The Morning Mix

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It’s March 1st. “Madness Season” is officially here.

And it makes sense that on the first day of “Madness Season” we bring news of hideous uniforms, new basketball conferences and Duke moving to 0-4 in games where the opposing fans storm the court.

Let’s hit the links.

Friday’s Top games:
7:00 p.m. – Harvard @ Princeton
7:00 p.m. – Loyola (Md.) @ Iona
9:00 p.m. – Fairfield @ Manhattan

Read of the Day:
What if Jay Bilas ran the NCAA? If there’s a guy who could fix the problems with college athletics, it’s Jay Bilas. Ever wonder how Bilas would solve the hot mess involving University of Miami and Nevin Shapiro? Click here. (Deadspin via Bloomberg View)

Top Stories:
Late Night Snacks: Joe Harris leads Virginia past No. 3 Duke: Morehead State and and Tennessee State put on a thriller in the OVC, and Gonzaga survived BYU and Virginia stormed the court again Duke.

Virginia bolsters NCAA tournament resume with win over No. 3 Duke: With as many bad losses as Virginia had, they desperately needed to secure a win over a top-5 team. Joe Harris led the Wahoos over the Blue Devils, scoring a season-high 36 points.

Duke lost, but don’t go getting all panicked just yet: This is almost exactly the same as what I wrote when Duke lost at Maryland two weeks ago. Sure they lost on the road, but trust us. Don’t panic.

Report: ‘Catholic 7′ to split following current academic year, keep Big East name: Thursday afternoon it was reported that the Catholic-7 members will break away from the current conference at the end of this academic year, and will keep the Big East name. This is big news.

Bubble update: Tennessee making a push for NCAA consideration: CBT’s resident bracketologist Dave Ommen provides the latest updates on the tournament bubble.

Bubble Banter: Who helped and who hurt their tourney chances? North Carolina continues to play their way back into the field of 68, and Temple’s win over Detroit keeps the Owls in discussion for an at-large bid.

NCAA grants St. John’s forward Orlando Sanchez one year of eligibility: Sanchez’s eligibility had been under questioned all season because of three minutes of playing time for the Dominican National team in 2010.

 
 
Hoops Housekeeping:
– NCAA will release their decision on the Saint Mary’s basketball investigation. The Gaels have been subject of an NCAA inquiry since last summer, looking into the recruitment of some of their previous Australian players. (San Jose Mercury News)

– Notre Dame’s Scott Martin has decided to call it a career after six years. The forward will undergo career-ending knee surgery. (Sporting News)

– Wisconsin forward Ryan Evans, he of the “jump shot free throw” fame, injured his knee in practice yesterday. The severity of his status is still undetermined. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– Ugliest. Uniforms. Ever. (Bruins Nation)

– There was an ugly scene during Virginia’s court-storming against No. 3 Duke. Duke has been involved in four court-stormings this season. Coach-K is spot on with his concerns. (Wilmington Star News)

– Expansionocalypse struck again yesterday, with the Catholic-7 taking the Big East name and adding Butler and Xavier. The “Big East v.2.0” is going to screw up things for a lot of other leagues. (USA Today)

– Creighton officials remain mum about inclusion in the new Catholic-7. (Omaha World Herald)

– Andy Katz on the brand victory earned by the departing Big East schools. (ESPN)

– Connecticut has had a rough nine months or so. Things got worse yesterday with the news that the Catholic-7 would be breaking away from the Big East at the end of the year. No school has lost as much from conference realignment as UConn has. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Think about it. In just under a decade Butler has gone from 6th place in the Horizon League the new era of Big East basketball. (Indianapolis Star)

– Bill Self was not thrilled with the Big-XII’s decision to release a statement of officiating in regards to the controversial ending to Monday night’s thriller against Iowa State. (Wichita Eagle)

– Is a good win better than a bad loss? No team better typifies this ongoing debate than the Virginia Cavaliers. (The Backboard Chronicles)

– By defeating Hartford last night, Stony Brook captured the America East regular season championship. (Mid-Major Madness)

– Although UConn is not eligible for postseason play, Big East games against the Huskies will count towards determining Big East Tournament tie-breakers. (Syracuse Post-Standard)

– Just how far ahead is Otto Porter from the rest of the Big East PoY competition? (Big East Basketblog)

– This is crunch time for a handful of tournament hopefuls. Mike DeCourcy details the three-week long trek through the pressure cooker. (Sporting News)
 
 
Odds & Ends:
– The new Adidas March Madness uniforms are so ugly, a petition has been sent to the White House. Normally, I’m not big on petitions. But I’d sign this one twice. (The Pitch)

– Kansas head coach Bill Self received a letter of apology from the Iowa State student government for the incidents that took place following the Jayhawk’s stunning comeback win at Iowa State. (Fox Sports)

In honor of Chane Behanan’s monstrous dunk over Worrel Clahar, here are the ten best dunks in Louisville history. (Card Chronicle)

– Kenny Kadji replicated LeBron James’ between-the-legs warm-up dunk during the pregame shootaround against Virginia Tech. (The U Hoops)

– James Fraschilla is easily my favorite walk-on in the country. (Fox Sports Southwest)
 
 
Picture of the Day:
No caption necessary. (H/T @ThomasBeisner)

source:

 
 
Dunk of the Day:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZz-fkzXaa8&w=560&h=315%5D

 
 
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Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies

Joe Rondone/USA TODAY NETWORK
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SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.

Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald is returning to Arizona to work under coach Adia Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald will serve as director of recruiting operations while continuing to fulfill her WNBA commitments. She will oversee all recruiting logistics, assist with on-campus visits, manage recruit information and social media content at Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after transferring from Washington as a sophomore. She was an All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020-21, leading the Wildcats to the national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career scoring average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick of the 2021 WNBA draft.

South Carolina, Staley cancel BYU games over racial incident

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina and women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley have canceled a home-and-home series with BYU over a recent racial incident where a Cougars fan yelled slurs at a Duke volleyball player.

The Gamecocks were scheduled to start the season at home against BYU on Nov. 7, then play at the Utah campus during the 2023-24 season.

But Staley cited BYU’s home volleyball match last month as reason for calling off the series.

“As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff,” Staley said in a statement released by South Carolina on Friday. “The incident at BYU has led me to reevaluate our home-and-home, and I don’t feel that this is the right time for us to engage in this series.”

Duke sophomore Rachel Richardson, a Black member of the school’s volleyball team, said she heard racial slurs from the stands during the match.

BYU apologized for the incident and Richardson said the school’s volleyball players reached out to her in support.

South Carolina said it was searching for another home opponent to start the season.

Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner spoke with Staley about the series and supported the decision to call off the games.