The Morning Mix

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College Basketball Talk has Championship Week on lockdown. @RobDauster and @RaphielleJ are holding it down from their “home offices”, (See: couches), and @TroyMachir (Me) and @DanielJMartin_ will be in New York City covering the A-10 and Big East tournaments respectively. @CBTonNBC will have all the bases covered.

Let’s hit the links.
 
 
Read of the Day:
SB Nation has been rolling out a few long form essays recently, and their latest one profiles the death of Earl Badu, who famously scored the final points at Maryland’s Cole Field House. This is great stuff. Read it. (SB Nation)

Top Stories:
Late Night Snacks: Get caught up to speed with all the major happenings from Thursday. There were a lot of happenings.

Charlotte makes eight free throws in final 4.7 seconds, stuns Richmond in A-10 tourney: In arguably one of the most bizarre finishes to a college basketball game in recent memory, Charlotte when from being down three to up five in just under two seconds. In the game’s final 4.7 second, three technical fouls were given and 11 foul shots were taken by the same player.

WAC co-champions Louisiana Tech, Denver eliminated in quarterfinals: Upsets in mid-major conference tournaments have been all the “rage” this week and the top two teams in the WAC followed suit on Thursday.

Utah beats California in overtime, advances to Pac-12 semifinals: The Cal bears hurt their NCAA tournament seeding with a puzzling loss Utah. The Utes look like they are tending in the right direction under Larry Krystkowiak.

Fitting end to a disappointing season for the Baylor Bears:Thursday night was a perfect example of the frustrating conundrum that is this Baylor basketball team.

Russ Smith scores 28 to beat Villanova playing with a heavy heart: The Brooklyn-native mourned the passing of his high school coach on honoring him on Thursday with a 28-point performance against Villanova.

Thurday’s Bubble Winners: Iowa, Iowa State, Maryland and Tennessee helped their NCAA tournament hopes with a victory on Thursday.

Thursday’s Bubble Losers: Minnesota, Arizona State, and Villanova headline a deep pool of teams that did not help themselves to a win on Thursday.

VIDEO: Gus Johnson bellows as Brandon Paul beats Minnesota. Gophers dancing?: Illinois beat Minnesota on a Brandon paul buzzer-beater, and Gus Johnson was there to call the action.

Iowa State’s comeback win locks them into the NCAA tournament: The Cyclones all but locked up an at-large bid with their Big XII tournament win over Oklahoma on Thursday.

Syracuse appears to have cured their offensive woes: For the second straight day, the Orange got into a rhythm offensively, opening up a 40-27 lead at the half and hanging on down the stretch to defeat Pittsburgh 62-59.

This crop of 16-seeds won’t be the one that beats a 1-seed: With no real dominant team this season, the thought was that this could finally be the year that a No. 16-seed defeats a No. 1-seed. But if you look at the potential No. 16-seeds, you’ll realize that this just isn’t going to happen.

Chaos rules in Norfolk as top four seeds bounced from MEAC tournament: All four top-seeds fell in the quarterfinals of the MEAC tournament in Norfolk, VA. We examine the chaos.
 
 
Observations & Insight:
– A strong multifaceted article covering realignment and the race for revenue among collegiate athletics. (Greensboro News-Record)

– Utah State’s season was filled with heartbreak and horrible luck. It came to a close on Thursday as the Aggies fell in the WAC quarterfinals. (Salt Lake Tribune)

– Will Leitch provides his thoughts on Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson and the idea of a trendy Bucknell upset pick in the NCAA tournament. (Sports on Earth)

– Gus Johnson misses college basketball, and you know what? College basketball misses Gus. (USA Today)
 
 
Coaching Carousel:
– Mike Gillian has spent the last decade at Longwood and saw the Lancers make the switch to Division I. He resigned yesterday, amassing an overall record of 93-214 (Eye on College Basketball)

– Billy Taylor will not return as head coach to Ball State next season. (Eye on College Basketball)

– Marist head coach Chuck Martin has been “relieved of his duties” following a 10-win season. (Sporting News)

– Mark Phillips has been dismissed as head coach of the Drake Bulldogs. (GoDrakeBulldogs.com)

– Loyola (Md.) head coach Jimmy Patsos has been linked to the vacancy at Siena, but the colorful Greyhounds coach said that he has not been contacted by the university. (Baltimore Sun)
 
 
Picture of the Day:
Former-President Bill Clinton visited the Louisville locker room following the Cardinals’ victory over Villanova. I’m speechless. (College Basketball Talk)

source:
 
 
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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.