The Morning Mix

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Tickets continue to get punched. Five teams gained entrance to the madness last night, including Gonzaga of course, Davisdson of course, Iona mild surprise, James Madison sure, why not? and Western Kentucky Seriously? Again?

Let’s hit the links.

Read of the Day:
Middle Tennessee won the Sun Belt by five games. But a fluke loss in the postseason tournament reroutes them to the N.I.T. It’s one of the a cruel and inevitable fates of dominating a mid-to-low major. (Eye on College Basketball)

Top Stories:
2013 Big East Tournament Preview: It’s a nostalgic week in the Big Apple, as the Big East Tournament gets underway for the last time in its semi-original form.

Trey Burke named B1G Player of the Year, but he’ll be defined by this month: The Michigan guard edged out Indiana’s Victor Oladipo for the Big Ten Player of the Year. But his status as a National Player of the Year contender will depend on what he accomplishes from this point forward.

NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheets:
James Madison knocked off top-seeded Northeastern to earn trip to the Big Dance for the first time since 1994.

– For the second-straight year, Western Kentucky emerged out of left field to win the Sun Belt tournament.

– Casual fans will enjoy seeing Davidson back in the brackets for what seems like 15-consecutive years.

– Get to know the Iona Gaels. Welcome to the Momo Jones show.

Observations & Insight:
– I dare you to find me someone who doesn’t think Indiana is a top-5 team…What’s that? You found somebody who doesn’t think Indiana is a top-5 team? Thanks Gary Parrish. Poll Attacks. Get ’em. (Eye on College Basketball)

– There are roughly 25 teams sitting on the mythical tournament bubble. According to Jason Mcintyre, those 25 teams are fighting for only about six openings. (The Big Lead)

– In the wake of Tom Crean’s post-game tongue-lashing of former-Indiana assistant Jeff Meyer, Mike DeCourcy questions the need for the post-game handshake. (Sporting News)

– Despite getting blown out by Duke over the weekend, North Carolina isn’t going to abandon the small-ball lineup that righted the ship following a dreadful start to the season. (ESPN)

Hoops Housekeeping:
– Campbell fired head coach Robbie Lang following a 13-20 season. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Georgia Southern fired head coach Charlton Young after four years at the helm. (Eye on College Basketball)

– What are the chances Villanova wins the Big East tournament? (VU Hoops)

– Pittsburgh could really come up from behind and surprise people in the NCAA tournament, and James Robinson may could have a lot to do with it. (Times Online)

– Iowa State senior Anthony Booker has apologized for making an obscene gesture during Saturday’s win over West Virginia. (Des Moines Register)

– USC has indefinitely suspended two players involved in a street fight over the weekend in Spokane. (ESPN LA)

– Nerlens Noel was recognized by the SEC as one of the conference’s best community service volunteers. What often gets lost in the discussion of his flat-top and NBA draft stock is the fact that Noel is tremendously genuine human being. Some would even has he has “high-major” character and morals. (AllKyHoops.com)

– Speaking of Noel, the freshman phenom will undergo knee surgery today to repair the ACL he tore against Florida. (Yahoo Sports)

– Wyoming officials have apologized for the behavior of their home fans during March 6th game against Colorado State. Apparently interns in the sports marketing department distributed anti-Larry Eustachy flyers prior to the contest. (With Leather)

Odds & Ends:
– Who is the most hated college basketball player of all time? Grantland hopes to end the discussion. Personally the bracket could have been better. No Chris Jackson, no Greivis Vasquez, and no Luke Harangody. I really don’t remember hating Kirk Heinrich all that much. (Grantland)

– I know a lot of people probably don’t like these new South Florida uniforms, but those people are wrong. The new shorts are swaggy. On top of that, these uniforms are light years better than the disastrous new Adidas uniforms. (USA Today)

– Ten tips to consider when filling out your NCAA tournament brackets. (Extra Bacon)

– We’re just eight days into the postseason, and the Circle of March is already starting to take shape. (Rush the Court)

– Arizona State’s mascot got a face lift, and everybody (myself included) hates it. (AZCentral.com)

Picture of the Day:
James Madison punched their ticket to the Big Dance last night. Things got weird. (H/T @RecrdsANDradio)

source:

Video(s) of the Day:
This is a sure-fire way to become the most popular kid in high school. (Deadspin)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLl_tKAsAWI&w=560&h=315%5D

Video(s) of the Day:
This is real good stuff.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbzXaWpY_x4&w=560&h=315%5D

Dunk of the Day:
I posted this dunk here yesterday. I’m posting it here again today. That should tell you just how good this dunk it.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8U2BBlJmHc&w=560&h=315%5D

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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
7 Comments

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

Getty Images
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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

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
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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.