Late Night Snacks: A Stetson buzzer-beater, Oklahoma’s upset

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Games of the Day

Stetson 69, Florida Atlantic 68: Stetson guard Chris Perez tipped in a miss by Aaron Graham at the buzzer to give the Hatters a win over FAU. “I saw [junior] Aaron [Graham], he shot it, and the ball didn’t hit the rim,” Perez said. “My guy didn’t box me out, so my first thought was just to go rebound, and throw it up there. Thank God it went in.” The final play was set up by Greg Gantt, FAU’s star point guard, who hit a deep three to give the Owls a 68-67 lead in the final seconds.

Stephen F. Austin 56, Oklahoma 55: The Lumberjacks entered this game as the nation’s leader in defensive scoring average, and it showed, as the Sooners struggled to find a rhythm on the offensive end of the floor for much of the game. SFA led by as much as 11 in the second half, but the Sooners made a run down the stretch. They tied the game at 54 on a jumper from Steven Pledger with 2:28 left on the clock, but Hal Batemen gave the Lumberjacks the lead a minute and a half later. With four seconds left, Buddy Hield missed a finger roll — that hung on the front of the rim for what felt like a minute — but got fouled. He only made one of two free throws, however, and the Sooners lost.

The bigger question here has to do with the Big 12 as a whole? Just how good — or bad — is this league? We’ll be taking a closer look at this on Wednesday afternoon.

Important Outcomes

Miami 72, Central Florida 50: The Hurricanes jumped out to a bid lead on UCF in the first five minutes and never looked back, controlling every aspect of the game. We won’t be getting too deep into it again, but Miami looks like they might actually be the second best team in the ACC.

No. 25 NC State 88, Stanford 79: This was a nice win for the Wolfpack, as Stanford has been a bit up and down this season, but the Cardinal have a good amount of talent on their roster. I see two problems for the Wolfpack, however. The first is that they have no depth. Mark Gottfried uses, essentially, a six man rotation with Tyler Lewis getting minutes here and there when someone needs a breather. I’m not sure how long that can survive. The other issue is that CJ Leslie, who is clearly the most talented player on the roster, is currently the third best front court player that Gottfried has at his disposal. And as good as Richard Howell and TJ Warren have been, that’s not necessarily a compliment.

Starred

Kris Dunn, Providence: Making his first appearance for the Friars off the bench, Dunn — the highly-touted freshman point guard — finished with 13 assists and six boards on Tuesday night. Will chalk the 3-13 shooting up to his bum shoulder.

Victor Rudd, South Florida: Rudd finished with 16 points and 16 boards as South Florida used a 33-9 run to close out a better-than-you-think Youngstown State team. They were down 45-39 at the time.

Rodney McGruder, Kansas State: McGruder has struggled throughout the early part of the season, including a 1-9 performance in a loss at Gonzaga on Saturday, but he finished with 26 points on 12-17 shooting against Texas Southern on Tuesday night.

Struggled

Western Kentucky: 35.7% shooting. 32 turnovers. A 76-44 loss to VCU. That’s a bad night. (To be fair, they were missing their starting back court. But still. Yuck.)

Keith Appling, Michigan State: Appling finished 3-9 from the floor with six turnovers as Michigan State hung on to beat Bowling Green on the road. With Big Ten play right around the corner, Appling has to be better.

Old Dominion: ODU allowed Adjehi Baru to go 8-8 from the floor and finish with 20 points and nine boards as they dropped to 1-10 on the season with a 76-65 loss to Charleston. I thought the Monarchs were supposed to be tough in the paint?

The Rest of the Top 25

– No. 4 Arizona 89, Oral Roberts 64
– No. 7 Ohio State 65, Winthrop 55
– No. 9 Kansas 87, Richmond 59
– No. 18 San Diego State 76, Point Loma 49

Other Notable Scores

– UCLA 89, Long Beach State 70
– Western Illinois 70, Illinois-Chicago 54
– Wyoming 71, Denver 61

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

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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.

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.