The 2011-12 college basketball season, in photos

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The college basketball season goes by too quickly. The games flow into one another, there’s always news breaking, stories to read and stuff to track.

But just like that, the 2011-12 season is done. Kentucky took its eighth title and the Baylor women put the finishing touches on an historic 40-0 season.

So why not relive the best moments of the season? Here, presented for your pleasure, are the top photos of the college basketball season.

(For those seeking nothing but NCAA tournament action, try this slideshow. There are roughly 400 photos in there. For those reading this via your SportsTalk phone app, better email it to yourself. These’ll look better on a big screen.)

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Connecticut sophomore Roscoe Smith goes airborne during for the Huskies at Midnight Madness. (Jessica Hill/AP)

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Pyrotechnics at the Breslin Center for Michigan State’s Midnight Madness event. (Al Goldis/AP)

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Baylor freshman Quincy Miller has some fun during the school’s Midnight Madness festivities. (Photo credit: Tony Gutierrez /AP)

 

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The amazing setting for the Carrier Classic, the game’s unofficial opener between North Carolina and Michigan State on Nov. 11 in San Diego. There were dozens of amazing shots from this game. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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Another great shot. Click here for more. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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This dunk by UConn’s Jeremy Lamb over Columbia’s Mark Cisco was the early leader for “wow” image of the season. (AP photo)

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Arizona junior Kevin Parrom was shot in the leg less than a month before practices began. When he was healthy enough to play, he got a huge hug from assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson on Nov. 13. (Wily Low/AP)

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When Duke coach passed legendary coach — and mentor — Bob Knight on the all-time wins list with No. 903, it called for a nice moment between friends. More photos from that night are here. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

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Kentucky’s Anthony Davis blocks a potential game-winning shot by North Carolina’s John Henson during the Wildcats’ thrilling 73-72 win  on Dec. 3 in Chapel Hill. It was THE moment of the early season until … (Robert Willett/AP)

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Indiana stunned Kentucky — one of two losses the champs suffered this season — thanks to Christian Watford’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

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Fans reacted accordingly. (Brian Spurlock/US Presswire)

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It wasn’t all fun and games. The off-court scandal affecting longtime Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine was the biggest non-game story of the year. (Kevin Rivoli/AP)

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It wasn’t much fun for head coach Jim Boeheim, either. This was a typical press conference after Fine was fired. (Kevin Rivoli/AP)

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Then there was the Cincinnati-Xavier brawl, the ugliest moment during the season. Yancy Gates’ fist summed it all up in one image. (Al Behrman/AP)

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Days after UNLV stunned North Carolina, Wichita State delivered a knockout blow to the Rebels. (Jeff Tuttle/AP)

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Former Maryland coach Gary Williams is honored by the school with his name on the court. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

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Dick Vitale got the court named after him at Detroit. Not bad for his only college coaching stop. (Carlos Osorio/AP)

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Jay-Z, Kentucky fan. He was on hand for the first Kentucky-Louisville game on New Year’s Eve. (James Crisp/AP)

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Kansas’ Eljiah Johnson goes airborne vs. Towson.

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Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan still can’t believe the Badgers lost to Michigan State. (AP)

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Where is Mason Plumlee gonna land? (Grant Halvorsen/Getty)

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I think opponents often thought Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne had this many arms. (Alex Brandon/AP)

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Georgia Tech’s Kammeon Holsey dives for a loose ball. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

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Kansas’ Travis Releford didn’t hurt himself on this play. That’s just a reaction to a foul being called on him. (Jamie Squire/Getty)

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Mike Moser is a rebounding stud for UNLV. This is not him. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Who says Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger can’t get up? (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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Illinois guard Brandon Paul provided the Illini’s highlight of the season when he poured in 43 vs. Ohio State. (Heather Colt/AP)

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Florida State trounced North Carolina by 33 points on Jan. 15. That was an ill omen for the Heels. (Steve Cannon/AP)

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This was a typical sight for teams playing Kentucky this season. (John Sommers II/Reuters)

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Yep, that’s Denard Robinson celebrating Michigan’s wild win against Michigan State. (Carlos Osorio/AP)

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Duke freshman Austin Rivers after Michael Snaer’s buzzer-beating 3-point saved Florida State. (Grant Halverson/Getty)

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Who didn’t love Murray State’s 23-0 start to the season? (John Wright/AP)

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It wasn’t all bad for Syracuse. Boeheim did pass Dean Smith on the all-time wins list.

