Friday’s Pregame Shootaround: Big day for the Big Ten

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 14 Michigan vs. Florida State, 5:00 p.m. (ESPN2) 

Florida State may have put forth the performance of the day on Thursday, beating No. 10 VCU 85-67 in a game they by as much as 30 in the second half. The Seminoles are likely to meet more resistance in the half court against Michigan, with the Wolverines rebounding from their loss at Iowa State with a comfortable win over Long Beach State. John Beilein’s team doesn’t force a high number of turnovers, but that doesn’t mean that Florida State can expect to get away with turning the ball over 23 times as they did against VCU. Michigan will need to be mindful of Okoro White, Montay Brandon and Robert Gilchrist on the boards, with Mitch McGary, Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford needing to keep those three Seminoles from controlling the glass as they did against VCU.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: No. 18 UConn vs. Indiana, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2) 

Five games, four double-doubles for Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh, and given how UConn’s big men have struggled on the glass Vonleh could be in line for a fifth double-double on Friday. But the most intriguing individual battle will come on the perimeter, with Indiana sophomore Yogi Ferrell going up against UConn senior Shabazz Napier. One key for the UConn guards: make sure DeAndre Daniels gets quality touches, because he’s a tough matchup for opposing forwards due to his ability to step out on the perimeter and knock down shots.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE DAY: LIU-Brooklyn at UC Irvine, 10:00 p.m.

LIU-Brooklyn’s lost a lot inside, and that could be an issue in a matchup of two teams who will contend in their respective leagues. For as well as 7-foot-6 freshman Mamadou Ndiaye has played in the middle for UC Irvine, people shouldn’t forget about reigning Big West Defensive Player of the Year Will Davis II either. LIU sophomore E.J. Reed will have his hands full inside, but he’s a skilled interior prospect as well. And that point guard matchup of LIU’s Jason Brickman and UC Irvine’s Alex Young certainly won’t lack for entertainment.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH: 

1) No. 1 Michigan State’s back on the floor after two lackluster performances at home, and how the Spartans perform in the game’s first five minutes will be something to keep an eye on. Will Tom Izzo’s team come out ready to go, or will they give the underdog Virginia Tech some early hope?

2) Both Boston College and Washington are hoping to avoid leaving NYC with two losses, making the third place game in the 2K Sports Classic all the more important. BC’s the team people expected to make waves in their conference, and with the losses they’ve already taken the Eagles can’t afford to drop this one.

3) Southern Miss/South Alabama has the potential to be the best non-televised game on Friday’s slate, with Donnie Tyndall’s team still undefeated and South Alabama having one of the nation’s better front court players in senior Augustine Rubit.

4) Another game to keep tabs on is San Francisco at Montana, with some of the better players out west participating. The Dons feature seniors Cody Doolin and Cole Dickerson, and the Grizzlies will counter with the versatile Kareem Jamar.

5) Arizona State hosts Marquette on Monday night in what will be a highly anticipated battle, but the Sun Devils have some business to take care of in the form of the Bradley Braves. Geno Ford’s team is off to a 4-1 start, with seniors Walt Lemon Jr. (15.2 ppg, 4.4 apg) and Tyshon Pickett (14.2, 8.6 rpg) leading the way.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25:

  • Virginia Tech vs. No. 1 Michigan State, 9:30 p.m. (TruTV)
  • Towson at No. 2 Kansas, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Long Beach State vs. No. 10 VCU, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • UMass vs. No. 19 New Mexico, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Morehead State at No. 22 UCLA, 11:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

NOTABLES: 

  • Kansas State vs. Georgetown, 12:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Northern Iowa vs. Loyola Marymount, 1:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
  • Boston College vs. Washington, 5:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • Providence vs. Vanderbilt, 6:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
  • Oklahoma vs. Seton Hall, 7:00 p.m. (TruTV)
  • Delaware at Villanova, 7:00 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
  • Southern Miss vs. South Alabama, 8:05 p.m.
  • San Francisco at Montana, 9:00 p.m.
  • Davidson vs. Clemson, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • Bradley at Arizona State, 10:00 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

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

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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.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

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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.