Late Night Snacks: SoCon favorite Wofford defeats NC State

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GAME OF THE DAY: Wofford 55, NC State 54

With Trevor Lacey’s (18 points) last-second shot being waved off, Mike Young’s Terriers moved to 8-2 on the season. Justin Gordon’s layup with 1.9 seconds remaining proved to be the difference, and Karl Cochran led the way offensively for Wofford with 14 points. Wofford was the preseason pick to win the SoCon, and should they get to the NCAA tournament a win like this could potentially help from a seeding standpoint.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. Tennessee 67, No. 15 Butler 55

What Donnie Tyndall’s team lacks in depth they make up for with attributes such as heart and effort, and that was on display in their comeback win over the Bulldogs in Knoxville. Josh Richardson scored a game-high 20 points and Kevin Punter added 18 for Tennessee, which also limited Butler to 33.3% shooting from the field.

2. Syracuse 71, Louisiana Tech 69

Trevor Cooney scored 25 points and Tyler Roberson added 14 points and 15 rebounds as the Orange defeated the Bulldogs at the Carrier Dome. Rakeem Christmas’ jump hook with 2.8 seconds remaining was the difference, as was Syracuse grabbing 20 offensive rebounds. However turnovers remain a problem for Syracuse, which committed 19 with freshman Kaleb Joseph accounting for eight of those. Down the stretch it was Cooney who was asked to initiate things offensively, so that’s something to keep an eye on moving forward. Alex Hamilton led the way offensively for the Bulldogs with 20 points.

3. No. 17 Washington 81, Eastern Washington 77

The Huskies (8-0) trailed by as many as 14 points before coming back to beat the Eagles in Seattle. Robert Upshaw contributed 21 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks off the bench, and he was one of four Huskies to finish the game in double figures. The one concern for Upshaw moving forward: foul shooting, as he shot 5-for-14, but given what he gives Washington in the paint that’s something Lorenzo Romar and his staff likely have no problem working through. Tyler Harvey scored 21 to lead the way for Eastern Washington, which drops to 8-2 on the season. Jim Hayford’s team will undoubtedly be a contender in the Big Sky, and given their ability on the offensive end of the floor the Eagles are a team to keep in mind when considering teams capable of springing an upset should they reach the NCAA tournament.

STARRED

1. Amida Brimah (UConn) 

Brimah put forth the best performance of his career in the Huskies’ 106-85 win over Coppin State, as he scored 40 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Brimah made all 13 of his field goal attempts, surpassing Kirk King (10-for-10) for the best single-game performance in UConn history.

2. Derrick Marks (Boise State) 

With Anthony Drmic (back) out for the third consecutive game Marks accounted for 30 points, three rebounds and three assists in the Broncos’ 79-60 win over Southern Utah.

3. Dorian Finney-Smith (Florida)

25 points (10-for-15 FG) and six rebounds in the Gators’ 79-34 win over Jacksonville.

STRUGGLED

1. Joe McDonald and Kethan Savage (George Washington) 

The Colonials’ starting guards combined to score ten points on 2-for-12 shooting in their 64-51 loss at Penn State.

2. Bernard Thompson (FGCU) 

Thompson scored 12 points but did so on 3-for-14 shooting in the Eagles’ 69-63 home loss to FIU.

3. Jacksonville

The Dolphins scored just 34 points, ten in the second half, in their 79-34 loss at Florida.

NOTABLES

  • Penn State is now 10-1 — yes, you read that correctly — as senior D.J. Newbill had 20 points in a 64-51 win over George Washington.
  • Kadeem Jack had a season-high 24 points to go along with nine rebounds at Rutgers topped Manhattan, 63-55 at Madison Square Garden.
  • Senior forward Brandon Mobley stepped up and scored 21 points to pace Seton Hall against St. Peter’s.
  • No. 7 Villanova moved to 3-0 in Big Five play with an 85-62 win over Temple. Josh Hart and Darrun Hilliard scored 20 points apiece for the Wildcats, who can wrap up their second straight Big Five title with a win over Penn January 17.
  • Boston College improved to 5-0 at home as Dimitri Batten had 18 points in an easy win over Binghamton.
  • No. 24 St. John’s moved to 8-1 on the season with a 74-53 win over Fordham at Madison Square Garden. Rysheed Jordan scored 24 points off the bench.
  • No. 4 Louisville didn’t play particularly well, but they still managed to beat UNCW 68-57.
  • Rod Hall scored 20 points and Damarcus Harrison added 19 as Clemson beat Auburn, 72-61. Trayvon Reed made his debut for Auburn but was ineffective, committing four fouls in eight minutes of action.
  • Two Juwan Staten free throws with seven seconds left preserved a 69-66 win over Marshall for No. 22 West Virginia. Staten scored 15 points and Jonathan Holton added 14 along with six rebounds.
  • A technical foul for dunking in pregame warmups didn’t derail No. 14 Iowa State, as the Cyclones beat Southern 88-78. All five starters reached double figures for the Cyclones, with Bryce Dejean-Jones and Georges Niang scoring 18 apiece.
  • Northwestern ended its three-game skid with a 101-49 win over Mississippi Valley State.
  • Nino Williams scored 20 points to lead Kansas State to a 73-53 win over Savannah State.
  • Denzel Valentine scored 19 points and Branden Dawson 15 as Michigan State took care of Oakland, 87-61.
  • Eric Reveno’s Portland Pilots moved to 7-2 with an 80-75 win at Sacramento State, with Thomas Van der Mars scoring 20 points. Mikh McKinney led the Hornets with 32 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and seven steals.

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.