The Morning Mix

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The first week of “the new & improved” Morning Mix is complete. Aren’t you glad that it’s back? I know I am. There’s not another place on the internet that will provide transfer updates and coaching changes in such entertaining fashion. Yeah, I said that.

Enjoy.

– Nerlens Noel, the flat-topped  heir apparent to the #BBN throne at Kentucky, had a cameo in music video. The song, “Skyline” by some dude named Moufy, features the shot-blocking sensation throwing an assist during a pick-up game. The song is actually pretty good, Nerlens Noel or not.

– If you are currently in the market for a luxurious new estate to call home, how about Rick Pitino’s $2.2-million home in the Mockingbird Gardens community outside of Louisville?

– Our very own Raphielle Johnson breaks down the top ten power forwards in the upcoming NBA Draft.

The Crosstown Shootout is changing. It sucks and I don’t like it. I didn’t like Skyline Chili that much either

– The North Carolina Tar Heels lost a lot of size to the NBA draft. But with a crop of young guards on their way in to Chapel Hill, Roy Williams looks to rely on a backcourt-heavy offense

– Mike DeCourcy is high on Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart

The incoming class of new Big-XII coaches is kinda loaded. LAst year the ACC saw the most high-profile coaching changes, but the ever-changing mid-southern-eastern-north-western power conference has a bevy of new sideline generals

– Providence has lost a couple of players to transferring, but has picked up a few in return.  The most recent addition to Ed Cooley’s arsenal is North Caronlina State forward Tyler Harris

– Speaking of Roy Williams, he commented on the UNC academic scandal by saying “It’s not a basketball problem”

More on the interesting development on a company that’s been hired to monitor the social media accounts of college athletes

– I’m rooting for a bunch of guys in the upcoming NBA Draft. Iowa State’s Royce White is one of those guys

– Today marks a new day for the recruiting process. Starting today, Coaches will be able to use modern media to contact recruits in a way they were never allowed to. Rutgers coach Mike Rice is one of the coaches who is excited about the change

 

– Am I the only one who is kinda over the whole recruitment process of the Harrison twins? I can’t tell you how happy I am that they’ve decided to get this thing over with

– Highly touted Virginia Tech-transfer Dorian Finney-Smith has decided to attend Florida. (I just met my hyphen-quota for the week in one sentence)

– Don’t look now, but Larry Brown has reeled in another transfer at SMU. Everybody questioned Brown’s ability to recruit. Looks like there isn’t an issue with transfers

– Michigan-transfer (and All-Name Teamer) Carlton Brundidge has decided to transfer to Detroit

– In case you missed it, the CAA has decided to increase their exit fee to $million in the wake of Atlantic-10/C-USA defections. But the JMU Blog wants to know “What’s the deal”?

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

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
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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.