Tuesday’s slate, what to watch: Kentucky-Florida? Fantastic

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Florida’s Patric Young is a beast. It’s not just his physique, but his athletic ability and aggressiveness. This block? Just sick.

Perhaps that’s why this idea to take negate Kentucky’s Anthony Davis tonight makes sense – on the surface. Young could easily challenge Davis time and again and presumably get Davis into foul trouble. Getting the Wildcats’ defensive game-changer off the floor for extended periods of time? Sounds like a plan.

Except … Davis doesn’t get into foul trouble. He’s only fouled once this season (Nov. 20 vs. ODU) and hasn’t had more than three fouls in a game since Dec. 10 vs. Indiana. When he just missed a triple-double against Arkansas last month, he didn’t have a single foul. Sure, some of UK’s foes haven’t had dominant big men, but Davis seemed to fare just fine against North Carolina and Louisville (he had two fouls early, but played the second half cleanly).

Also, Young needs the ball to do any of this. That places the onus on Irving Walker and Kenny Boynton to even get him the ball.

(All times ET; TV info from HDSportsGuide.com)

Florida at Kentucky, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
It’s not like the Gators (19-4, 7-1) and Wildcats (23-1, 9-0) only comes down to the Davis-Young matchup, either. Florida’s offense doesn’t need Young to score. Boynton’s scoring efficiency is one of the year’s small miracles (who knew that was possible?), not to mention Mike Rosario and Bradley Beal can get hot at any time, while forward Erik Murphy shouldn’t be ignored. It’s the biggest test the Wildcats have had in a month and it’ll be interesting to see if their ridiculous defense can contain the Gators. If not, the Wildcats may still win. How Florida stops Kentucky’s offense is an awfully good question.

Iowa State at Oklahoma State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
The Cowboys (11-12) face the unenviable task of corralling Iowa State star Royce White. He’s a load, but so is LeBryan Nash.

Creighton at Evansville, 8:05 p.m.
The Blue Jays aren’t on TV, but this one worth tracking down in-game updates. Creighton (21-3) is coming off just its second MVC loss – a buzzer-beater to Northern Iowa, no less – may find itself in a tougher-than-it-would-like game tonight. The Purple Aces (11-12) don’t play much defense, but did win at UNI. Hmmm.

Purdue at Ohio State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Unless the Boilermakers (15-8) suddenly solve their defensive issues (seven of their last eight opponents have scored more than 1 PPP), this shouldn’t be much of a game. But it’ll provide an interesting segue from the Kentucky-Florida game. The Buckeyes (20-3) and the Wildcats are the nation’s two best teams. How often do you get to see them back-to-back?

Hartford at UMBC, 7 p.m.
Providence at Villanova, 8 p.m.

Maryland at Clemson, 7 p.m.
Campbell at Coastal Carolina, 7 p.m.
Mid-Continent at E. Kentucky, 7 p.m.
Florida at Kentucky, 7 p.m.
Alabama at Auburn, 9 p.m.

Texas Tech at Kansas St., 8 p.m.
IPFW at Chicago St., 8:05 p.m.
Creighton at Evansville, 8:05 p.m.
Purdue at Ohio St., 9 p.m.

Iowa St. at Oklahoma St., 7 p.m.

Seattle at Idaho, 10:05 p.m.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

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.