Tuesday’s Shootaround: Not doubting Syracuse and not buying Baylor

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No. 5 Kansas 59, Kansas State 53: See here.

No. 2 Syracuse 52, No. 18 Louisville 51: Sometimes, we look too deep into the outcome of a game, which is why some people look at the score and the opponent and think that, somehow, this should take away from what we think about the Orange. Let’s put this in a vacuum. The No. 2 team in the country goes on the road to play the No. 18 team, who also happens to be one of the hottest teams in the country, and comes out with a win despite playing poorly. That’s a bad thing? Because that is precisely what happened at the Yum! Center on Monday night.

There is no question that Syracuse is a better team than they showed tonight. Scoop Jardine played as poorly as he has all year — he shot 0-8 from the floor, but he did hand out five assists while turning the ball over just twice — and neither Kris Joseph nor Dion Waiters were much better. CJ Fair, who scored 13 points on 5-12 shooting, and Fab Melo, who chipped in with 11, were the offensive stars for a Syracuse team that managed to shoot just 34.1% from the floor. Generally speaking, that’s not the formula for winning on the road, especially when you are playing a team that perennially has your number.

Louisville went on a 15-2 run to take a 51-46 lead with 3:39 left. The Orange were on the ropes, and they buckled down. Louisville didn’t score again, and the Orange left with a win. Remind me again: how is this a bad thing?

No. 10 Baylor 79, Iowa State 64: This is where we fall into the trap of Baylor (which is ironic given Baylor’s trouble with a trapping defense), because they actually looked good against Iowa State. Pierre Jackson was creating, Perry Jones and Quincy Miller looked like lottery picks, Baylor hit their threes and Quincy Acy dunked everything he could get his hands on. Iowa State is the fourth best team in the Big 12, and they got handled easily by the Bears.

The problem is that we know its all a ruse. We saw what happened when they played against Kansas and when they took on Missouri. We know how Bears reacted when they took a punch against an elite level team. I’m not buying it until I see Baylor do this against Kansas or Missouri, and that will have to wait for the Big 12 Tournament.

Delaware State 74, Morgan State 73: Tahj Tate went for 24 points as the Hornets continued their run towards the top of the MEAC standings. Jay Threat added 12 points, nine boards, five assists and three steals, but it was Marcus Oliver who, for the second straight game, who was the hero. He scored the game-winning bucket on a put-back at the buzzer.

Mississippi Valley State 58, Southern 53: The Delta Devils all but clinched the SWAC’s regular season title on Monday night. Behind 23 points and 15 boards from Paul Crosby, MVSU took a four-game lead on second-place Southern with five games left to play. Barring a massive collapse, MVSU will win a league title and, at worst, be heading to the NIT.

Belmont 106, Stetson 93: Ian Clarke scored 23 points to lead five players in double figures as the Bruins moved into a first-place tie with Mercer atop the Atlantic Sun standings. At 12-2, they hold a two-game lead. They also play on the last day of the regular season. That will be fun.

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

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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.