Late Night Snacks: ‘Havoc’ wears down Hawks and a stunning rally in Detroit

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Games of the Night 

1. No. 22 VCU 92, Saint Joseph’s 86 (OT)

Up four with 13 seconds remaining the Hawks were called for a travelling violation when two players simultaneously held the ball following a defensive rebound. That mistake would be the opening that VCU needed to complete its comeback, sending the game into overtime on a Darius Theus layup and then outlasting a Saint Joseph’s team that doesn’t have much depth with Halil Kanacevic away from the program due to a death in the family.

2. Valparaiso 89, Detroit 88 

In a matchup of the defending Horizon League regular season (Valparaiso) and tournament (Detroit) champions the Titans looked to be in good shape for much of the night at Calihan Hall. Detroit led 50-32 at the half and 88-77 with just over three minutes remaining…and did not score another point. Two Ryan Broekhoff free throws with 17 seconds remaining proved to be the difference, and Kevin Van Wijk led the Crusaders with 31 points. Nick Minnerath led Detroit with 36 points, and given how wild this one was the rematch at Valparaiso on February 23 should not lack for entertainment.

Also of note: Chattanooga trailed Appalachian 60-42 with 8:48 remaining but outscored the Mountaineers 33-15 to send the game into overtime. The Mocs won 91-88 with Z. Mason (23 points, 11 rebounds) leading the way and Dontay Hampton scoring 22 points off the bench.

Important Outcomes

1. No. 5 Michigan 83, No. 9 Minnesota 75

Once again the Golden Gophers shot themselves in the foot with turnovers, digging themselves a hole too deep to crawl out of. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 21 points to lead the Wolverines and Austin Hollins scored 21 to pace Minnesota. Minnesota turned the ball over 15 times, which the Wolverines converted into 24 points.

2. No. 10 Florida 68, Texas A&M 47

On Saturday Elston Turner lit up Kentucky to the tune of 40 points. Tonight the Aggie had no such luck as Florida limited him to four points. Mike Rosario scored 19 points and Patric Young added 18 points and seven rebounds for the Gators, who moved to 3-0 in SEC play with the win. As a team Texas A&M shot 34% from the field, and when Turner struggles offensively the entire team will follow suit; he’s that important to Billy Kennedy’s team.

3. Northwestern 68, No. 23 Illinois 54

Illinois’ struggles from beyond the arc continued as they shot 3-of-21 from deep in a disappointing home loss to Northwestern. Reggie Hearn led four Wildcats in double figures with 20 points, and Illinois also helped out the Wildcats by turning the ball over 18 times. Brandon Paul scored 21 points to lead all scorers.

Starred

1. F/C Damen Bell-Holter (Oral Roberts) 

27 points (8-of-9 FG, 11-of-12 FT) and 13 rebounds in the Golden Eagles’ 64-52 win at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

2. F Nick Minnerath (Detroit) and G Kevin Van Wijk (Valparaiso) 

In Valparaiso’s 89-88 win over Detroit these two players stood out. Minnerath finished with 36 points (12-of-17 FG), four rebounds and three steals, and Van Wijk led the Crusaders with 31 points (13-of-15 FG) and five rebounds.

3. G Darius Theus (VCU) 

22 points, ten assists, four steals and three rebounds in the Rams’ 92-86 overtime win over Saint Joseph’s.

Struggled

1. Illinois 

The Fighting Illini shot 3-of-21 from three in their loss to Northwestern, and over the last three games they’re 8-of-59 from deep.

2. G Anthony Stitt (Charleston) 

Stitt had a night to forget for the Cougars, who fell 51-47 at Georgia Southern, shooting 0-of-13 from the field and finishing with two points, two assists and three turnovers.

3. G Elston Turner (Texas A&M) 

One game after shooting 14-of-19 from the field at Rupp Arena, Turner didn’t experience that level of success against No. 10 Florida. Turner finished the game with four points on 1-of-10 shooting.

Three Facts

1. South Dakota State guard Nate Wolters surpassed the 2,000-point mark in the Jackrabbits’ 59-53 win at Western Illinois, handing the Leathernecks their first Summit League loss in the process. Wolters finished the game with 22 points, six assists and five rebounds, and the program’s all-time leading scorer has a career total of 2,010 points.

2. Canisius head coach Jim Baron picked up the 400th win of his coaching career as the Golden Griffins beat Manhattan 64-60 in Buffalo. The Griffs trailed by ten at the half but thanks to Isaac Sosa, who scored a season-high 25 points, they were able to rally for the win.

3. One year after winning just two games the Bryant Bulldogs sit alone in first place in the NEC with a 5-0 record. 12-4 overall, the Bulldogs beat Mount St. Mary’s 79-78 in overtime on a Shane McLaughlin layup with just over six seconds remaining in overtime. Alex Francis led the way offensively with 25 points.

Top 25 Scores 

No. 3 Duke 73, Georgia Tech 57

No. 5 Michigan 83, No. 9 Minnesota 75

No. 10 Florida 68, Texas A&M 47

No. 21 Oregon 76, USC 74

No. 22 VCU 92, Saint Joseph’s 86 (OT)

Northwestern 68, No. 23 Illinois 54

No. 24 UCLA 74, Oregon State 64

Video Bonus

Check out this halftime buzzer-beater from Idaho State’s Chris Hansen in the Bengals’ 60-59 win over Sacramento State (fast forward to the 0:29 mark).

And here’s Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski jumping into the arms of Mason Plumlee after a second half dunk from his senior big man.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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.