Late Night Snacks: No. 7 Cincinnati, No. 10 Michigan fall on the road

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GAME OF THE DAY: Ole Miss 91, Missouri 88 

This was one of the more important games of the day when looking ahead to Selection Sunday, with the SEC needing teams other than Florida and Kentucky to step up. Marshall Henderson hit eight three-pointers and scored 29 points to lead the Rebels offensively, with Jarvis Summers making some key plays late to preserve the victory.

The trio of Earnest Ross (24 points), Jordan Clarkson (23) and Jabari Brown (20) led the way for Missouri, but we’re still left with the question of who the third-best team in the SEC is. Ole Miss? Tennessee, which beat Ole Miss? Someone else? Regardless of the answer, the league needs these teams to step forward and take care of business.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) Texas Tech 65, No. 19 Oklahoma State 61 

This one could turn out to be even more important for the Cowboys, who have now lost four straight games, based upon what happens with Marcus Smart. Smart was assessed a technical foul for shoving a fan in the final seconds of the loss, and for a team that has already lost Michael Cobbins (injury) and Stevie Clark (dismissal) losing Smart to a suspension would be a major hit for the Cowboys to take. Lost in the shuffle is how important of a win this is for Tubby Smith’s program, with Jaye Crockett scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to lead the way for the Red Raiders.

2) No. 17 Iowa 85, No. 10 Michigan 67

Roy Devyn Marble had it rolling for the Hawkeyes, scoring 26 points to lead Iowa to a win they needed to get. Defensively Iowa did a good job of harassing Nik Stauskas, who scored ten points, attempted just six shots and committed four turnovers. As a result of this outcome Michigan State takes over sole possession of first place in the Big Ten.

3) SMU 76, No. 7 Cincinnati 55

Larry Brown’s Mustangs added a quality win to its resume, handing the Bearcats their first conference loss in impressive fashion. Nick Russell and Ben Moore scored 15 points apiece to lead four players in double figures, and defensively they limited Sean Kilpatrick (22 points) to 5-for-18 shooting from the field. SMU may very well end up earning its first NCAA tournament berth since 1993.

STARRED

1) Melvin Ejim (Iowa State)

Ejim scored 48 points (20-for-24 FG) and grabbed 18 rebounds in Iowa State’s 84-69 win over TCU.

2) Javon McCrea (Buffalo)

Scored 25 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in the Bulls’ 79-70 win at Central Michigan.

3) Jabari Parker (Duke) 

Parker scored a career-high 29 points (12-for-17 FG) and grabbed 16 rebounds in the Blue Devils’ 89-68 win at Boston College.

STRUGGLED

1) Glenn Robinson III (Michigan) 

Robinson shot 1-for-7 from the field, scoring two points and committing four turnovers in Michigan’s 85-67 loss at Iowa.

2) Devin Wilson (Virginia Tech) and Lamar Patterson (Pittsburgh) 

Both players shot 1-for-9 from the field, with the Panthers winning 62-57 in double overtime. Wilson finished with ten points and Patterson just five, and the two teams combined to shoot 1-for-19 in the two overtime sessions.

3) Jamal Jones (Texas A&M)

Jones shot 5-for-21 from the field (1-for-10 3PT) in the Aggies’ 62-50 loss at Georgia.

NOTABLES

  • No. 3 Florida earned its 15th consecutive win, beating Alabama 78-69 in Gainesville. Scottie Wilbekin led five Gator starters in double figures with 16 points.
  • No. 13 Saint Louis moved its win streak to 16 in a row, with Jordair Jett’s layup with four seconds remaining giving the Billikens the 65-63 win over La Salle.
  • No. 4 Wichita State improved to 25-0 on the season with an 82-73 win at Northern Iowa. Tekele Cotton led five Shockers in double figures with 18 points.
  • Marcus Foster scored 34 points to lead Kansas State to a 74-57 pasting of No. 15 Texas.
  • Jordan Bronner scored 16 points and Chris Pelcher 15 as New Hampshire upset Stony Brook, dropping the Seawolves out of first place in America East.
  • Andrew Wiggins scored 19 points as No. 8 Kansas beat West Virginia 83-69, with Joel Embiid adding 11 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
  • Jordan Bachynski blocked a Joseph Young layup attempt as time expired to seal Arizona State’s 74-72 win over Oregon. Bachynski finished with 26 points, nine rebounds and nine blocks.
  • Justin Sears scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Yale’s 74-67 win at Harvard, moving the Bulldogs into a tie for first place in the Ivy League.
  • Saint Joseph’s turned the ball over 12 times against VCU, and that was one of the reasons why the Hawks were able to pick up the 69-62 victory. Langston Galloway scored 24 points to lead the way.
  • Semaj Christon made two key defensive plays in the final minute as Xavier picked up a valuable 59-53 win over Providence to move into third place in the Big East.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

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

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.