Wednesday’s Shootaround: Two buzzer-beaters, Louisville and Ohio win

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No. 4 Louisville 69, College of Charleston 62: I can say this pretty confidently — Louisville is not the fourth best team in the country. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Cardinals and I think that they have a shot to win the Big East if things break their way, but I think that Louisville is much closer to being the 10th or 12th best team in the country than the 4th.

That said, regardless of where Louisville is ranked, the fact that the College of Charleston went into the Yum! Center and very nearly knocked off the Cardinals is an impressive feat. The Cougars are legit this season. Antwaine Wiggins, a lanky, 6’7″ small forward that can score from anywhere on the floor, is good enough to start at two-thirds of the high-major programs across the country. Trent Wiedemann and Adjehi Baru give CofC plenty of size. Andrew Lawrence isn’t Andrew Goudelock, but he is a playmaking point guard that has made some big shots this season. The Cougars would usually be a favorite to make the NCAA Tournament, but they play in the SoCon’s South Division.

The same division as Davidson. That will be fun.

Anyway, back to Louisville, they were frustrated throughout the first 30-or-so minutes by a 2-3 zone that the Cougars were playing. As good as Chane Behanan and Gorgui Dieng have been this season, neither of them have the kind of skills that would allow them to thrive at the high-post against a zone. Rakeem Buckles and Jared Swopshire weren’t effective in that role, either. In fact, Louisville didn’t make their run until Kyle Kuric was put at the four spot. That won’t fly against a team like Syracuse. The Orange are just too big to use four guards against.

NC State 67, St. Bonaventure 65: Did the Bonnies get robbed?

It looks like they may have. The Wolfpack and the Bonnies went back and forth for 40 minutes, but it took two Eric Mosley free throws with 3.1 seconds left on the clock to tie the game at 65 and, seemingly, send the game into an extra frame. CJ Leslie had a different idea, however. CJ Williams, who was a quarterback in high school, threw the ball the length of the floor to Leslie, who caught it, pivoted, and scored on a short jumper with 0.6 seconds left.


Sure looks like Leslie’s right foot is out of bounds, right? The video is grainy and choppy but …

That’s pretty clear, ain’t it?

Regardless, Scott Wood had 20 points to lead the Wolfpack while Leslie added 12 points and seven boards. Andrew Nicholson had just 16 points and six boards.

Wright State 80, Idaho 78 OT: Double buzzer-beater?

Don’t mind if I do. Idaho’s Landon Tatum hit a half-court heave at the end of regulation to force overtime. After Dazmyne Sykes his a layup to put the Vandals up 78-77 with just four seconds left in the extra frame, Julius Mays (who finished with 28 points) hit a running three-pointer as the horn went off to win the game:


Ohio 76, Northern Iowa 59: It may be time for us to start taking Ohio a little bit more seriously. The Bobcats improved to 10-1 on the season (the “1” being a five-point loss to Louisville on the road) with a 17 point beat down of UNI in Cedar Rapids. And this game was a beat down is every sense of the word. Ohio was up 17-8 in the first five minutes. They were up 39-21 before the break. They didn’t lead by less than 11 for the final 30 minutes of the game. That will happen when you hit 11-21 from beyond the arc. And, again, this was at Northern Iowa. Impressive.

Arizona 85, Oakland 73: Oakland fought hard to stay with the Wildcats, getting 31 points and six assists out of star guard Reggie Hamilton, but Arizona’s best offensive performance of the season was too much. Solomon Hill went for 23 points and 11 boards while Kyle Fogg added 17 as Arizona opened up a 13 points lead in the first half before taking complete control of the game midway through the second half. The Wildcats were up by as much as 19 points.

Richmond 90, Old Dominion 82 OT: Darien Brothers scored 12 of his 38 points in overtime as the Spiders bounced back from a home-loss to Iona by knocking off a rebuilding Old Dominion team. The Monarchs got 21 points from Chris Cooper and 20 points and eight boards out of Kent Bazemore, who hit a 30 foot three with two seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Richmond was up by as much as 15 in the first half.

Gonzaga 71, Butler 55: Kevin Pangos and Elias Harris both had 19 points as the Zags gave the Bulldogs a pretty thorough beating. We all know that Butler is not the same team that it has been the past couple of seasons, but Gonzaga isn’t either. Among the issues the Zags have is that they need to have David Stockton running the point and Pangos playing off the ball, but when that it is the case, the Zags cannot guard anyone.

UCLA 89, UC Irvine 60: Freshman Norman Powell had a career-high 19 points to lead five scorers in double figures for the Bruins. UCLA has looked much better in the past couple of weeks. Granted, their last two games have been against UC Irvine and UC Davis, but we’re talking about a team that didn’t win a Division I game until November 28th. An effective offense against a team like UCI is a start.

The rest of the top 25:

No. 1 Syracuse 80, Bucknell 61: Kris Joseph had 17 points and Scoop Jardine added 14 as the Orange rolled over Bucknell at home. Rakeem Christmas had 10 points, including seven in the first three minutes of the game.

No. 2 Ohio State 70, Lamar 50: The Buckeyes got 18 points and 11 boards in 30 minutes from Jared Sullinger, who had been beat up all year long.

No. 3 Kentucky 82, Samford 50: Doron Lamb had 26 points and the Wildcats rolled despite playing without Terrence Jones, who is battling through a dislocated pinky.

No. 13 Pitt 71, St. Francis (PA) 47: JJ Moore had 15 points and Dante Taylor scored 14 points and added eight boards in the Panther’s first game since Khem Birch left the program. Pitt was up 27-4 with 7:26 left in the first half. That’s about all you need to know.

Other notable scores:

– Purdue 81, IPFW 56
– Georgia 72, Mercer 58
– Tennessee 72, UNC-Asheville 68
– VCU 68, UAB 49
– BYU 93, Buffalo 78
– Oregon 58, NCCU 45
– St. Mary’s 77, Eastern Washington 61

Top performers:

Julian Boyd, Long Island: Boyd has 22 points and 12 boards in a 100-84 win over Texas State.

Darien Brothers, Richmond: Brothers had 12 of his 38 points in overtime as the Spiders knocked off Old Dominion.

Al’Lonzo Coleman, Presbyterian: The Blue Hose big man had 24 points and 11 boards in a 75-71 win.

Vincent Council, Providence: Council had 17 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds as the Friars knocked off New Hampshire.

Matthew Dellavedova, St. Mary’s: Dellavedova celebrated getting snubbed by the Cousy Award list by scoring 25 points and six assists against Eastern Washington.

Reggie Hamilton, Oakland: The Grizzly star had 31 points and six assists in a losing effort against Arizona.

Preston Medlin, Utah State: Medlin had 27 points, eight assists and four boards as the Aggies knocked off UT-Arlington.

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

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

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.