Friday’s Morning Shootaround: Two more conference champs, big games out West

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No. 25 Temple 73, Richmond 53: See here.

Penn State 66, Minnesota 63: See here.

Arizona 79, Washington State 70: Derrick Williams scored 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds as the Wildcats were able to hold off Klay Thompson, who had 30 points, and the Cougars down the stretch. Williams is playing with a heavily bandaged right pinky, one that he had bent backwards three weeks ago, and after scoring just 23 points combined in his first two games with the bandage on, he finally looked confident on Thursday night. That’s important, because Arizona takes on Washington on Saturday with a chance to eliminate the Huskies from the Pac-10 regular season race.

Washington 79, Arizona State 62: Matthew Bryan-Amaning scored 22 points, grabbed 12 boards, and added three assists and four blocks as the Huskies stayed within striking distance of Arizona in the Pac-10 race. They are just two games back and get a chance to move closer on Saturday in Tucson.

UCLA 69, Stanford 65: Reeves Nelson had 18 points and seven boards, Tyler Honeycutt added 16 points, and Joshua Smith went for 13 point and nine boards as the Bruins remained firmly entrenched directly between Arizona and Washington in the Pac-10 standings. Since that four game losing streak early in the season, the Bruins have won 15 of their last 18 games while becoming a much better team on the defensive end of the floor. Part of that is the competition in the Pac-10, but some credit needs to be given to Ben Howland for getting his kids to buy into what he’s selling.

Alabama 67, LSU 56: JaMychal Green had 18 points and seven boards and the Crimson Tide knocked off LSU and kept themselves tied with Florida atop the SEC standings.

Oakland 71, North Dakota State 69: Oakland clinched their second straight Summit League regular season title on the strength of 22 points, nine boards, and five blocks from Keith Benson.

Belmont 68, East Tennessee State 58: The Bruins overcame a 31-24 halftime deficit to complete a season sweep of the Buccaneers and clinch the Atlantic Sun regular season title.

NC State 69, Clemson 61: The Tigers can be all but taken out of at-large contention after losing in Raleigh.

DePaul 79, Providence 76: Kudos to DePaul for picking up their first Big East win of the Oliver Purnell era. It snapped a 24 game losing streak in league play. Prior to that, the Blue Demons had one win that snapped another 24 game losing streak. At this rate, Purnell will get his second league win some time early in 2013.

San Francisco 82, Portland 73; Gonzaga 85, Santa Clara 76: Both the Dons and the Zags managed to remain just a game back of St. Mary’s in the WCC standings. The two face each other on Saturday, and with Gonzaga getting a rematch with the Gaels next weekend, the winner could very well end up with a share of the WCC regular season title.

Other Notable Games

  • Coastal Carolina 94, NCCU 59
  • Charleston 85, Citadel 63
  • USC 78, Cal 75
  • Northwestern 73, Iowa 70

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.