Late Night Snacks: Villanova survives Syracuse while UNC, SMU get big wins

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 7 Villanova 82, Syracuse 77 OT

The Orange had complete control of this game. Villanova never led in regulation. They did trail by 14 in the second half before using an 8-0 run sparked entirely by Darrun Hilliard to kick-start a comeback that culminated in Villanova scoring five points in ten seconds to force overtime.

This is the kind of loss that a rebuilding Syracuse team is going to feel in March. This was their marquee non-conference win slipping through their fingers.


1. No. 24 North Carolina 82, No. 12 Ohio State 74: North Carolina jumped out to a big lead before letting Ohio State back into it late. We had Scott Phillips on site for the game. Here is his story from Chicago.

2. No. 1 Kentucky 83, UCLA 42: Kentucky absolutely embarrassed the Bruins on Saturday afternoon, jumping out to a 24-0 lead and burying UCLA 41-7 at the break. UCLA is a borderline tournament team this season, but they still have some talent on that roster. And that should scare you. Kentucky has now played three games against elite programs on national television, blowing out both Kansas and UCLA and beating Texas by 12. When the Wildcats come to play, who can beat them?

3. SMU 62, Michigan 51: Michigan’s losing streak has been extended for four games, as the Wolverines lost to an SMU team that has been one of the nation’s most disappointing teams this season. Three of those four losses, including Saturday’s, came in Ann Arbor. Given the relative weakness of the Big Ten outside Wisconsin, it’s time to start considering the idea that Michigan is not a tournament team. For SMU, this was an important win, but not as important as the news they got yesterday: Markus Kennedy is now eligible. He finished with five points and three boards off the bench.


1. Terry Rozier, Louisville: Montrezl Harrell got tossed at halftime after this skirmish. He had been all of Louisville’s offense to that point, but Rozier took over in the second half, scoring 26 of his 32 points after halftime.

2. Rayvonte Rice, Illinois: Rice scored 19 points and buried this buzzer-beater to give the Illini a 62-59 win in the Braggin’ Rights game over Missouri.

3. Troy Williams, Indiana: Williams had 22 points, 11 boards, three assists, two steals and two blocks as the Hoosiers knocked off No. 23 Butler, 82-73, at the Crossroads Classic.

4. Kelly Oubre, Kansas: I know that is was against Lafayette, but that doesn’t change the fact that Oubre started and finished with 23 points and 10 boards today.


1. Caris LeVert, Michigan: LeVert was a no-show on Saturday, finishing 1-for-8 from the floor with four points and five turnovers in a loss to SMU at home. He was also torched by Nic Moore, who finished with 17 points.

2. UCLA: Presented without comment:


3. Travis Trice and Bryn Forbes, Michigan State: Trice and Forbes combined to score 12 points and shoot 4-for-22 from the floor and 1-for-12 from three as the No. 25 Spartans lost to Texas Southern in overtime in the Breslin Center. That’s a bad, bad loss.


  • No. 13 Iowa State put four players in double-figures in a blowout win over Drake. Oh, and they landed a pretty important transfer, too.
  • No. 21 Notre Dame got 22 points from Demetrius Jackson — who led six scorers in double-figures — as the Irish blew out Purdue in the Crossroads Classic, 94-63. More impressive? They did it on a night where Jerian Grant shot 3-for-13 from the floor.
  • Jernard Jarreau scored 12 points and all eight Huskies scored at least six as No. 16 Washington beat No. 15 Oklahoma 69-67 in Las Vegas.
  • Javan Felix scored 17 points in No. 9 Texas’ 78-68 win over Long Beach State, which received 23 points from Mike Caffey.
  • Juwan Staten scored 24 points as No. 22 West Virginia beat NC State 83-69 at the Gotham Classic in New York City.
  • Przemek Karnowski and Kevin Pangos scored 16 points apiece in No. 8 Gonzaga’s 63-50 win over Cal Poly in Seattle.
  • Winston Shepard scored 15 points as No. 19 San Diego State beat Ball State 70-57.
  • Delon Wright anf Brandon Taylor combined to score 33 points to lead No. 14 Utah to a 59-46 win over UNLV.


  • Nino Williams had 17 points to lead four players in double-figures as Kansas State shot 61.5 percent from the floor to beat Texas A&M.
  • Kris Dunn had 16 points, 11 assists and five steals while LaDontae Henton added 27 in a blowout win for Providence over UMass.
  • In his first game with the Gators, Alex Murphy had nine points, four boards, two steals and two blocks off the bench. Dorian Finney-Smith added 16 points, six boards, four assists and four steals as Florida knocked off Wake Forest.
  • VCU hit 15 threes and rolled, 68-47, over a Cincinnati team playing without their head coach, who has an unruptured aneurysm.
  • Georgetown avoided what would have been an ugly loss, blowing a double-figure lead at home, against Charlotte, surviving 81-78.
  • D.J. Newbill had 20 points and four assists as Penn State improved to 11-1 on the year with a win over Drexel.
  • Devon Bookert went for 24 as Florida State knocked off South Florida in Tallahassee.
  • Georgia Tech picked up a nice win against Vanderbilt thanks to 19 points and eight boards from Charles Mitchell.
  • Davidson improved to 9-1 on the season as they knocked off old SoCon rival College of Charleston, 80-68, on the road.
  • K.T. Harrell finished with 24 points as Auburn knocked off Xavier in a double-overtime thriller, 65-59.
  • Houston lost again, this time at home against South Carolina State.
  • Northern Iowa limited Iowa to 27.5% shooting from the field, winning 56-44 in Des Moines. Ben Jacobson’s Panthers are now 10-1 on the season.
  • Lehigh picked up a road win Saturday night, outlasting Arizona State 84-81 in triple overtime. Savon Goodman, playing in his second game for ASU, scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a losing effort.
  • BYU had to hang on for dear life for their 79-77 win over Stanford, a game they led by 13 with 4:20 remaining. Tyler Haws, back from an ankle injury, scored 24 points in the win.

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

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.