Late Night Snacks: Villanova, Illinois, Seton Hall win overtime games on New Year’s Eve

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 11 Villanova 76, Butler 73 OT

Where to begin with this one?

Kellen Dunham forced overtime when he connected on a shot with 25 seconds to go in regulation. The Wildcats took a five-point overtime led with 35 second remaining, but free throw woes allowed Butler to make a run. And in Hinkle Fieldhouse, anything can happen, right Gonzaga?

The Bulldogs comeback came up short however. Dunham, who had 22 points scored four points, including a layup with 15 seconds to go to cut the lead to 74-73. Villanova turned the ball over in the back court on the ensuing possession. Butler missed on an attempt, but had another shot to come away with the win, but Villanova forced a turnover on an inbounds pass.

OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: Illinois 83, Indiana 80 OT

The Fighting Illini ended 2013 with a win to begin Big Ten play at home against Indiana. Yogi Ferrell went for a career-high 30 points while the Hoosiers grabbed 12 more rebounds than the Illini and connected on 10-of-22 shots from three. But it was the Illinois defense and the IU turnovers that gave John Groce’s team an 83-80 overtime win. Indiana committed 23 turnovers on the evening. Despite its hot shooting from deep, Indiana went more than 11 minutes without a field goal. The drought began with 6:44 left in regulation and didn’t end until 3.1 seconds left in overtime.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 

No. 3 Ohio State 78, Purdue 69

Purdue big man A.J. Hammons controlled the inside, something that will give the undersized Buckeyes some trouble as the season progresses, but LaQuinton Ross was too much offensively. The junior wing scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as No. 3 Ohio State remained unbeaten.

No. 14 Louisville 90, UCF 65

The Cardinals got back on track with its first win in the American Athletic Conference. Russ Smith had 24 points off 6-of-10 3-point shooting and nine assists. Luke Hancock had his best shooting performance of the season, 4-of-9 from deep for 16 points off the bench. As a team, Louisville went 14-of-27 from three.

Houston 75, No. 17 UConn 71

The Huskies let the Cougars get out to a 21-point first half lead. UConn would battle back and erase that deficit in the second half, only to see the comeback win slip away.

Xavier 70, St. John’s 60

The Musketeers won their first game in the Big East over the Johnnies. Semaj Christon went for 10 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Since losing three straight games in three straight games, in as many days, at the Battle 4 Atlantis, Xavier has won six in a row.

STARRED

Rayvonte Rice, Illinois: The transfer guard scored 29 points, recorded eight rebounds and came away with three steals in Illinois’ win over Indiana.

Yogi Ferrell went for 30 points, five assists and four rebounds in a loss

DeAndre Kane, Iowa State: The Cyclones lead guard was two rebounds shy of a triple-double with 16 points, 12 assists and eight boards.

LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State: Ross is averaging 18.0 points per game over his last nine games, including the 25 points he dropped on the Boilermakers.

A.J. Hammons regcorded 18 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks

TaShawn Thomas: Shorthanded Houston got a huge effort from its big man. He scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds, connecting on two free throws to give the Cougars the lead and blocked Shabazz Napier’s potential game-tying layup on the other end.

STRUGGLED

Tim Frazier, Penn State: One of the more underrated players in the Big Ten shot 3-of-12 for seven points in Penn State’s loss to No. 5 Michigan State. The Nittany Lions led 47-40 at half, but Frazier only scored two points.

Nebraska offense: The Cornhuskers shot 30 percent for the game (27 in the first half when they trailed on seven) and 5-of-18 from three.

UCF defense: The Golden Knights allowed the Cardinals to jump out to a 23-4 lead in the first eight minutes off the game. Louisville shot 54 percent from the field and 52 percent from behind the arc on the night.

OTHER TOP 25 SCORES

  • No. 2 Syracuse 70, Eastern Michigan 48
  • No. 5 Michigan State 79, Penn State 63
  • No. 7 Duke 86, Elon 48
  • No. 13 Iowa State 99, Northern Illinois 63
  • No. 18 Memphis 88, South Florida 73
  • No. 19 North Carolina 84, UNC-Wilmington 51
  • No. 22 Iowa 67, Nebraska 57

NOTABLE:

  • Creighton 67, Marquette 49
  • Seton Hall 81, Providence 80 2OT
  • Princeton 73, Kent State 68
  • Kansas State 72, George Washington 55
  • Georgetown 62, DePaul 54
  • North Texas 61, Texas A&M 41
  • Pittsburgh 58, Albany 46
  • Richmond 70, Northeastern 66

Louisville challenges NCAA over recruiting allegations

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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

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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.