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Georgia State coach Ron Hunter in his fifth annual barefoot game in support of Samaritan’s Feet, an organization that provides shoes for underprivileged children in over 62 countries around the world.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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Austin Rivers. Dagger. (Jim R. Bounds/AP)

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Kendall Marshall can’t believe Rivers hit that shot. (Streeter Lecka/Getty)

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What did Wichita State’s Garrett Stutz do to that rim? (Jeff Tuttle/AP)

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Purdue would really like for Draymond Green to miss that free throw. (Getty)

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Jack Blankenship. The face. The poster. The legend. (Photo via the Birmingham News)

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Missouri, Kansas State. This one’s just lovely. (Getty)

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Duke’s Miles Plumlee goes in for the kill. (Streeter Lecka/Getty)

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Mega-Kansas fan Jason Sudeikis took flame Olivia Wilde to a game at Allen Fieldhouse. I like his style. (Jamie Squire/Getty)

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Hey look! It’s Rob Lowe! Was Peyton Manning nearby? (Lance King/Getty)

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UConn coach Jim Calhoun missed games due to health reasons. He assumes a Big Brother presence during a game against Syracuse. (Jessica Hill/AP)

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Travis Releford celebrates a miraculous comeback against Missouri. (Orlin Wagner/AP)

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This block by Michigan State’s Adreian Payne on Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger just looks painful. (Leon Halip/Getty)

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Seton Hall’s Jordan Theodore soars against Providence during the Big East tournament. (Chris Trotman/Getty)

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Illinois coach Bruce Walker walks in front of his bench late. Nebraska won 80-57. (Dave Weaver/AP)

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Roy Williams, workin’ it for his Heels during the ACC tournament. (Getty)

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This is the agony Nebraska basketball fans face. (Eric Francis/Getty)

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This was the last time things didn’t go Kentucky’s way. (Getty)

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Kim English celebrates Missouri’s last win of the season. (Ed Zurga/Getty)

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Another season, another year Northwestern misses the NCAA tournament. (Kiichiro Sato/AP)

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Anthony Davis’ impact off the court.

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Rob Brandenberg celebrates VCU’s CAA tournament title. (Steve Helber/AP)

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President Obama gave British Prime Minister David Cameron a taste of March Madness. (Jim Watson/Getty)

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Yancy Gates. (Jamie Squire/Getty)

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Kyle O’Quinn moments after helping Norfolk State make history against 2-seed Missouri.

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Duke’s Austin Rivers, right, goes up for a shot against Lehigh’s B.J. Bailey. Another 2 seed, out. (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)

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Florida State’s Bernard James gets into St. Bonaventure defenders. (Mark Humphrey / AP)

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Ohio coach John Groce, center, slaps hands with guard Ricardo Johnson after the Bobcats’ win. (Mark Humphrey / AP)

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Bring the Payne. (Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

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The moment North Carolina’s title prospects changed. (Chris Keane/Reuters)

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C.J. Leslie does something few people did during the Big Dance — dunk over Jeff Withey. (Sarah Conard / Reuters)

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Indiana guard Victor Oladipo gets past Kentucky forward Terrence Jones. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)
 
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Anthony Davis, dominator. (Chris Steppig / AP)
 
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That’s national title No. 8 for Kentucky. (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

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This is Brittney Griner’s world. We’re just living in it. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

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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.