Thursday’s Shootaround: The SEC struggles, Xavier rolls again

Leave a comment

No. 12 Florida 78, Arizona 72 OT: See here.

Dayton 74, No. 15 Alabama 62: See here.

No. 8 Xavier 73, Butler 61: The Musketeers were just too physical for Butler as they used a 21-6 run to open the game and kept the Bulldogs at bay, only allowing them to get within four points once midway through the second half. Tu Holloway struggled from the field but played a solid floor games, finishing with 16 points (14-16 from the line), seven boards and six steals. Mark Lyons added 16 points and Dez Wells chipped in with 13 points.

No. 22 Illinois 48, St. Bonaventure 43: Good teams win games when they don’t play well, which means that Illinois has to be a good team, right? Because the Illini managed to avoid losing at home to Andrew Nicholson on a night where they weren’t even close to good. Brandon Paul scored 12 of his 17 points in the final four minutes of the games as Illinois erased a 38-30 deficit with just over six minutes remaining. Paul added five boards and five assists as well.

Vanderbilt 87, Davidson 83: Festus Ezeli returned on Wednesday, going for 15 points, six boards and two blocks off the bench as the Commodores got 30 points from Jeff Taylor and 22 from John Jenkins in a win at Davidson. Last week I wrote that the concern I have about Ezeli’s return was that he wouldn’t solve the problems that Vanderbilt has. Well, the ‘Dores, with Ezeli back, got a career-high out of Taylor and had Jenkins shooting the ball well and still nearly blew an 18 point second half lead against Davidson.

Purdue 65, Western Carolina 60: Purdue held WCU to just 37% shooting and forced 19 turnovers as they came back from an eight point halftime deficit to knock off the Catamounts. Robbie Hummel had 19 points and seven boards to lead the way for the Boilermakers, who won despite shooting 39% from the floor and hitting just 19-36 from the free throw line.

Wichita State 77, Tulsa 67: Toure’ Murry scored 17 points, but it was a pair of three-point plays that book-ended a David Kyles three during a key, 9-2 run for the Shockers that made the difference. Murry’s second three-point play made the score 66-60 with just 4:21 left on the clock, and WSU avoided a let-down game on the road after having beat UNLV by 19 at home with the Rebels were ranked.

Iona 80, Denver 78 OT: The Gaels got a jumper from Randy Dezouvre with 1.6 seconds left in the extra frame, pulling out a quality win on the road against a better-than-you-think Denver team. Iona was down by as much as 13 in the second half to the Pioneers, a team whose Princeton-style offense starkly contrasts to the uptempo style that Iona likes to play. Momo Jones led the Gaels with 21, while Scott Machado added 19 and seven assists.

Cal St. Fullerton 81, Utah 50: The Utes may not win a game this season. Seriously. They are that bad. Proof? This game was played at Utah and Fullerton lost to Houston Baptist. Yuck.

UAB 66, Middle Tennessee State 56: Well, that should take our expectations for MTSU down a bit. UAB is in full rebuilding mode this season.

The rest of the top 25

No. 5 Duke 87, Colorado State 64: Andre Dawkins scored 15 points in the first half (but he sat out the second half with back spasms) and Austin Rivers scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half as the Blue Devils rolled through the Rams.

No. 6 Louisville 90, IUPUI 60: IUPUI kept things close for about 25 minutes, but the Cardinals turned it on in the second half, but used a 15-0 run in the second half to turn this into a rout. Gorgui Dieng went for 18 points and 12 boards on 8-8 shooting, and Louisville got Rakeem Buckles back from injury.

No. 16 Wisconsin 70, UW-Green Bay 42: Jordan Taylor had 15 points, 10 assists and no turnovers as the Badgers bounced back from back-to-back losses to UNC and Marquette last week.

No. 25 Texas A&M 64, Sam Houston State 37: Ray Turner had 15 points and 10 boards and Elston Turner added 14 points as the Aggies won going away. They are still waiting on Khris Middleton’s return.

Other notable scores:

– Georgia Tech 68, Georgia 56
– Michigan State 89, CCSU 69
– Lafayette 61, Penn State 57
– Virginia Tech 78, Rhode Island 67
– Penn 69, Delaware 60
– Ohio 84, Oakland 82

Top Performers

Nick Barbour, High Point: Barbour had 35 points and hit seven threes, but High Point lost by four to Wake Forest.

Deonte Burton, Nevada: Burton continued his hot play, as he went for 28 points and four assists as the Wolfpack knocked off their second straight Pac-12 opponent, this time going into Tempe and beating Arizona State.

Dylon Cormier, Loyola MD: Cormier had 26 points, nine boards and four assists as the Greyhounds went into the Smith Center and knocked off GW 65-55.

Langston Galloway, St. Joe’s: Galloway had 30 points as the Hawks bounced back from a loss at American to knock off BU.

Zack Rosen, Penn: Rosen may be the best point guard in the country that you’ve never heard off. He had 29 points, eight assists and just a single turnover as the Quakers knocked off Delaware.

Geraldo Suero, Albany: Suero is one of the best scorers in the country at any level. He finished with 29 points in a win over Colgate.

Patric Young, Florida: The scary part about the 25 points and 10 boards Young had against Arizona? He could have had much more if his guards had given him the ball.

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
2 Comments

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
1 Comment

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
5 Comments

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Leave a comment

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.