The Secondary Break: Monday’s Links

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T.J. Warren should be rewarded with ACC Player of the Year award (Fayetteville Observer)
One day after Duke’s Jabari Parker racked up 30 points and nine rebounds in a win over North Carolina, N.C. State sophomore T.J. Warren scored 42 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a win over Boston College. So who should win ACC Player of the Year? Parker? Warren? Someone else? One writer believes that Warren should be the winner, considering his stats and what the Wolfpack would be without him.

Hoops have tied Utah star Jordan Loveridge and his father together (Deseret News)
Utah sophomore forward Jordan Loveridge has been an important player on a team that has taken steps in the right direction in 2013-14, and it’s a group that should be even better next year. And he’s had help in the process of improving as a basketball player, with his father doing what he can to help Jordan reach his goals.

Michigan coach John Beilein shows uncommon fire for his uncommon team (Detroit Free Press)
In one of the more surprising happenings of the weekend Michigan head coach John Beilein was assessed a technical foul in the first half of the Wolverines’ 84-80 win over Indiana. How uncommon was the technical foul? It was only the fourth of Beilein’s coaching career.

McDermott quiets doubters, earns first team All-Big East honors (Omaha World-Herald)
If there were any questions regarding the skill level of Creighton senior forward Doug McDermott before the start of the season, they centered around the fact that the Bluejays were moving from the Missouri Valley to the Big East. How would McDermott and his teammates adjust? Well, Creighton finished second in the conference and McDermott was a unanimous first team All-Big East selection.

Rutgers falls to Cincinnati, but head coach Eddie Jordan says program is on the right track (NorthJersey.com)
Rutgers played its final regular season game as a member of the American Athletic Conference, losing a 70-66 decision to nationally ranked Cincinnati. On their way to the Big Ten this summer, head coach Eddie Jordan feels that the program is headed in the right direction.

Road to the Final Four: Louisville is that city’s pro team (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
With the Final Four headed to Arlington, Texas next month, the Star-Telegram is taking a look at some of the programs that could wind up playing in the event. One such program is Louisville, a highly popular basketball team in a state that loves its basketball. And according to the author, the relationship between the program and the city is like that of a professional sports franchise.

Napier, Boatright did not share well at Louisville (Connecticut Post)
While Russ Smith was outstanding in Louisville’s 81-48 win over UConn on Saturday, dishing out 13 assists, the same couldn’t be said for UConn guards Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. The talented tandem shot a combined 4-for-24 from the field, while dishing out just four assists and turning the ball over nine times. The hope in Storrs is that the beating will serve as a teaching point ahead of postseason play.

Cats land 7-foot recruit from Serbia (Arizona Daily-Star)
Arizona added a big man to its 2014 recruiting class on Saturday, with 7-footer Dusan Ristic verbally committing to attend the Pac-12 school. This is an important commitment for the Wildcats, with it still being unknown which front court players could possibly move on to the professional ranks at the end of the season.

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.

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.