Weekend Preview: What’s going on with the bubble?

Leave a comment

You want to see a list of every game that has bubble implications this weekend? Well, here’s a list of every game that has bubble implications this weekend.

Click here to see our Weekend Preview of the top games.

Sat. Pitt @ UConn, 12 p.m. (ESPN): Here’s my issue with the fact that UConn’s bubble standing dominated discussion this week: it will all be rendered moot if they lose to Pitt at home.

Sat. West Virginia @ South Florida, 12 p.m. (ESPN3): Both WVU and USF are probably sitting in a better position than UConn right now. Both will have a chance to get into the dance if they lose this game. But, frankly, that is not a risk you are going to want to take with the kind of resumes both these teams have.

Sat. George Washington @ Dayton, 12 p.m.: The A-10 looked like they were going to get five teams into the dance as recently as last week. But I still think they will get three or four, but its going to require teams like Dayton to beat a team like GW.

Sat. St. Louis @ Duquesne, 12 p.m.: The Billikens put themselves in very good position with a win over Xavier to help offset their loss to Rhode Island. A loss would hurt, but it wouldn’t be devastating, either.

Sat. Washington @ UCLA, 2 p.m. (CBS): At the point, Washington doesn’t have any margin for error if they want to earn that at-large bid. Would 15-3 in the Pac-12 regular season be enough?

Sat. Cincinnati @ Villanova, 2 p.m. (ESPN): If the tournament started today, Cincinnati is dancing. But its doesn’t start today, which means that the Bearcats need to not lose thanks to their weak non-conference slate.

Sat. Southern Miss @ Marshall, 2 p.m.: Southern Miss is an interesting case. They have really good computer numbers, but their profile doesn’t necessarily have the big wins to back that up. Marshall has struggled of late, but they have talent on their roster.

Sat. St. Bonaventure @ La Salle, 2 p.m.: Yup, its that time of the year where we have to mention St. Bonaventure.

Sat. Charlotte @ Xavier, 2 p.m.: Xavier is probably on the outside looking in right now, which is a shame given how much talent they have. I’m really curious to see whether or not the Muskies have any bounce-back in them.

Sat. Northwestern @ Iowa, 2:30 p.m.: Northwestern still has a puncher’s chance to get in, but it is going to be tough to rebound from that crushing defeat to Ohio State.

Sat. Boston College @ Miami (FL), 2:30 p.m. (ESPN3): Miami’s loss to NC State on Wednesday put them in serious jeopardy of missing out on the tournament. Beating BC may not be enough in itself.

Sat. Alabama @ Ole Miss, 4 p.m. (ESPN3): Alabama has all but played their way into the tournament, but it will be interesting to see what they do on the road during a Senior Night. They struggled last night against a bad Auburn team.

Sat. Colorado State @ Air Force, 4 p.m. (MTN): There are no ifs, ands or buts about it: Colorado State has to have this game. They are 0-6 on the road in the league play. Its not so much the win helping, its avoiding another bad loss.

Sat. Arkansas @ Mississippi State, 5 p.m. (ESPN3): Here’s to hoping Mississippi State loses. I’d rather see one of the mid-majors in the dance.

Sat. Seton Hall @ DePaul, 6 p.m. (ESPN3): Like Colorado State, this win won’t help Seton Hall’s cause. But a loss will hurt it.

Sat. Utah @ Oregon, 6 p.m.: Oregon is a longshot, but their win over Colorado on Thursday will help.

Sat. Texas @ No. 3 Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPN): Texas HAS to have this game, otherwise they are going to be forced to make a run in the Big 12 tournament. The Longhorns just don’t have enough good wins.

Sun. Virginia @ Maryland, 2 p.m. (ESPN3): Believe it or not, Virginia is actually pretty close to the bubble right now. Don’t force the committee’s hand, UVA.

Sun. Arizona @ Arizona State, 3:30 p.m.: Arizona is a long shot, but if they keep winning, they’ll force the committee to make a decision, which means there’s a chance.

Sun. Cal @ Stanford, 5:30 p.m.: After a great start to the season, Stanford has trailed off. But that doesn’t mean this isn’t a rivalry game. Cal needs to win to keep their hopes alive.

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

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
4 Comments

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
1 Comment

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
7 Comments

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

Getty Images
4 Comments

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
4 Comments

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.