NBCSports 2014-2015 College Basketball Season Preview Schedule

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Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package. We will be counting down the top 25 teams in the country, previewing each of the 32 conferences and ranking players at every position. We will also have 42 feature stories on players and teams that you will need to pay attention to.

Below is a schedule for all of our coverage for the next six weeks. Bookmark this page, as we will be posting links to each and every piece of preview content:


Oct. 23: Back Courts
Oct. 24: Front Courts
Oct. 27: Lead Guards
Oct. 28: Off Guards
Oct. 29: Wing Forwards
Oct. 30: Big Men


Oct. 15: Mid-Major Power Rankings
Oct. 16: Mid-Major All-Americans
Oct. 21: Best Dunkers
Oct. 31: NBCSports.com Dream Team
Nov. 3: NBCSports.com Preseason All-Americans
Nov. 10-14: Top 100 Players Countdown
Nov. 14: CBT Staff Final Four Picks
Nov. 14: NBCSports.com Preseason Bracketology


Oct. 6: Top non-conference games
Oct. 7: Coaches on the Hot Seat
Oct. 8: Programs on the rise and decline
Oct. 9: Breakout Stars
Oct. 10: Key Junior College additions

Oct. 13: X-Factors
Oct. 14: Impact transfers
Oct. 17: Key assistant coach hires
Oct. 20: New head coaches likely to succeed and fail
Oct. 22: Impact freshmen

Nov. 4: Under the radar stars
Nov. 4: Top 68 things to watch for
Nov. 5: College basketball draft
Nov. 6: Potential cinderellas
Nov. 7: Most important players


Oct. 3: Others Receiving Votes
Oct. 6: No. 25 Stanford Cardinal
Oct. 7: No. 24 UCLA Bruins
Oct. 8: No. 23 Harvard Crimson
Oct. 9: No. 22 Michigan State Spartans
Oct. 10: No. 21 Iowa Hawkeyes

Oct. 13: No. 20 UConn Huskies
Oct. 14: No. 19 Michigan Wolverines
Oct. 15: No. 18 San Diego State Aztecs
Oct. 16: No. 17 Iowa State Cyclones
Oct. 17: No. 16 SMU Mustangs

Oct. 20: No. 15 Oklahoma Sooners
Oct. 21: No. 14  Florida Gators
Oct. 22: No. 13 VCU Rams
Oct. 23: No. 12 Wichita State Shockers
Oct. 24: No. 11 Villanova Wildcats

Oct. 27: No. 10 Louisville Cardinals
Oct. 28: No. 9 Gonzaga Bulldogs
Oct. 29: No. 8 Texas Longhorns
Oct. 30: No. 7 North Carolina Tar Heels
Oct. 31: No. 6 Virginia Cavaliers

Nov. 3: No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks
Nov. 4: No. 4 Duke Blue Devils
Nov. 5: No. 3 Wisconsin Badgers
Nov. 6: No. 2 Arizona Wildcats
Nov. 7: No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats


Oct. 10: Ivy League – Preview; Tommy Amaker’s unprecedented success at Harvard
Oct. 11: SWAC – Preview
Oct. 12: MEAC – Preview; LeVelle Moton developing UNC-Central’s culture
Oct. 13: NEC – Preview; Can Robert Morris get back to the NCAA tournament?
Oct. 14: Southland – Preview; Jacob Parker, communication and how it helped Stephen F. Austin
Oct. 15: WAC – Preview; Martez Harrison fills a 30 year old void at UMKC

Oct. 16: Big South – Preview; How High Point’s John Brown went from JV QB to NBA prospect
Oct. 17: America East – Preview; Stony Brook works toward NCAAs after DII transition
Oct. 18: Atlantic Sun – Preview; #DunkCity looking to take flight once again
Oct. 19: Big West – Preview; Alan Williams, one of mid-major’s best kept secrets
Oct. 20: Big Sky – Preview; Weber State’s success is recruiting Texas paying off

Oct. 21: Patriot  – Preview;  Improved American team ready to defend Patriot League title in 2014-15
Oct. 22: Summit – Preview; Cody Larson’s growth, from legal troubles at Florida to a star at SDSU
Oct. 23: OVC – Preview; Cam Payne has done a good job filling Isaiah Canaan’s shoes
Oct. 24: MAAC – Preview; Manhattan’s returnees look to build on the achievements of last season’s senior class
Oct. 25: SoCon – Preview; How Wofford went from the NAIA to the SoCon’s powerhouse

Oct. 26: Sun Belt – Preview; Georgia State’s devastating Sun Belt tourney loss leads to a new mentality
Oct. 27: CAA – Preview; Damion Lee is finally healthy for Drexel
Oct. 28: Horizon – Preview; A chip is firmly implanted on Keifer Sykes’ shoulder
Oct. 29: MAC – PreviewToledo gets defensive in quest for first NCAA Tournament appearance in 35 years
Oct. 30: Atlantic 10 – PreviewDayton’s Elite 8 run, Archie Miller’s decision to stay help continue Atlantic 10’s success
Oct. 31: Conference USA – PreviewLouisiana Tech’s Michael White is happy where is at

Nov. 3: WCC – Preview; Deep, talented Gonzaga takes aim at lengthy NCAA tournament stay; Pepperdine’s Stacy Davis
Nov. 4: Missouri Valley – Preview; Fred Van Vleet wants to sustain Wichita State’s elite production
Nov. 5: Mountain West – Preview; San Diego State has major questions offensivelyColorado State is rebuilding through transfers, again
Nov. 6: American – Preview; Nic Moore tries to get SMU on the right track after months of misfortune
Nov. 7: Pac-12 – Preview; Stanford’s Chasson Randle continues to grow as a point guard, leader; Chemistry the biggest factor in Arizona’s quest for a national title

Nov. 10: Big East – Preview; Kris Dunn looks to put injuries behind him as he shoulders heavy load at Providence; The new-look Big East looks to improve in year two
Nov. 11: Big 12 – Preview; To turn Texas around, Rick Barnes first had to change the culture of his team; A heart-to-heart with Bob Huggins changed Juwan Staten’s outlook, career
Nov. 12: Big Ten – Preview; Patience and hard work helped transform Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky into “Frank the Tank”; From under-recruited to team leader, Caris LeVert has seen it all at Michigan
Nov. 13: ACC – Preview; The maturation of Jerian Grant: What one star learned during a season-long suspension; Angel Rodriguez is happy to continue his career where it started: Home
Nov. 14: SEC – Preview; Kasey Hill’s second family gave him a new lease on life

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

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

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.