Missouri beats Kansas thanks to Denmon, controversial 11-0 run

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This season has featured a change to the block/charge rule.

In an effort to prevent weak-side defenders from planting themselves under the rim to try and draw a charge, the NCAA has put in a charge circle. Its not quite as far out as the NBA’s charge circle, but its there, and its something new that college refs have to pay attention too. As much as in any season that I can remember, people have been complaining about the inconsistency of this call in the college game, and the thinking is that it is because the refs aren’t used to having to determine where a player’s feet are at the same time they have to decide if that player is in good defensive position.

Why am I bringing this up?

Because the talk of No. 4 Missouri’s come-from-behind, 74-71 win over No. 8 Kansas on Saturday night is going to be a questionable charging call on Thomas Robinson. The call came after Marcus Denmon scored a tough, and-one layup to cut the Jayhawks’ lead to 71-66. Robinson drove the lane to his right hand and spun back to his left, making contact with Steve Moore on the spin as he knocked down a floater in the lane. Instead of having the chance to answer Denmon’s and-one with one of his own, the basket was waved off and Missouri headed in the other direction.

On the ensuing possession, Denmon hit a tough three curling off of an in-screen. After Missouri regained possession on a Tyshawn Taylor turnover, Denmon buried another three, this time from deep in the corner with a hand in his face. All of a sudden, instead of shooting a free throw to take an eight point lead, Kansas found themselves down one with less than a minute left in the game.

That’s a helluva swing.

And it will be easy for Kansas fans the blame this loss on that call, not to mention a similar charge that was called on Taylor with 42 seconds left in the game and Kansas trailing by a point.

But pinning the final result of this game on a little bit of home-cooking would be unfair and incorrect, because the fact of the matter is that, in the final two minutes, Missouri executed and Kansas didn’t. The Jayhawk’s final six possessions included four turnovers, two missed free throws and a prayer from Elijah Johnson that hit nothing but backboard after he passed up an open look at a game-tying three. That’s not the kind of late-game execution that wins you basketball games.

More importantly, despite a sensational first half from Taylor where he scored 17 of his 21 points and 25 points and 13 boards from Robinson, the Jayhawks lost. Why? Those pesky turnovers. Taylor and Robinson combined for 11, which is far too many when you consider how much of a role those two play in Bill Self’s offensive attack.

That said, those turnovers and Denmon’s heroics overshadowed the fact that Missouri lost their composure a bit in the second half.

One of the biggest reasons that Missouri has been this successful thus far this year has been their ability to attack in transition when they have numbers and recognize when there is no advantage to be had, pulling the ball out and running offense in the half court. They didn’t do that for much of the second half. Whether is was ill-advised passes, forced penetration into the paint or poor shot-selection with a lot of time left on the shot clock, the Tigers allowed Kansas to take control of the game.

It seemed like the Tigers allowed the moment to get to them. With how much this game meant to the fans and the players of both teams, there was so much emotion in Mizzou Arena. When Kansas made their surge and took seven and eight point leads, the Tigers were trying to get it all back in one possession. The same thing happened in the loss at Oklahoma State.

And that’s concerning. As good as Denmon is, he’s not going to score 29 points — or nine points in the span of a minute — every time the Tigers find themselves in a hole. He’s not going to be able to bail the Tigers out in every game they play with a raucous atmosphere where the other team makes a run. With home dates left against Baylor, Kansas State and Iowa State and a return trip to the Phog — which will be as anticipated as any game this season — in their future, Missouri is going to have plenty of games on national television with plenty on the line. They cannot get flustered in the second half.

They cannot wait for Denmon to come rescue them.

But it sure is nice knowing that he can if he has to.

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

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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

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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.