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The Morning Mix

Nov 8, 2012, 8:00 AM EDT

I know you’re anxious. We’re roughly 24 hours away from real, live, meaningful college basketball. No messing around today. Time to get dialed it.

Top Stories:

Dez Wells is able to play, Maryland suddenly much better: Xavier-transfer Dezmine Wells was approved by the NCAA to participate with Maryland on Wednesday morning. When added to a core of Pe’Shon Howard, Nick Faust, David Padgett, Alex Len and Shaq Cleare, the Terrapins should now be considered a legitimate threat in the ACC.

Indiana tops preseason NCAA tournament projections: Dave Ommen, NBC Sport’s resident bracketologist released his first NCAA tournament projections of the season, and as you would expect, Indiana is the No.1 overall seed. He also has the Atlantic-10 getting five bids while the Pac-12 only gets three. Kinda makes sense, though.

Who is the best team in “Kentuckiana”?: The latest installment of our “Burning Questions” series features a made-up region just north of the greater “Charlanta” region. You can clearly tell my answer was not used.

While there are better X’s and O’s coaches than John Calipari, there is nobody better at marketing (or recruiting): Much of the public’s disdain for John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats stems from the seemingly endless national media coverage of the man many call “Teflon John”. But while Kentucky does command a lot of attention, Coach Calipari uses the spotlight better than anybody in order to benefit the university, the program and the community. There is no denying that he’s the game’s best recruiter, public speaker and marketer.

Son of legendary UNLV coach Tarkanian loses House race in Nevada: Danny Tarkanian (R), the youngest son of lengendary, towel-bitting UNLV head coach Jerry Tarkanian was unsuccessful in his bid at a seat in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District. Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford (D) won the race  by a 50-42 margain according to 80% of the reporting precincts. Who doesn’t love politco hoops?

Hoops Housekeeping:

- Ben Howland got a commitment from three-star wing Noah Allen despite never actually scouting the player in person. That’s kinda bizarre. That’s so UCLA. (Bruins Nation)

- Speaking of UCLA, Shabazz Muhammad may actually be able to play in the Bruins season opener (Los Angeles Times)

- Missouri guard Michael Dixon will remain suspended for the season opener on Saturday. Keion Bell will return to the starting lineup after sitting out with a fever of 103-degrees (Columbia Tribune)

- Hawaii-transfer Shaq Stokes has been granted a hardship waiver by the NCAA and will be able to play immediately at Hofstra. The Brooklyn native averaged 8.4ppg as a freshman at Hawaii and was named the New York City Player of the Year coming out of high school. (Zags Blog, SNY.tv)

- Villanova backup guard Ty Johnson has decided to transfer schools. The sophomore averaged just 3.3ppg last season. (Philly Inquirer)

- Jordan Daniels started 25 games as a freshman for Steve Donahue’s Boston College Eagles. But the sophomore guard has decided to transfer out of Chestnut Hill and back closer to his family on the West Coast. (SB Nation Boston)

- Suspended Murray State sophomore Zay Jackson had his plea deal rejected by Calloway County Judge Craig Clymer. It seems like Jackson could be headed to jail for more than a month’s time (OVC Ball)

Observations & Analysis:

- With the season just 24 hours away, the UCLA Bruins are preparing as if they will be without freshman phenom Shabazz Muhammad (Fox Sports)

- No.18 UNLV needed a Carlos Lopez-Sosa overtime buzzer-beater in order to defeat Dixie State in their final exhibition game, 81-80 (Las Vegas Sun)

- John Wilner previews the upcoming season for the six Bay-area schools (Oakland Tribune)

- Billy Donovan is concerned that his Florida squad may struggle to dominate the glass (Gainesville Sun)

- Pitt Panther fans are very excited to see freshman big-man Stephen Adams in real, meaningful action. Why else would they chart his progress through the exhibition games? (Cardiac Hill)

- An current evaluation of the major trends in Texas Tech hoops (Viva The Matadors)

Lists, Polls & Rankings:

- Eamonn Brennan must moonlight as a television critic, because his viewing guide of the must-see non-conference games is spot-on (ESPN)

- Former-Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg ranks the top shooters in the country (ESPN)

- Mike DeCourcy does roughly the same thing, ranks the non-conference games (The Sporting News)

- It’s no #AllNameTeam, but it will work: The All-Hipster Freshman Team (Grantland)

- The Patriot Center is arguably the toughest venue for road teams in the CAA, but it’s not alone. Three other places are gaining notoriety for being hard places to win on the road (CAA Hoops)

- Pat Forde provides a solid list of the top-25 most intriguing coaches to watch for in 2012-2013. One notable absence is Loyola’s Jimmy Patsos, arguably college basketball’s most entertaining interviewee. (Yahoo Sports)

Odds & Ends:

- I apologize for missing this earlier in the week, but ESPN released their broadcast announce pairings for the upcoming season.  My favorite pairings? Joe Tessatore & Sean Farnham, Dave O’Brien & Doris Burke, John Schiambi & Fran Fraschilla, and Bob Wischusen & Stephen Bardo. I will miss Gottlieb. Raftery, Bilas & McDonough are always appointment viewing too (ESPN Media Zone)

- A broadcast viewing guide for all you Creighton Bluejay fans out there. any televised game featuring Grant Gibbs (@DoubleGfor3) is mandatory appointment-viewing (White & Blue Review)

- A viewing guide for those interested in watching the postponed Battle on the Midway between San Diego State and Syracuse (Syracuse Post-Standard)

- Despite the decriminalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado, THC remains off-limits for college athletes in the two states (The Dagger)

- A quick Q&A session with Belmont head coach Rick Byrd, who for my money is the nicest college basketball coach I’ve ever come across. He’s also a winner (545-284 at Belmont) and a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer (The Byrd Cage)

Video of the Day:

In honor of Dez Wells getting cleared by the NCAA to participate at Maryland, let me reintroduce you to the nastiest single-game display of #POSTERIZATION I have ever seen. In person too. #BIAHRoadTrip was court side at the Cintas Center for this. Rick Broering can vouch for us. (Ballin’ is a Habit)

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)

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