Late Night Snacks: All Jeff Withey everything!

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With less than 30 games on the slate, it was a slow Monday night. Thankfully, the one Top 10 team in action delivered a performance worth writing about. Here’s your Late Night Snacks.

Games of the Night

Kansas 70, San Jose State 57 – The game itself, nothing to really look at. The stat sheet? Another story. Jeff Withey went off for the second triple-double in program history with 16 points (a team high), 12 rebounds and an amazing 12 blocks. That in-of-itself makes this a crazy awesome  game. James Kinney tossed in 30 points by himself for the Spartans, so great performances all around at The Phog.

Murray State 88, Lipscomb 79 – Not a lot of people saw this one being close, but it was. It took 20-plus-point performances from Isaiah Canaan, Ed Daniel and Stacey Wilson to put the Racers over the top and to 5-1. A road is still a road win when you’re playing in the mid-major ranks, but for any shot at an at-large bid (remember Belmont is a contender in their first year in the Ohio Valley Conference) they’ll need to win games like that more convincingly.

Tennessee 77, Oakland 50 – The score itself was a blowout, but most people forget that the Golden Grizzlies (another great mascot) owned a two-game winning streak on the Volunteers. Trae Golden put up good numbers in the win and the Vols stay steady while Jeronne Maymon heals.

Games of Note

Morehead State 73, Norfolk State 67 – It’s not everyday games between marginal mid-major and low-major teams are posted, but this was the contest that Morehead State coach Sean Woods served his one-game suspension in. The Eagles still won, beating the Spartans who should contend in the MEAC, which is all a team like Morehead State can ask for without their head coach. It’ll be interesting if the suspension alters Woods’ public coaching demeanor going forward.

Loyola (Md.) 65, Towson 53 – A battle for Baltimore deserves some pub. Jimmy Patsos got a boost from 19 points and eight rebounds from Dylan Cromier in 38 minutes and got bragging rights for the season in the city. Although there is always a battle with Maryland-Baltimore County that can truly decide the fate of the college basketball world in The Wire’s hometown.

Starred

Ed Daniel and Isaiah Canaan, Murray State – The Racers needed every last point from these two tonight in their win. Canaan went for 32 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including six threes. Ed Daniel went for 20 points, 18 rebounds and five rebounds (and five fouls). It should be noted that Stacey Wilson added in 20 in the win. Big night for that trio.

Trae Golden, Tennessee – The Vols point guard helped break the two-game skid against Oakland with a game-high 19 points, seven assists and four rebounds in the win. He’s been great as the team’s on-court leader.

Colton Iverson, Colorado State – Can’t argue with a double-double in a win. The Minnesota transfer had 18 points and 13 boards in a blowout win over Northern Colorado. He hit 7-of-8 shots from the field and only committed two fouls in 32 minutes. Efficient.

Struggled

Everyone besides Jonathon Williams, Wagner – Williams went off for 26 points on 10-for-11 shooting, and 6-for-6 from the free throw line for the Seahawks. The rest of the team went for 37 points on 13-for-44 shooting. The next closest scorer? Two teammates scored eight.

Dan Trist, Lafayette – The man went for 30 a few games ago against Long Island. It’s stil lthe Jaguars lone win of the season. Trist hasn’t faired well since, either. He was averaging 18.7 points per game coming into the game with Monmouth, but managed just four points on on 1-of-4 shooting.

Stuffing the stat sheet

Jeff FREAKING Withey – Not a ton needs to be said. The man went off for 16-12-12. Triple-double (drops mic).

Fanbase that can take a breath

Murray State – You survived on the premise of your veteran guard and forward, but got some much needed help from Wilson, a UAB transfer in his first season with the program. The depth is still an issue, because playing minutes and playing valuable minutes are two totally different things. But you won, put up 88 in the process and unless you duplicate last season’s dominance, every win is going to count in non-conference.

Fanbase that can take a seat

Wagner – It’s really not fair to say this. But Wagner was picked to finish second in the Northeast Conference and they’re only 1-3 to start the season with a loss to Albany, who isn’t expected to blow up anyone’s plans in March. One of the losses was to Syracuse, but the other was to Delaware State. The Seahawks one win? A 38-36 decision over North Carolina Central. That was two halves of basketball. Keep your head up, Seahawk Nation.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

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

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

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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.