The Morning Mix

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No more college basketball for another seven months. Has it sunk in yet? The game breakdowns and team story lines have been moved to the back-burner, but the off-season news cycle is always busy. The Early Entry deadline is 26 days away and the coaching carousel is always spinning. The Morning Mix will remain your daily destination for the pulse of the college basketball world during the off-season.

– Our very-own Nick Fasulo previews some of the more intriguing teams to keep an eye out for in 2012-2013

– Jeff Eisenberg ranks the eight best games of the 2011-2012 season. No complaints here, well maybe No.5, oh and the fact that we can’t run all these games back again

– Myron Medcalf provides an excellent list of his 2012 All-Tournament Team. Again, no complaints here

– This is the funniest “End-of-Season Awards” list you will read all week. It’s also surprisingly informative

– This summer’s NBA draft might be “one-and-done” because after Anthony Davis, there are a lot of good players, but no elite, great, transcendent players

– Will Kentucky repeat as National Champions? It might be tough if all five starter declare for the draft. Yes, its true, Calipari can reload in a heartbeat, but in 2012-2013 Kyle Wiltjer and Eloy Vargas figure to be the returning players with the most experience. That’s not exactly Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Darius Miller

Your daily “John Calipari to the Knicks” article. But this one, written by the great Adrian Wojnarowski, has an interesting twist

Lexington nearly went up in flames on Monday night, following the Wildcats National Championship victory. But Jayhawk fans weren”t too far behind, as 14 people were arrested in downtown Lawrence following the heartbreaking loss

– Reserve forward Griffin McKenzie has decided to transfer out of Xavier in hopes of garnering more playing time. The 6-8 sophomore played in just 11 games for the Musketeers this season

– Nebraska center Jorge Brian Diaz will not be returning to Nebraska for his senior season. the oft-injured big-man will instead return home to Puerto Rico

– Weber State’s Damian Lillard, the nation’s top scorer, is forgoing his final year of eligibility in order to enter the NBA Draft. Despite playing in the seldom-seen Big Sky Conference, Lillard is likely to be selected in the mid-to-late first round

– Washington freshman Tony Wroten Jr. has decided to leave school in order to enter the NBA draft. He is the second Husky to enter the draft this off-season, joining fellow underclassmen Terrence Ross

– Off-season arrests continue to pile up. This time, it’s Michigan State behemoth center Derrick Nix, who was arrested  on Monday night for marijuana possession and operating a vehicle in the pressence of drugs. He has been suspended from the team and his future with the program is up in the air

– Georgia State is often considered the odd man out in the CAA. GSU is located seven hours from its closest conference opponent (UNC-Wilmington) and a move to the Sun Belt Conference could be beneficial

– It was just last week that sources indicated that Georgetown would meet San Diego State in the Battle on the Midway aboard the USS Midway next season. Well it looks like the Hoya’s arch-rivals Syracuse have poached their spot on board the aircraft carrier

– With new coach Jim Baron on the way in, and a handful of transfers eligible to play next year, the Canisius Golden Griffins look to be significantly better in 2012-2013

– Word on the street is that a Lebanese basketball player dropped 113 points in a Lebanese Division-A game on Tuesday. The player, Mohammad El-Akkari — also known as Mustpha El-Akkari, played college hoops at BYU-Hawaii until 2007. BYU-Hawaii was the NCAA Division-II runners-up in 2011. They probably could have used a few of El-Akkari’s 113 points in that one

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

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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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

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

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
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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.