Late Night Snacks: Kansas, Arizona land big wins

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 10 Kansas 63, No. 13 Utah 60

The Jayhawks blew a 21-point second half lead, allowing the Utes to go on a 34-11 run to take a two-point before they regrouped, got a couple of stops and left Kansas City with a win.

We’ve touched on both of these teams recently. Bill Self has made it very clear that he’s no where near satisfied with his team right now, and considering that they’ve now beaten Utah, Michigan State, Florida and Georgetown (in DC), that’s a scary thought. As far as Utah is concerned, playing this tough non-conference schedule is going to be a major boost to them once we hit the heart of Pac-12 play.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 1 Kentucky 84, No. 21 North Carolina 70

Without junior wing Alex Poythress, Kentucky’s offense looked tremendous, as they shot 46 percent from the three-point line in an easy win. Willie Cauley-Stein and Devin Booker each had 15 points to lead the Wildcats while Aaron Harrison added 14 points. Kentucky’s defense slowed down North Carolina junior point guard Marcus Paige in the first half, but Paige still finished with 14 points while Brice Johnson added 15 to pace the Tar Heels.

2. No. 3 Arizona 80, Michigan 53

So this didn’t go all that well for the Wolverines. Michigan’s guards struggled to handle Arizona’s perimeter pressure and the Wildcat big men absolutely manhandled the John Beilein’s young bigs in the paint, which is a really bad combination of things to happen. Stanley Johnson looked like an all-american for the first time this season, finishing with 17 points, seven boards and three assists.

3. VCU 93, No. 23 Northern Iowa 87 (2OT): What a game this was.

Treveon Graham had 21 points — including a layup to force the first overtime and a huge three at the shot block buzzer in the second overtime to put VCU up four — as VCU picked up a win they desperately needed on Saturday night. Seth Tuttle, UNI’s best player, was pretty ineffective against the Rams, but Wes Washpun came off the bench to chip in with 27 points.

STARRED

1. Tashawn Thomas, Oklahoma: In his best game as a Sooner, Thomas finished with 25 points and shot 9-for-12 from the floor as No. 16 Oklahoma rolled Tulsa.

2. Aaron Bright and Kerry Carter, St. Mary’s: Bright and Carter combined for 41 points on 15-for-27 shooting (8-for-15 on threes) as the Gaels managed to beat Creighton in Omaha in overtime, 71-67, despite getting just two field goals from superstar Brad Waldow.

3. Cam Payne, Murray State: The sophomore point guard finished with 32 points and eight assists as the Racers went into Evansville and knocked off the Purple Aces and a game-winning layup with 1.1 seconds left.

4. Dillon Brooks, Oregon: Brooks had 24 points as the Ducks landed a nice win over Illinois. He’s not the most well-known freshman in the Pac-12, but he’s one of the best.

STRUGGLED

1. The Memphis backcourt: Five Tiger guards combined to go 4-for-16 from the floor and finish with nine points, five assists and 12 turnovers in a 73-55 loss to an Oklahoma State team that just lost to Oklahoma by 26. This team is bad.

2. Jarvis Summers, Ole Miss: Summers finished just 2-for-14 from the floor and had no answer for T.J. Price, who went for 26 points, 10 boards and five assists, as Western Kentucky knocked off the Rebels in Oxford.

3. Cincinnati at the foul line: The Bearcats shot 12-for-24 from the foul line at Nebraska, and that proved to be the difference as they lost 56-55 in double overtime.

NOTABLES

  • Arkansas is who we thought they were. Bad on the road, good at home. They beat Dayton 69-55 today.
  • Chasson Randle was 2-for-14 from the floor, but Anthony Brown had 17 points in a 49-43 win for Stanford over Denver.
  • Jakeenan Gant made his debut for Missouri today. He finished with 13 points in 15 minutes off the bench, but Missouri got smacked around by Xavier, 74-58.
  • Maryland struggled to make shots in the first half and trailed at halftime, but Melo Trimble finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds and Jake Layman added 17 in a 67-57 win over USC Upstate.
  • No. 11 Wichita State went on a 15-3 run to seal a win at Detroit as Darius Carter finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Ron Baker added 19 points. Juwan Howard Jr. had 27 in a losing effort for the Titans.
  • A.J. English was just 1-for-11 from the floor, but David Laury had 30 points and 11 boards and Isaiah Williams had 27 points in a 91-84 win over Indiana State.
  • Aaron Bowen had 16 points as Georgetown cruised past Radford, 76-49.
  • Zach Auguste scored 26 points to lead No. 25 Notre Dame to a 83-63 win over Florida State in the ACC opener for both.
  • Ohio State’s Sam Thompson had 15 points, five assists and five rebounds in a win over Morehead State. And did this.
  • Another productive outing for LaDontae Henton, as the Providence senior forward had 19 points and five rebounds in a win over Stony Brook.
  • Shaquielle McKissic had 22 points and 11 boards in an 81-74 win for Arizona State over Pepperdine.
  • Freshman Riley LaChance scored a career-high 26 points to help lead Vanderbilt to an 81-71 win over Purdue in Nashville.
  • California erased a nine-point halftime deficit to beat Princeton 67-57, and they limited the Tigers to 20 points in the second half. Tyrone Wallace led the way for the Golden Bears with 23 points and eight rebounds.
  • Kyle Wiltjer and Byron Wesley combined to score 44 points to lead No. 9 Gonzaga to an 87-74 win at UCLA.

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.