Late Night Snacks: Seton Hall upsets No. 6 Villanova, Isaiah Taylor returns

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(This post will be updated throughout the afternoon and evening.)

GAME OF THE DAY: Seton Hall 66, No. 6 Villanova 61 OT

Seton Hall landed their second huge win this week as they handed Villanova their first loss of the season on Saturday. Sterling Gibbs was, again, terrific, finishing with 20 points and four assists, while Khadeen Carrington came off the bench to score 17 important points. Earlier this week, the Pirates beat No. 15 St. John’s in their Big East opener.

Villanova shot 31.0 percent from the floor, 20.8 percent from three and 20-for-35 from the foul line on Saturday. Ryan Arcidiacono and Jayvaughn Pinkston combined to shoot 2-for-16 from the floor. Josh Hart wasn’t much better, finishing just 3-for-13. As much credit as Seton Hall deserves, Villanova’s inability to get anything out of anyone not named Daniel Ochefu — he had 19 points, 24 boards and altered about a dozen shots in the lane — cost them this game.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: Notre Dame 83, Georgia Tech 76 2OT

Jerian Grant scored 22 points and added six assists as the Fighting Irish rallied from a second half deficit to force overtime against Georgia Tech. Grant made a number of big plays down the stretch, but Notre Dame struggled from the free throw line in crucial moments, which is part of the reason that the Yellow Jackets were able to force the extra periods. Other than free throws, where Notre Dame really had issues was on the defensive glass (they gave up 18 offensive rebounds) and shooting from the perimeter (the Irish were 4-for-19 from three).

Oh, and Jerian Grant threw down the dunk of the year.

BUZZER BEATER OF THE DAY: Utah State hit a game-winning three to beat Boise State.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 20 Ohio State 77, Illinois 61: D’angelo Russell finished with 22 points and four assists, shaking off some early turnover issues as he sparked a huge second half run for the Buckeyes. Russell entered the day shooting just 11-for-47 from the floor against high major competition, but he finished the afternoon 7-for-13 from the floor on Saturday. It was a much-needed win for the Buckeyes, who lost on their home floor to Iowa to open up the Big Ten portion of their schedule.

The Buckeyes got out and pressured man-to-man, creating turnovers and flustering Illinois during their game-changing second half run. It will be interesting to see if Thad Matta goes to that defense more often, as it seemed to infuse some life into OSU.

UConn 63, Florida 59: Ryan Boatright was just 2-for-11 from the floor, but he hit a number of critical free throws down the stretch and finished with six assists as the Huskies erased a 13-point second half deficit to beat Florida on the road. It was a huge win for UConn, who has really struggled throughout much of the non-conference portion of their schedule and who got solid showings from Omar Calhoun and Rodney Purvis, two guys that have not played well this season. But the bigger story may be Florida, who look more and more like an NIT team with each passing loss. The Gators lose to Florida State and UConn but they’re going to be the team to beat Kentucky this year?

No. 18 Oklahoma 73, No. 22 Baylor 63: TaShawn Thomas continues to get more comfortable in the Oklahoma offense, and his teammates are becoming more comfortable with him as well. The Houston transfer scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds on the afternoon as the Sooners beat Baylor in Norman, with Buddy Hield (20 points, ten rebounds) and Isaiah Cousins (19 points, eight rebounds) also being key contributors. Three players accounted for 50 of Baylor’s 63 points, with Johnathan Motley scoring 24 and Taurean Walker-Prince 17, with Kenny Chery and Royce O’Neale combining to score eight points on 2-for-14 shooting.

No. 3 Virginia 89, Miami 80 (2OT): The Cavaliers won one of five games to go at least two overtimes on Saturday, and at the half it didn’t look as if extra time would be needed to determine the outcome. The reigning ACC champions, who prior to Saturday were 0-6 at Miami, led 38-20 at the intermission and looked to be firmly in control. But Angel Rodriguez (25 points, seven assists) began making plays for the Hurricanes and stretch four Omar Sherman (13 points, six rebounds) hurt Virginia in multiple “pick and pop” situations to turn things around. Three Rodriguez free throws after being fouled by Justin Anderson with nine tenths of a second remaining forced overtime, with Anderson redeeming himself by knocking down a three to force a second overtime. London Perrantes was excellent for Virginia, scoring a career-high 26 points with Malcolm Brodgon limited to just eight.

STARRED

1. Farad Cobb, Cincinnati: Cobb game the Bearcats a scoring spark off the bench, finishing with 18 points as Cincinnati knocked off SMU in their American opener. It was the first game Cincinnati has played since finding out that Mick Cronin will be out for the year.

