Week in Review: Player of the Week

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Team of the Week

Five Thoughts

Player of the Week: Draymond Green, Michigan State

Here’s a stat for you: five times this season, Draymond Green has had at least 20 points, 10 boards and five assists in a game. They’ve all come in the last 11 games. He’s done it in three of his last four games and four times in the last seven games. He also put up those numbers twice last week, finishing with 20 points, 10 boards and five assists on the dot in a 69-55 win over Wisconsin and following that up with 20 points, 10 boards and seven assists in a 76-62 win at Purdue. And you wonder why we call Green versatile.

The crazier part? No other player in the country has done that more than twice this season, meaning that Green matched them in the span of three days.

I made this point during the week, but I didn’t get to elaborate on it as much as I would have liked: Draymond Green would be my pick for Big Ten Player of the Year. The last player to average 15 points, 10 boards and three assists in a season was a guy by the name of Tim Duncan (Ed. Note: In a power conference, these guys have put up those numbers in smaller leagues), and as great as Duncan was, he didn’t provide his Wake Forest team with the kind of intangibles — Green is the epitome of every cliche about being a leader and a coach on the floor — that give provides this team. The reason I have Michigan State making a run in my imaginary NCAA Tournament bracket right now is because of everything the talented Day Day is capable of doing.

The All-They-Were-Good-Too Team

G: Tu Holloway, Xavier: For the first time in a long time — possibly as far back as the brawl — Tu Holloway looked like Tu Holloway. In an 86-83 overtime win over Dayton, Holloway went for 32 points, six boards, five assists and two steals. But it was more than his stat line that impressed; Holloway made a number of big plays and bigger shots down the stretch, including a tough and-one with 11 seconds left that put Xavier up two in regulation and an awkward, turnaround three that allowed the Musketeers to take control in the extra frame. This is the Tu Holloway we expected to see all season long, and his play allowed Xavier to not only stay in the mix for an at-large bid, but to keep them within striking distance for the Atlantic 10 regular season title.

G: Justin Cobbs, Cal: Cal picked up a pair of wins at home this week, knocking off Oregon and Oregon State. Cobbs was the hero this week for the Bears. In Thursday’s win over Oregon, he scored a career-high 28 points on 13-19 shooting while adding eight assists and four steals. He followed that up on Saturday with 10 points, 13 assists and five boards in a win over Oregon State. All told, Cobbs had 38 points, 21 assists, eight boards and four steals while shooting the ball 16-26 from the floor and turning it over just three times in 78 minutes. It doesn’t get better than that.

G: John Jenkins, Vanderbilt: Vandy didn’t exactly put together the most impressive of wins this week. They were victorious in games at Ole Miss and at Georgia, and neither of those two teams are headed for much more than a trip to the SEC Tournament. That said, what Jenkins did in those two games was noteworthy. He scored 54 points in the two games missed just three shots on the week. He had 26 points on 5-5 shooting from the floor on Thursday against Ole Miss and followed that up with 28 points on 8-11 shooting against Georgia. Jenkins went 13-16 from the floor for the week, including 10-12 from three.

G/F: Kareem Jamar, Montana: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. There are six slots in the All They-Were-Good-Too Team this week, but Jamar had to get a mention somewhere in this weekly roundup. Why? Because in Montana’s 94-79 win over Hawaii in the BracketBuster’s game, he finished with 21 points, 11 boards and 11 assists. He was 5-8 from the field and in 34 minutes, he only turned the ball over once. That’s as good of a performance as you are going to see this season. The 6’5″ sophomore is having a terrific season, averaging 13.3 ppg (2nd on the team), 5.4 rpg (2nd on the team) and 3.7 apg (leads the team), and has played a major role in helping the Grizzlies keep pace with Weber State atop the Big Sky. Barring a loss in their next two games, Montana will be playing the Wildcats on the regular season’s final day for the regular season title.

F: Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette: Its time to start talking about Marquette as a potential Final Four team, and its not just because the Golden Eagles followed up a 17 point win over Cincinnati last Saturday with a dominating 15 point win over UConn this Saturday. Its because the Golden Eagles play a difficult style to matchup with — their smaller lineup has made them a dangerous uptempo team — and because they have two players as talented as seniors Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom. Crowder had 29 points and 12 boards against the Huskies, while DJO added 24 points.

C: Drew Gordon, New Mexico: The Lobos were absolutely dominant this week, knocking off both UNLV and San Diego State to take a two game lead in the Mountain West standings while solidifying themselves as, potentially, the best team out west. Gordon was the biggest reason why. He went for 17 points and 17 boards in a win over SDSU, a performance that was overshadowed by the 27 points and 20 boards he had in the win over UNLV. When you average 22.0 ppg and 18.5 rpg for the week, you get noticed.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Louisville challenges NCAA over recruiting allegations

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville has refuted NCAA allegations against its men’s basketball program in the wake of a federal corruption scandal, requesting that the highest-level violation be reclassified.

The university also is challenging that former coach Rick Pitino failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program.

Louisville filed a 104-page response last week to the Notice Of Allegations sent to the school in May. The document stated that college sports’ governing body seeks to ignore wire fraud convictions against several people involved in the scheme – including a former Adidas executive – by suggesting they were representing its athletic interests. Louisville’s contract with the apparel maker was a standard sponsorship agreement rather than a promotional deal, the response added.

“This argument is as novel as it is wrong,” the school wrote in its response. “Even if an institution has some responsibility for the conduct of its suppliers, that responsibility plainly does not extend to acts of fraud perpetrated against the institution itself.”

Louisville also seeks to have several second-tier violations reclassified even lower. The NCAA has until Nov. 15 to respond with the school responding 15 days after before a decision is made whether the case will proceed through the traditional Committee on Infractions or Independent Accountability Review Process (IARP).

The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations states that Louisville committed a Level I violation, considered the most severe, with an improper recruiting offer and extra benefits along with several lesser violations. Those lesser violations also include Pitino failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance.

The NCAA notice completed a two-year investigation following a federal corruption probe of college basketball announced in September 2017. Louisville acknowledged its involvement in the federal investigation related to the recruitment of former player Brian Bowen II. Pitino, who’s now coaching Iona, was not named in the federal complaint and has consistently denied authorizing or having knowledge of a payment to a recruit’s family.

Louisville has previously indicated it would accept responsibility for violations it committed but would contest allegations it believed were not supported by facts. The school also noted corrective measures taken in the scandal’s immediate aftermath, such as suspending and then firing Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich.

Louisville also dismissed the NCAA’s contention that former Adidas executive James Gatto and amateur league director Merl Code represented the school while funneling illegal payments to recruits at several schools.

“The enforcement staff’s remaining allegations lack factual support and overread the relevant Bylaws,” the response stated, “and rest on the erroneous contention that the conspirators were representatives of the University’s athletics interests.

“For these reasons and others set forth, the panel should reject the enforcement staff’s dramatically overbroad theory, and classify this case as involving a Level II-Mitigated violation.”

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.