Championship Week recap: Day 11’s best game, top player

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Over the next 13 days, the brackets will start to take shape. Teams with no at-large aspirations will make one final push at the post-season. Teams on the bubble will look to assert themselves as worthy members of “The Big Dance”, and contenders will start priming their engines for a national Championship run. While “March Madness” officially begins following Selection Sunday, the real madness starts now.

Until Sunday, March 11,  this will be your home for Championship Week recaps and previews. The players and teams are starting to prepare for March Madness, so you should too.

Game of the Night: Marshall 105, Tulsa 100 3OT
DeAndre Kane played 54 minutes and scored a career-high 40 points in the first triple-overtime game in the history of Conference-USA. Neither team led by more than seven points, nine players fouled out, and the two teams combined to go 68-of-101 from the charity stripe. Kane scored seven points in the final 31 seconds of the second overtime after Tulsa had taken a four point lead. The game featured 21 ties and 19 lead changes. Eric McClellan led the way for the Golden Hurricanes with 25 points and Steven Idlet chipped in with 20 as well.

– They were good too: Cincinnati 72, Georgetown 70 2OT
The Bearcats trailed by double-digits with less than ten minutes left in the game, but rallied back on the broad shoulders of Yancy Gates, who finished with a game high 23 points. The battle down low between Gates and Henry Sims was terrific, as the big-man traded baskets on several possessions. Hoya freshman Otto Porter sent the game into overtime thanks to a tough jumper with 3.6 seconds left. Gates continued to dominate in overtime, and Sims responded by sending the game into a second overtime with a nice running floater that beat the buzzer. Cashmere Wright won the game in the second session thanks to a nice drive from the top of the key. The Hoyas had a chance to win the game, but a Sims 3-point attempt caromed off the rim.

Player of the Night: Perry Jones III, Baylor
Jones’ toughness and willingness to take over a game has been questioned for the past few months. But the sophomore sensation showed his toughness and determination, scoring a career-high 31 points to lead the Bears over Kansas State 82-74 in the Big-XII quarterfinals. Jones scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the first half alone, and was the main reason the Bears were able to enact some revenge on the Wildcats, who beat Baylor 57-56 three weeks ago. in that meeting, Jones fouled out with just four points and four rebounds.

– He was good too: Jamal Franklin, San Diego State
Jamal Franklin finished with 19 points, including the game-winning buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat Boise State in the MWC quarterfinals. Nearly everybody in the arena knew Franklin would be the guy to take the final shot, yet the Broncos could do very little to stop him, as the sophomore hit a high-arching 3-pointer over a double team. This was the second buzzer-beater Franklin has made this year, has he drained a 3-pointer to defeat UNLV back in January

Team of the Night: Alcorn State Braves
The No.6-seed in the SWAC Tournament defeated No.3-seed Prairie View A&M 103-79 despite committing a season-high 26 turnovers. Four Alcorn State players scored 15 points or more, and the Braves led 50-17 at the end of the first half. The Braves only took eight 3-point attempts and connected on five of them. Ken McDonald led the way with 26 points on 11-of-12 shooting and Matrevious Sanders added 12 points, seven assists and six steals.

Thursday Results

Atlantic Coast Conference First Round
#10 Virginia Tech 68, #7 Clemson 63
#8 Maryland 82, #9 Wake Forest 60
#6 Miami 54, #11 Georgia Tech 36
#5 North Carolina State 78, #12 Boston College 57

Big East Conference Quarterfinals
#7 Louisville 84 #2 Marquette 71
#4 Cincinnati 72, #5 Georgetown 70 2OT
#3 Notre Dame 57, #6 South Florida 53 OT
#1 Syracuse 58, #9 Connecticut 55

Big-Ten Conference First Round
#10 Minnesota 75, #7 Northwestern 68 OT
#8 Iowa 64, #9 Illinois 61
#6 Purdue 79, #11 Nebraska 61
#5 Indiana 75, #12 Penn State 58

Big-XII Conference Quarterfinals
#6 Texas 71, #3 Iowa State 65
#4 Baylor 82, #5 Kansas State 74
#2 Missouri 88, #7 Oklahoma State 70
#1 Kansas 83, #9 Texas A&M 66

Big West Conference Quarterfinals
#7 UC-Irvine 65, #2 Cal State-Fullerton 59
#4 Cal Poly 66, #5 UC-Riverside 54
#3 UC-Santa Barbara 72, #6 Pacific 52
#1 Long Beach State 80, #8 UC-Davis 46

Conference-USA Quarterfinals
#6 Marshall 105, #3 Tulsa 100 3OT
#2 Southern Mississippi 81, #10 East Carolina 78 OT
#4 Central Florida 64, #5 UAB 54
#1 Memphis 65, #8 UTEP 47

Mid-Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
#4 Kent State 76, #8 Western Michigan 72
#3 Ohio 65, #7 Toledo 57

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
#11 Florida A&M 65, #3 Delaware State 55 OT
#4 Bethune-Cookman 60, #5 North Carolina Central 59

Mountain West Conference Quarterfinals
#4 Colorado State 81, #5 Texas Christian 60
#3 UNLV 56, #6 Wyoming 48
#2 New Mexico 79, #7 Air Force 64
#1 San Diego State 65, #8 Boise State 62

Pac-12 Conference Quarterfinals
#9 Oregon State 86, #1 Washington 84
#6 Colorado 63, #3 Oregon 62
#4 Arizona 66, #5 UCLA 58
#2 California 77, #7 Stanford 71

Southeastern Athletic Conference First Round
#11 Georgia 71, #6 Mississippi State 61
#8 Louisiana State 70, #9 Arkansas 54
#7 Ole Miss 68, #10 Auburn 54
#5 Alabama 63, #12 South Carolina 57

Southland Conference Semifinals
#4 McNeese State 92, #1 UT-Arlington 72
#3 Lamar 55, #2 Stephen F. Austin 44

Southwestern Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
#6 Alcorn State 103, #3 Prairie View A&M 79
#5 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 60, #4 Alabama State 56 OT

Western Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
#6 Hawaii 72 #3 Idaho 70
#5 Louisiana Tech 72, #4 Utah State 70
#2 New Mexico State 65, #7 Fresno State 49
#1 Nevada 54, #8 San Jose State 44

Troy Machir is the managing editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @TroyMachir.

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

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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

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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.