Late Night Snacks: No. 3 Miami survives, No. 20 Wisconsin rolls

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Game of the Day: James Madison 72, Delaware 71 

The Blue Hens entered Sunday’s game against JMU with a chance to pull within a game of first-place Northeastern (in the loss column) in the CAA, but a lob from Devon Moore to Andre Nation with less than a second remaining gave James Madison the win in Newark. As a result of the win JMU is now tied for second with Towson (10-5), and with the Tigers banned from postseason play due to their APR score the Dukes lead the race for the two-seed in next month’s conference tournament. Delaware’s Devon Saddler led all scorers with 23 points, while Moore and Rayshawn Goins paced JMU with 19 apiece.

Important Outcomes

1. No. 3 Miami 45, Clemson 43

Sometimes teams simply have to gut out wins, especially on the road, and that was the case for the Hurricanes as they scored seven of the game’s final eight points to win at Clemson. A Kenny Kadji three-pointer in the final minute gave Miami the lead for good, and they’re now 12-0 in the ACC. Three games up on No. 2 Duke with six conference games remaining, Miami is in excellent position to win their first-ever ACC regular season title. Kadji finished with 12 points to lead the Hurricanes, and Jordan Roper led the Tigers with a game-high 19. But Clemson shot just 30.4% from the field, which left the door open for a Miami comeback.

2. No. 20 Wisconsin 71, No. 13 Ohio State 49 

This one was ugly from the start for the Buckeyes, who shot 37.5% from the field and 3-of-12 from beyond the arc. It didn’t help matters that they were unable to slow down Wisconsin on the other end, as the Badgers shot 52.7% on the afternoon. Ben Brust and Jared Berggren scored 15 apiece to lead four Badgers in double figures, and Bo Ryan’s swing offense resulted in Wisconsin shooting 22-of-36 inside the three-point arc. Deshaun Thomas scored 18 to lead all scorers but outside of Sam Thompson (ten points) the other Buckeyes struggled mightily on offense.

3. Iowa 72, Minnesota 51 

With 12:57 remaining in the first half Minnesota led 21-5 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. It all went downhill from there, as Iowa stormed back and left no doubt by the end of the game. Andre Hollins scored just three points and Rodney Williams went scoreless in ten minutes of action for Minnesota, who is now tied with the Hawkeyes and Illinois for sixth in the Big Ten. The question for Iowa is whether or not they can climb back into the NCAA tournament conversation, but Fran McCaffery’s team has some work to do given their poor non-conference strength of schedule ranking (323).

Starred

1. G Trey Burke (Michigan) 

29 points (9-of-16 FG), five assists and three rebounds (without a turnover) in the Wolverines’ 79-71 win over Penn State.

2. G Allen Crabbe (California) 

Things got a bit heated between Crabbe and head coach Mike Montgomery (h/t @Stephen_Nelson) early in the second half but the junior finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and five steals in the Golden Bears’ 76-68 win over USC. For his part Crabbe offered the following in the postgame press conference:

3. F Stephen Lumpkins (American) 

Lumpkins played 42 of a possible 45 minutes in the Eagles’ 64-61 overtime win over Holy Cross, accounting for 17 points, 12 rebounds and three assists.

Struggled

1. South Florida

The Bulls haven’t fared well this season after getting to the NCAA tournament in 2012. Now 1-12 in Big East play, the Bulls shot 24.5% from the field in their 59-41 loss to No. 12 Louisville. USF finished the game with more turnovers (16) than field goals (13).

2. Minnesota 

The Golden Gophers hit six of their first nine shots and led Iowa 21-5. For the remainder of the game Minnesota shot 11-of-38, losing a game they led by 16 at one points by 21 (72-51).

3. Northwestern

The Wildcats nearly established a new record for fewest points scored in a game during Bill Carmody’s tenure but got going late in their 62-41 loss to Illinois. Northwestern shot 25% from the field and attempted 27 three-pointers, making five. And just like South Florida, Northwestern’s turnovers (14) beat out their made field goals (12).

Three Facts 

1. Wichita State picked up a big win, 68-67 at Illinois State, to take over sole possession of first place in the Missouri Valley. A Cleanthony Early three-pointer capped an 8-0 rally that began with a flagrant 1 called on Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael with 41.2 seconds remaining.

2. Niagara was once again without the services of leading scorer Antoine Mason (ankle) but point guard Juan’ya Green made up for his absence, scoring 18 points to lead the Purple Eagles to a 60-56 win at Manhattan. The win keeps Niagara alone atop the MAAC standings, and with Rider’s win over Marist later in the day Rider is almost guaranteed of not having to play in the first round of next month’s conference tournament (the bottom four teams play in the first round).