2. Billy Garrett Jr., DePaul: Garrett finished with 15 points, 10 assists and five boards as the Blue Demons moved to 2-0 in the Big East with a 71-68 win over Xavier.

STRUGGLED

1. Isaiah Taylor, Texas: Taylor finished with just eight points and five turnovers while shooting 2-for-10 from the floor as No. 11 Texas beat Texas Tech in their Big 12 opener. It was Taylor’s first game back from a wrist injury, and while he was rusty offensively, he did play very well defensively.

2. Marcus Foster, Kansas State: Kansas State has really struggled this season, losing again on Saturday, 61-47 at Oklahoma State. Foster went scoreless, taking just four shots after coming off the bench as head coach Bruce Weber tried to make a point to his star. He spent much of the game sulking on the bench, even when the Wildcats were up early.

3. Michigan’s guards: Caris LeVert, Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin combined to shoot 6-for-29 from the floor as the Wolverines blew an eight-point halftime lead in a 74-61 loss at Purdue.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Melo Trimble had 20 points and Dez Wells and Jake Layman combined for 24 as No. 12 Maryland got passed a scrappy Minnesota team in College Park, 70-58.
  • Despite 31 points from D’Angelo Harrison No. 15 St. John’s dropped its second straight, 73-69 to Butler. Kellen Dunham led the Bulldogs with 28.
  • Jahlil Okafor led four Blue Devils in double figures with 28 points and eight rebounds as No. 2 Duke took care of Boston College, 85-62.
  • Despite not having point guard Juwan Staten, who was sick, No. 17 West Virginia handed TCU its first loss of the season. Gary Browne led a balanced effort for the Mountaineers in their 78-67 win, scoring 16 points.
  • Five players scored in double figures, led by Joshua Smith (15 points), as No. 25 Georgetown beat Creighton 76-61 in Washington, D.C.
  • Duane Notice scored 15 points and Ty Johnson and Sindarius Thornwell added 13 apiece as South Carolina beat No. 9 Iowa State 64-60 in Brooklyn. The Cyclones shot 1-for-18 from three on the night.
  • No. 24 Colorado State became the third team to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten, with New Mexico beating the Rams 66-53. Craig Neal’s Lobos scored 42 of their 66 points in the paint.
  • Kevin Pangos and Przemek Karnowski scored 21 points apiece as No. 7 Gonzaga won 87-75 at Portland. The Bulldogs are now 3-0 in the WCC, with all three wins coming on the road.
  • Justin Jackson scored 13 points and Kennedy Meeks added 12 to go along with 12 rebounds as No. 19 North Carolina won 74-50 at Clemson.

NOTABLES

  • Justin Bibbs has 22 points and 11 boards to help Virginia Tech erase a 19-point halftime deficit, but a three at the buzzer fell short and the Hokies lost to Syracuse, 68-66. Trevor Cooney had 18 to lead the Orange.
  • Trevor Lacey bounced back from a rough night in an ugly loss against Cincinnati with 19 points as N.C. State smacked around Pitt.
  • Juan Anderson led four players in double-figures with 18 points as Marquette knocked off Providence in Milwaukee.
  • Kevin Larsen continued his excellent run of play, going for 15 points, nine boards and five assists in a 64-60 win over St. Joseph’s in their Atlantic 10 opener.
  • Arkansas blew out Utah Valley State, which wasn’t notable for anything other than this dunk.
  • Hassan Martin had 15 points to lead four players in double-figures as Rhode Island went into Saint Louis and knocked off the Billikens 65-53.
  • Vanderbilt survived Yale in a thriller in double-overtime, 79-74.
  • Rutgers picked up its first conference win as a member of the Big Ten, beating Penn State 50-46.
  • Joseph Young scored 27 points to lead Oregon to a 71-59 home win over rival Oregon State in the Pac-12 opener for both.
  • Davidson beat Richmond 81-67 in its first conference game as a member of the Atlantic 10, with Jack Gibbs scoring 32 points to lead the way.
  • Marvelle Harris scored 25 points to lead Fresno State to a 59-57 win over San Diego State. The Bulldogs led by as much as 18, but managed to get the win despite the Aztecs going on a 17-0 second half run. The loss ends San Diego State’s 47-game win streak against teams from the State of California.
  • The nation’s leader in triple-doubles this season: BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth. Collinsworth accounted for 12 points, 12 rebounds and ten assists in the Cougars’ blowout win at San Francisco.

