Late Night Snacks: Champions Classic caps 2014 Tip-Off Marathon

Leave a comment

GAME OF THE DAY: UMass 77, Manhatta 68 (OT)

Overtime was forced by this play. The Minutemen were set to close out a victory in regulation until a miscue on the in-bound pass gave Manhattan the ball under the hood. Steve Masiello, who had drawn up had baseline out-of-bounds that baffled the UMass defense, caught a break when the officials had to check the monitor for the correct time, giving him time to draw up a play that left Rich Williams streaking down the middle for a two-handed alley-oop. Although, UMass’ inside presence was too much, as Cady Lalanne finished with his third double-double: 23 points and 16 rebounds.

OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: Northern Iowa 79, Stephen F. Austin (OT)

Another early morning game had a fantastic finish with 11 ties and 23 lead changes, with five of those coming in the final four minutes of overtime. Demetrius Floyd had is layup attempt roll off the rim, which would have forced a second overtime. Not only does Northern Iowa score a quality non-conference road victory, the Panthers snap Stephen F. Austin’s 34 home game-winning streak.

OTHER OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: Boise State 72, Montana 67 (2OT)

Derrick Marks missed a potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation. Anthony Drmic played hero in the first overtime with a 3-pointer for Boise State to tie the score at 59 with under 30 seconds. Marks and Drmic accounted for nine of the Broncos’ 13 second overtime points to pull out the win.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 1 Kentucky 72, No. 5 Kansas 40

A statement win for the top-ranked team, two days after struggling to put away Buffalo. The Kentucky frontline was too much for the Kansas big men, as the Wildcats collected 11 blocks as a team. To put that in perspective, the Jayhawks had 11 field goals on the night. The Kentucky defense held the Kansas starting five to 8-of-36 and the entire team to under 20 percent shooting. Kentucky’s depth was on display, which was a scary glimpse of what could be a season-long trend.

No. 4 Duke 81, No. 19 Michigan State 71

The Duke freshmen showed up in their first real test as the Blue Devils never trailed in a win over No. 19 Michigan State. Jahlil Okafor, picked as the preseason player of the year, proved to be a load down while Coach K got contributions from Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook. Michigan State struggled with Navy on Friday night, and clearly cut the lead down enough to make a real threat at Duke on Tuesday. The good news: outside of Notre Dame, Tom Izzo will have some time to get his team ready for Big Ten play.

No. 11 Wichita State 71, Memphis 56: Gregg Marshall lost the scoring prowess of Cleanthony Early but Fred VanVleet, Ron Baker and Tekele Cotton led the charge, proving to be one of the best perimeter attacks in the country. Wichita State hasn’t lost a regular season game in 33 tries. Memphis, on the other hand, has a lot of work to do. The guards were shaky and the frontline, which needs to steady the ship, still has its questions to solve.

No. 16 San Diego State 63, No. 25 Utah 59: The Aztecs offense was great. But it’s defense was, holding Utah’s star wing, Delon Wright, to only five points (all of which came with 40 seconds left) and forced 18 turnovers. Defense will carry San Diego State as it figures out how to get more pop offensively.

No. 15 VCU 87, Toledo 78

Briante Weber had a dazzling season debut with 18 points, eight boards, seven assists to no turnovers and nine, yes, nine steals. He was the spark plug for the Rams to pull away. He was the definition of Havoc, single-handedly ending multiple fastbreak opportunities for Toledo and he set up teammates for good looks while hitting 3-of-4 threes. If he can play like this, Shaka Smart has a dangerous team in front of him.

STARRED

1) Duke freshmen: Jahlil Okafor made his presence felt early. Justise Winslow ended up doing this. And Tyus Jones scored all of his points after halftime. In all, the three freshmen starters combined for 49 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

2) Briante Weber, VCU: The senior guard made his season debut with 18 points, eight rebounds, seven assists (no turnovers) and nine steals. He was the game-changer in VCU’s 87-78 win over MAC favorite Toledo.

3) Ron Baker, Wichita State: Didn’t score his first four points until the final minute of the first half, but it got the ball rolling as he scored 19 of game-high 21 points. He also stuffed the stat sheet with six assists, five rebounds, two steals and a block.

STRUGGLED

1) Memphis guards: We knew the new-look Memphis perimeter would take its lumps, but in a neutral site contest against one of the premier back courts in the country, the Tigers looked far from a tournament team. Kedren Johnson, Markel Crawford and Pookie Powell combined for 1-for-9 shooting, three points, only one assists to 10 turnovers.

2) Delon Wright, Utah: The talented wing didn’t score until 40 seconds remaining, ended with five points off 2-of-13 shooting in Utah’s loss to San Diego State. He wasn’t the only one to have struggle scoring in this rock fight.

3) Kansas frontline: The length of both Kentucky platoons forced the Kansas big men into a dismal night. Perry Ellis, Cliff Alexander and Jamari Traylor accounted for 14 points (4-of-19 shooting), 17 rebounds. They also accounted for several Kentucky blocks.

TOP 25

  • No. 4 Duke 81, No. 19 Michigan State 71
  • No. 9 Virginia 75, South Carolina State 55
  • No. 11 Wichita State 71, Memphis 56
  • No. 15 VCU 87, Toledo 78
  • No. 16 San Diego State 63, No. 25 Utah 59
  • No. 20 Ohio State 74, Marquette 63
  • No. 21 Nebraska 82, Central Arkansas 56

NOTABLES

  • Northeastern, the favorite in the CAA, upset Florida State, 76-73. After dropping 23 in a win over Boston University on Sunday, David Walker went for 22 points against the Seminoles. Aaron Thomas led all scorers with 24.
  • Four Buckeyes scored in double figures — Kam Williams (15), Amir Williams (12), Sam Thompson and Marc Loving (10) — in Ohio State’s 74-63 win over Marquette.
  • Texas Tech missed its final seven shots of regulation, made an errant pass to Tim Quarterman, who tied the score, Robert Turner had 13 second and settled for a step-back three despite missing all five shots in the second half. LSU prevailed, 69-64, in overtime.
  • Cady Lalanne now has three double-doubles in three games for UMass; went for 23 points and 16 boards against Manhattan.
  • Dennis Mavin’s layup with five seconds left pushed FIU past Stetson, 53-52.
  • Wofford, the Southern Conference favorite beat MAAC favorite Iona in the 7 a.m. game.
  • Xavier defeated Long Beach State, 97-74. The 49ers have the most difficult non-conference schedule.
  • Kenny Chery had 20 in Baylor’s 69-65 win over South Carolina.
  • Craig Ponder led all scorers with 26 as UNC Wilmington topped in-state foe UNC Greensboro.
  • While you were sleeping:

Louisville challenges NCAA over recruiting allegations

Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
Leave a comment

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
4 Comments

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
1 Comment

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
7 Comments

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

Getty Images
4 Comments

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.