The Morning Mix

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– Seth Davis provides his weekly Hoops Thoughts, which is a weekly must-read.This week he discusses UConn’s new athletic director and a host of other interesting basketball tidbits

– A fantastic statistical comparison of Steve Lavin and Ben Howland’s time at UCLA. (If you have 15 minutes to spare, I highly suggest you read this)

– The referees that worked Saturday’s game between Niagara and Rider have been suspended by the MAAC for their egregious clock error

– The NCAA is looking to streamline their rule book. Jon Solomon of the Birmingham New has some solid suggestions on how to make it more efficient

– The CAA is likely to only get one team into March Madness, but that may depend on how the conference’s teams fare in BracketBusters this week . Speaking of the CAA, they have signed a five-year media deal with NBC Sports

– The Summit League is the “Anti-Big Ten”. The conference has had more players produce 3-point performances than any other conference this season. The Big-Ten? They’ve had just two. But surprisingly enough, the SEC has had as many 30-point performances as both you and I combined

– Louisville might have lost last night, but you have to feel much better about them going forward

– Eamonn Brennan provides his weekly Poll Thoughts

– We’re all aware of the widespread mediocrity sweeping the Pac-12 landscape. But maybe, just maybe, there could be an exciting finish in store for us

– Say what you will about Jon Calipari. But there is not a coach in the country who “gets it” as much as Coach Cal does

– You probably didn’t think that Tennessee would even be near the this year, but they’ve gotten some big wins this year, and well, the Volunteers while likely be in the discussion come Selection Sunday

– NC-State is another team that is likely to be firmly planted on the bubble come Selection Sunday, but Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski likes the Wolfpack’s chances

– Oregon may be on the wrong side of the bubble now, but if they want to improve their chances, Carlos Emory is going to have to be a key contributor

– While we’re on the subject of bubble teams, we might as well show a little love to the West Virginia Mountaineers

– Remember when Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery got all pissed off and superplex’d a folding chair a few weeks back? Well, that chair is being auctioned off for $2,100

– Rush the Court’s Zach Hayes tells us about what he learned from Rivalry Week

– It looks like the MWC and C-USA will indeed merge to form a super-mid-high-major conference

– UConn has six games left on the regular season schedule. Can the Huskies solve their chemistry issues before the Big East Tournament? Speaking of UConn, both Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond sat out of practice on Monday due to injuries

– The key the Michigan State’s recent surge has been their stifling defense. Considering the old adage about defense and championships, and coach Izzo’s track record, this team should not be left out of the Final Four discussion

– It is likely that two of the four suspended Alabama players are allowed back on the court for tonight’s game against Florida.  Speaking of Florida, both will Yeguete and Mike Rosario will miss the game for the gators due to injuries

– Don’t look now, but Butler is making a very “Butler-like” late-season surge

– Jeff Withey had himself one helluva ball-game last night. There is no doubt that he is the most improved player in the country

Ken Pomeroy on Murray State. Nothing more needs to be said.Just go read it.

– Video of Peyton Siva grabbing his teammate’s butt? There’s a joke about his two late-game turnovers to be found somewhere in there

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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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
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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

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
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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.