons have gone 29-65.

Getting out of Allstate Arena and moving to the new Wintrust Arena ahead of last season was an important move for the DePaul program, but it’s been clear that the rebuild won’t be a “quick fix.” Bringing in a talent of Weems’ caliber should help DePaul moving forward, with the key now being to recruit well enough to ensure that the talented wing has ample help when he arrives on campus next year.

Among the players currently on the roster who will have eligibility remaining in 2019 are guards Devin Gage and Justin Roberts and wing Darious Hall, who will sit out the 2018-19 season after transferring to DePaul from Arkansas. Hall appeared in 35 games for the Razorbacks this past season, averaging 5.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in just under 15 minutes per game.