The Morning Mix

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Championship Week has begun and already we’ve witnessed a fairly shocking upset. Longwood (7-24) knocked off UNC-Asheville (16-16) in the first round of the Big South Tournament. In non-Championship Week action, Ohio State beat Indiana in Assembly Hall, and punches were thrown at the end of the St. John’s-Notre Dame game.

Let’s hit the links.

Tuesday’s Top games:
7:00 p.m. – No. 5 Georgetown @ Villanova
7:00 p.m. – No. 7 Michigan @ Purdue
7:00 p.m. – No. 13 Oklahoma State @ Iowa State
7:00 p.m. – North Carolina @ Maryland
8:00 p.m. – Richmond @ No. 21 VCU
9:00 p.m. – No. 16 Saint Louis @ Xavier
11:00 p.m. – Stanford @ Cal
 
 
Top Stories:
Stifling defense leads No. 14 Ohio State to win over No. 2 Indiana:Aaron Craft is known for his relentless defense. But the junior guard got some help on Tuesday night from Shannon Scott, as the guards thwarted the Hoosiers en route to a 67-58 road win.

Indiana flirting with losing grip on top seeds in NCAA, B1G tourneys: All of a sudden, Indiana, who many believed to be the best team in the country heading into Tuesday night, no longer has themselves locked into a No. 1 seed thanks to a disappointing loss on Senior Night to Ohio State.

Ejections made after fight breaks out between Notre Dame, St. John’s (VIDEO): Sir’Dominic Pointer and Cam Biedscheid got into a fight as Jack Cooley was heading to the bench for the final time at the Joyce Center. It was an ugly way to end Senior Night.

Illinois hits bad shooting slump in loss to Iowa: Shooting slumps have plagued Illinois for much of their recent losing streak. The Illini shot just 29 percent from the floor during last night’s 63-55 road loss to Iowa.

Arkansas made their statement to the committee: we stink: It’s not just that Arkansas is bad on the road. They’re just not very good in general.

DJ Cooper does something that’s never been done before: The Ohio senior guard became the first person in NCAA history to register a career stat line eclipsing 2,000 points, 900 assists, 600 rebounds, and 300 steals.

NBC Sports Network to broadcast opening round of A-10 tournament: The NBC Sports Network will broadcast the opening round of the Atlantic 10 conference tournament from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Opening round games will take place on Thursday, March 14.

Hoops Housekeeping:
– As expected, Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum will not play against Colgate in the Patriot League quarterfinals. (SB Nation)

– Any rumors of Tim Floyd possibly leaving UTEP for USC appear to be untrue. (Miner Rush)

– According to Dennis Dodd of CBS, federal laws may have been broken during the investigation of Jim Calhoun and Nate Miles. (CBS Sports)
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– Indiana lost at home on Senior Night, but still got to cut down the nets. Wait. That doesn’t make any sense. Pat Forde explains. (Yahoo Sports)

– The state of the bubble is starting to get interesting now that Selection Sunday is just 11 days away. (Sports Illustrated)

– Eric Prisbell ranks the conference tournaments. (USA Today)

– This read on Ben McLemore and what his back story can teach us about poverty in America is really intriguing. CBT’s own Rob Dauster wrote a similar piece last week. (Think Progress)

– Cincinnati is in a weird place with realignment. But the Bearcats should like what they got from the Big East settlement. (Down the Drive)

– The ACC Player of the Year award could go to one of a handful of players, and it all depends on your definition of the award. (Wilmington Star News)

– Doug McDermott one his second straight MVC Player of the Year award. (Omaha World Herald)
 
 
Odds & Ends:
– Maryland will be wearing their special “White-Ops” uniforms. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see anything very special about these uniforms. (CSN Washington)
 
 
Picture of the Day:
This folks, is the “Circle of March”. It’s gotten a slight face-lift, but I love it. As teams continue to fall out of the NCAA Title picture, the circle will get smaller and smaller, until only one team remains. (Rush The Court)

source:
 
 
Video of the Day:
As Jack Cooley was leaving the court at the Joyce Center for the final time, a fight broke out between Sir’Dominic Pointer and Cam Biedscheid.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNf0IKHn0Us&w=560&h=315%5D
 
 
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Louisville challenges NCAA over recruiting allegations

Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
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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

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.