ACC coaches back idea of all D-I teams in 2021 NCAA tourney

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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RALEIGH, N.C. — Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball coaches are pushing the idea of having next year’s NCAA Tournament include all eligible teams in Division I.

Numerous league schools and coaches released statements Wednesday after the coaches held their weekly call to discuss the proposal, which was first reported by Stadium. There are 357 Division I programs in the country, with NCAA spokeswoman Meghan Durham saying 346 of those are eligible to play in next year’s tournament.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett said the ACC coaches are “united in strongly pursuing this” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that led to the cancellation of last year’s NCAA Tournament days before the field of 68 was set to be revealed. Multiple coaches said creating an everybody-gets-in format would be an incentive for schools as they create the safest conditions possible for returning to play.

“This is not a regular season,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “It is clearly an irregular season that will require something different. Our sport needs to be agile and creative. Most importantly, an all-inclusive postseason tournament will allow a unique and unprecedented opportunity for every team and every student-athlete to compete for a national championship.”

Durham declined comment specifically on the proposal in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday. Last month, NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said the Division I oversight committees for men’s and women’s basketball planned to announce by mid-September plans for whether the season and preseason practice would start on time or require a delay due to the pandemic.

Louisville coach Chris Mack said the proposal would provide flexibility during the season without mandating a number of nonconference or conference games to be played. And the league has already experienced that scheduling challenge with football and other fall sports.

The ACC announced in July that it would have each football team play 10 league games – including the addition of Notre Dame as a football member this year – and one nonconference game to be played in the home state of the member school. Those schedules were released in early August, slightly more than a month before Thursday’s UAB-Miami game kicks off the season.

“This is a time to think differently,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said, adding: “After all these players have been through, what better way to reward them than the opportunity to compete in an unprecedented version of the most exciting event in sports.”

College basketball floats idea of bubbles for safe season

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The NBA bubble has held. So has the NHL’s double bubble. The WNBA and MLS, no leaks.

In this unprecedented landscape of sports in a pandemic world, one indisputable fact has emerged: bubbles work.

Thousands of tests, minimal to no positive COVID-19 test results.

So as the NCAA gets set announce its plans for the 2020-21 college basketball season, there are clear precedents and blueprints in place should it decide to go the bubble route.

“It’s certainly viable,” said Mark Starsiak, vice president of sports at Intersport, a Chicago-based sports marketing and media agency, “From a basketball standpoint, I think we can follow those models.”

The college football restart has been scattershot. The season has already started, yet 53 FBS schools have the pads and helmets hanging on hooks while waiting for better pandemic news.

A much more unified plan is in place for the college basketball season.

The NCAA is hoping to start the season in late November/early December, with a vote by the Division I council expected Sept. 16.

A partnership between the Pac-12 and Quidel Corp. to potentially do daily, rapid COVID-19 tests on athletes should help smooth a return to the court.

The question then becomes: What’s the best way to safely play basketball again?

Bubbles may be the answer.

While bubble football would be next to impossible logistically, basketball could fit nicely.

The travel parties are much smaller and college basketball already has plenty of multiple-team events, from holiday and conference tournaments to the NCAA Tournament. Add the effective safety measures of the pro leagues, find suitable sites and bubble basketball could work.

The NCAA is already looking at it, reportedly filing a trademark for the phrase “Battle in the Bubble.” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont also said there have been preliminary talks for bubble basketball at the Mohegan Sun resort.

“The idea of a bubble would be a really good idea, just to isolate all the teams who want to play against each other in that bubble and keep things safe, keep away from the public and keep us in our own area where we’re able to play the game the right way and safely,” Duke sophomore forward Wendell Moore, Jr. said.

A big key will be finding the right places to bubble.

The NBA has the ideal setup at Disney World, but college basketball might be better suited to follow the NHL’s lead.

Hockey’s two bubbles – Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta – cordoned off areas enclosing the arena and several nearby hotels. All personnel entering are tested and strict protocols are in place for vendors delivering food and packages into the bubbles.

Similar bubbles for college basketball could be set up at smaller resorts, cities with arenas and hotels nearby, or Division II or III schools with arenas not being used during the pandemic.

The NCAA could set up pods of multiple nonconference teams, conference tournaments could be held in similar fashion and so could the NCAA Tournament.

In other words, basketball bubbles could pop up all over the country.

“Maybe do it for maybe a week or two at a time, playing a certain amount of games and getting retested after you come back or something like that,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said. “It’s possible, but it’s not going to be easy.”