3. No. 9 Arizona was too reliant on the three-pointer, attempting 22 of their 53 shots from beyond the arc (making six), but thanks to some big plays late from seniors Mark Lyons and Solomon Hill the Wildcats held off Utah 68-64 in Salt Lake City. Jarred DuBois led Utah with 16 points, but it was another case of “close but no cigar” for a team that’s played better than their 11-14 record would indicate.

Video James Madison’s game-winner at Delaware (at the 2:05 mark)

Top 25 Scores 

No. 3 Miami 45, Clemson 43
No. 4 Michigan 79, Penn State 71
No. 9 Arizona 68, Utah 64
No. 12 Louisville 59, South Florida 41
No. 20 Wisconsin 71, No. 13 Ohio State 49

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

ACC coaches back idea of all D-I teams in 2021 NCAA tourney

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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RALEIGH, N.C. — Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball coaches are pushing the idea of having next year’s NCAA Tournament include all eligible teams in Division I.

Numerous league schools and coaches released statements Wednesday after the coaches held their weekly call to discuss the proposal, which was first reported by Stadium. There are 357 Division I programs in the country, with NCAA spokeswoman Meghan Durham saying 346 of those are eligible to play in next year’s tournament.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett said the ACC coaches are “united in strongly pursuing this” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that led to the cancellation of last year’s NCAA Tournament days before the field of 68 was set to be revealed. Multiple coaches said creating an everybody-gets-in format would be an incentive for schools as they create the safest conditions possible for returning to play.

“This is not a regular season,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “It is clearly an irregular season that will require something different. Our sport needs to be agile and creative. Most importantly, an all-inclusive postseason tournament will allow a unique and unprecedented opportunity for every team and every student-athlete to compete for a national championship.”

Durham declined comment specifically on the proposal in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday. Last month, NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said the Division I oversight committees for men’s and women’s basketball planned to announce by mid-September plans for whether the season and preseason practice would start on time or require a delay due to the pandemic.

Louisville coach Chris Mack said the proposal would provide flexibility during the season without mandating a number of nonconference or conference games to be played. And the league has already experienced that scheduling challenge with football and other fall sports.

The ACC announced in July that it would have each football team play 10 league games – including the addition of Notre Dame as a football member this year – and one nonconference game to be played in the home state of the member school. Those schedules were released in early August, slightly more than a month before Thursday’s UAB-Miami game kicks off the season.

“This is a time to think differently,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said, adding: “After all these players have been through, what better way to reward them than the opportunity to compete in an unprecedented version of the most exciting event in sports.”

College basketball floats idea of bubbles for safe season

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The NBA bubble has held. So has the NHL’s double bubble. The WNBA and MLS, no leaks.

In this unprecedented landscape of sports in a pandemic world, one indisputable fact has emerged: bubbles work.

Thousands of tests, minimal to no positive COVID-19 test results.

So as the NCAA gets set announce its plans for the 2020-21 college basketball season, there are clear precedents and blueprints in place should it decide to go the bubble route.

“It’s certainly viable,” said Mark Starsiak, vice president of sports at Intersport, a Chicago-based sports marketing and media agency, “From a basketball standpoint, I think we can follow those models.”

The college football restart has been scattershot. The season has already started, yet 53 FBS schools have the pads and helmets hanging on hooks while waiting for better pandemic news.

A much more unified plan is in place for the college basketball season.

The NCAA is hoping to start the season in late November/early December, with a vote by the Division I council expected Sept. 16.

A partnership between the Pac-12 and Quidel Corp. to potentially do daily, rapid COVID-19 tests on athletes should help smooth a return to the court.

The question then becomes: What’s the best way to safely play basketball again?

Bubbles may be the answer.

While bubble football would be next to impossible logistically, basketball could fit nicely.

The travel parties are much smaller and college basketball already has plenty of multiple-team events, from holiday and conference tournaments to the NCAA Tournament. Add the effective safety measures of the pro leagues, find suitable sites and bubble basketball could work.

The NCAA is already looking at it, reportedly filing a trademark for the phrase “Battle in the Bubble.” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont also said there have been preliminary talks for bubble basketball at the Mohegan Sun resort.

“The idea of a bubble would be a really good idea, just to isolate all the teams who want to play against each other in that bubble and keep things safe, keep away from the public and keep us in our own area where we’re able to play the game the right way and safely,” Duke sophomore forward Wendell Moore, Jr. said.

A big key will be finding the right places to bubble.

The NBA has the ideal setup at Disney World, but college basketball might be better suited to follow the NHL’s lead.

Hockey’s two bubbles – Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta – cordoned off areas enclosing the arena and several nearby hotels. All personnel entering are tested and strict protocols are in place for vendors delivering food and packages into the bubbles.

Similar bubbles for college basketball could be set up at smaller resorts, cities with arenas and hotels nearby, or Division II or III schools with arenas not being used during the pandemic.

The NCAA could set up pods of multiple nonconference teams, conference tournaments could be held in similar fashion and so could the NCAA Tournament.

In other words, basketball bubbles could pop up all over the country.

“Maybe do it for maybe a week or two at a time, playing a certain amount of games and getting retested after you come back or something like that,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said. “It’s possible, but it’s not going to be easy.”

Pulling off a college basketball bubble, however, comes with a caveat.

NCAA players are considered students, so academics would have to be part of the equation.

Division I players are already accustomed to doing school work on the road and the majority take primarily online classes. To make the bubbles work, socially distant space would have to be carved out for the players to take their classes and study.

The programs may also have to rethink the size of their traveling parties.

“Discussions about the right amount of tutors or academic staff would need to take place,” said Starsiak, who has operated high-level sports and entertainment events for 15 years. ”

You have to look at, do we need three managers this time around? No, probably not. Do you take two and have a tutor or an academic come with us? Yeah, I think you could. I think there’s a way to kind of combine both things to have some live, in-person resources.”

The NCAA is going to do everything possible to have a basketball season.

The pandemic wiped out the NCAA Tournament last spring and the NCAA collected $270 million in cancellation insurance instead of the $1 billion TV payout it normally gets. A second straight year without March Madness could be devastating.

Bubbles may be the way to go.

‘Father of the Final Four’ Tom Jernestedt dies at 75

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INDIANAPOLIS — Tom Jernstedt, a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame for his contributions to college basketball and the NCAA Tournament, has died. He was 75.

The NCAA said Sunday Jernstedt died this weekend.

Nicknamed “Father of the Final Four,” Jernstedt has widely been credited with transforming the NCAA Tournament into the billion-dollar March Madness it has become today.

“A decade after his departure from the NCAA, Tom Jernstedt’s fingertips remain visible during March Madness and the Final Four,” NCAA senior vice president Dan Gavitt said in a statement. “His innovation and superb ability to develop relationships turned a basketball tournament into a three-week phenomenon that became a global event.”

A former back-up quarterback, Jernstedt worked his first Final Four in 1973 and helped push the growth of the NCAA Tournament from 25 teams to the 68, anything-can-happen bonanza held every spring.

Jernstedt helped the NCAA increase its television contract from just over $1 million to more than $10 billion when he left in 2011. He served as president of USA Basketball, was a member of the College Football Selection committee and was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2017.

“Tom Jernstedt was a humble and unsung steward of the game,” John L. Doleva, president and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, said in a statement. “Under his direction, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament grew into a phenomenon that brings college basketball fans together on a global scale. He will forever be remembered as the Father of the Final Four and one of the most respected leaders in basketball.”

Jernstedt established himself as a team leader despite being a backup quarterback at Oregon from 1964-66 and went on to serve as the Ducks’ events manager. He joined the NCAA in 1972 and spent 38 years with the organization.

“Tom served as a friend and mentor to countless people in and around collegiate athletics, and I’m proud to be among that vast group of people,” Gavitt said. “His legacy within the NCAA and its membership, and his impact on the sport of college basketball, is eternal. We extend our deepest condolences to Tom’s family.”

Aztecs extend Brian Dutcher’s contract 3 years through 2026

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego State basketball coach Brian Dutcher has signed a three-year contract extension through the 2025-26 season.

Dutcher signed the deal following one of the most successful seasons in school history. The Aztecs went 30-2, won the Mountain West regular-season title and were expected to be a No. 1 or 2 seed before the NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. They opened the season 26-0 and were the nation’s last undefeated team.

“Having spent more than 20 years at San Diego State University I understand what a special place this is,” Dutcher said in a statement Friday. “I am humbled and honored to continue to represent SDSU and Aztec Basketball as its head coach.”

Dutcher is 73-26 in three seasons, the most victories by an Aztecs coach in his first three seasons. He spent 18 seasons as Steve Fisher’s top assistant, including six as associate head coach/head coach in waiting. He took over as head coach after Fisher retired following the 2016-17 season. The Aztecs reached the NCAA Tournament in his first season.

Before that, he spent 10 seasons with Fisher at Michigan. In Dutcher’s first season with the Wolverines, Fisher was promoted to interim head coach on the eve of the NCAA Tournament and won the national championship.

Indiana halts all voluntary workouts

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Indiana has halted all voluntary workouts indefinitely for its men’s basketball, field hockey, men’s soccer and wrestling teams after 14 participants tested positive for the coronavirus this week.

The Hoosiers did not identify which teams recorded the positive tests. The football team, like other Big Ten programs, is not playing this fall. Indiana said 63 positives have been reported from more than 1,400 tests of athletes, coaches and staff since June 8.

“Our athletic program is following strict protocols during these unprecedented times and we strongly support our medical staff as we try and mitigate this issue,” men’s basketball coach Archie Miller said.