Pulling off a college basketball bubble, however, comes with a caveat.

NCAA players are considered students, so academics would have to be part of the equation.

Division I players are already accustomed to doing school work on the road and the majority take primarily online classes. To make the bubbles work, socially distant space would have to be carved out for the players to take their classes and study.

The programs may also have to rethink the size of their traveling parties.

“Discussions about the right amount of tutors or academic staff would need to take place,” said Starsiak, who has operated high-level sports and entertainment events for 15 years. ”

You have to look at, do we need three managers this time around? No, probably not. Do you take two and have a tutor or an academic come with us? Yeah, I think you could. I think there’s a way to kind of combine both things to have some live, in-person resources.”

The NCAA is going to do everything possible to have a basketball season.

The pandemic wiped out the NCAA Tournament last spring and the NCAA collected $270 million in cancellation insurance instead of the $1 billion TV payout it normally gets. A second straight year without March Madness could be devastating.

Bubbles may be the way to go.

‘Father of the Final Four’ Tom Jernestedt dies at 75

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INDIANAPOLIS — Tom Jernstedt, a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame for his contributions to college basketball and the NCAA Tournament, has died. He was 75.

The NCAA said Sunday Jernstedt died this weekend.

Nicknamed “Father of the Final Four,” Jernstedt has widely been credited with transforming the NCAA Tournament into the billion-dollar March Madness it has become today.

“A decade after his departure from the NCAA, Tom Jernstedt’s fingertips remain visible during March Madness and the Final Four,” NCAA senior vice president Dan Gavitt said in a statement. “His innovation and superb ability to develop relationships turned a basketball tournament into a three-week phenomenon that became a global event.”

A former back-up quarterback, Jernstedt worked his first Final Four in 1973 and helped push the growth of the NCAA Tournament from 25 teams to the 68, anything-can-happen bonanza held every spring.

Jernstedt helped the NCAA increase its television contract from just over $1 million to more than $10 billion when he left in 2011. He served as president of USA Basketball, was a member of the College Football Selection committee and was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2017.

“Tom Jernstedt was a humble and unsung steward of the game,” John L. Doleva, president and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, said in a statement. “Under his direction, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament grew into a phenomenon that brings college basketball fans together on a global scale. He will forever be remembered as the Father of the Final Four and one of the most respected leaders in basketball.”

Jernstedt established himself as a team leader despite being a backup quarterback at Oregon from 1964-66 and went on to serve as the Ducks’ events manager. He joined the NCAA in 1972 and spent 38 years with the organization.

“Tom served as a friend and mentor to countless people in and around collegiate athletics, and I’m proud to be among that vast group of people,” Gavitt said. “His legacy within the NCAA and its membership, and his impact on the sport of college basketball, is eternal. We extend our deepest condolences to Tom’s family.”

Aztecs extend Brian Dutcher’s contract 3 years through 2026

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — San Diego State basketball coach Brian Dutcher has signed a three-year contract extension through the 2025-26 season.

Dutcher signed the deal following one of the most successful seasons in school history. The Aztecs went 30-2, won the Mountain West regular-season title and were expected to be a No. 1 or 2 seed before the NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. They opened the season 26-0 and were the nation’s last undefeated team.

“Having spent more than 20 years at San Diego State University I understand what a special place this is,” Dutcher said in a statement Friday. “I am humbled and honored to continue to represent SDSU and Aztec Basketball as its head coach.”

Dutcher is 73-26 in three seasons, the most victories by an Aztecs coach in his first three seasons. He spent 18 seasons as Steve Fisher’s top assistant, including six as associate head coach/head coach in waiting. He took over as head coach after Fisher retired following the 2016-17 season. The Aztecs reached the NCAA Tournament in his first season.

Before that, he spent 10 seasons with Fisher at Michigan. In Dutcher’s first season with the Wolverines, Fisher was promoted to interim head coach on the eve of the NCAA Tournament and won the national championship.

Indiana halts all voluntary workouts

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Indiana has halted all voluntary workouts indefinitely for its men’s basketball, field hockey, men’s soccer and wrestling teams after 14 participants tested positive for the coronavirus this week.

The Hoosiers did not identify which teams recorded the positive tests. The football team, like other Big Ten programs, is not playing this fall. Indiana said 63 positives have been reported from more than 1,400 tests of athletes, coaches and staff since June 8.

“Our athletic program is following strict protocols during these unprecedented times and we strongly support our medical staff as we try and mitigate this issue,” men’s basketball coach Archie Miller said.