Late Night Snacks: No. 1 Kentucky needs overtime to top Ole Miss, Arkansas gets a tough win at Georgia

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 1 Kentucky 89, Ole Miss 86 OT

Nobody in the country expected this game to be close, but the Wildcats were able to withstand for an overtime win over Ole Miss. The Rebels made 3-pointers (9-for-17), made free throws (19-for-22) and never wavered and gave Kentucky its biggest scare of the season. This was the first game of the season where Kentucky’s defense allowed more than 70 points and they gave up 86 in Rupp Arena. Aaron Harrison was 6-for-10 from the 3-point line to pace the Wildcats with 26 points, but this was a big wake-up call for Kentucky.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 23 Arkansas 79, Georgia 75

This was a really nice road win for the Razorbacks, as they were down double figures in the second half after being down by seven points at the half. Sophomore forward Bobby Portis stepped up and had a big outing for Arkansas as he finished with 21 points and five rebounds while Michael Qualls added 17 points. Alandise Harris was also 7-for-8 from the field for 15 points.

2. No. 8 Villanova 90, No. 24 St. John’s 72

Daniel Ochefu was dominant in the paint once again — 13 points, 12 boards (six offensive), four assists and two blocks — and Darrun Hilliard and Ryan Arcidiacono made enough plays in the second half as Villanova pulled away from the Johnnies late. While the Wildcats landed an impressive bounce-back win after losing at Seton Hall over the weekend, the Johnnies lost their third straight game to open up Big East play. D’angelo Harrison had 25 points in the loss.

3. No. 22 Ohio State 74, Minnesota 72 OT

D’angelo Russell scored 25 of his 27 points in the first half for the Buckeyes, but Minnesota swarmed him defensively in the second half, erasing a 12-point deficit and forcing overtime. Ohio State’s Marc Loving made a number of big shots down the stretch — including the game-winner, seen below — but if Amir Williams hadn’t missed a layup at the end of regulation, this game never would have made it that far. Andre Hollins was 3-for-13 on Tuesday and is now just 6-for-32 from the floor in Big Ten play.

4. No. 17 Iowa State 63, Oklahoma State 61

Georges Niang struggled — 3-for-12 shooting, five turnovers — but Dustin Hogue made a number of big plays down the stretch as the Cyclones outlasted the Pokes in Ames. Hogue finished with 17 points and added an Hakim Warrick-esque block in the final seconds to seal the victory.

STARRED

1. Brandon Goodwin, UCF

The night’s biggest hero is undoubtedly Goodwin as he went for 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a UCF overtime road win over Houston. Goodwin’s clutch shooting is the big reason why UCF won this game. His 3-pointer with four seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime and his 3-pointer with three seconds left in overtime gave the Knights the one-point victory.

2. Kris Dunn, Providence

Dunn had 25 points, eight boards and six assists as Providence moved to 2-1 in the Big East with a 66-62 win at Butler. If Dunn ever gets his turnovers under control and learns to shoot … look out.

3. Jameel Warney, Stony Brook

An American East Player of the Year candidate, Warney had 25 points and 13 rebounds to pace Stony Brook in a road win at Columbia. Warney was an impressive 12-for-16 from the field.

STRUGGLED

1. Brandon Taylor, Penn State

The Nittany Lions could have used some offense for Taylor so that D.J. Newbill wouldn’t have to do all of the scoring against Michigan but he only finished 1-for-10 from the field for two points.

2. Boston College

The Eagles blew a 10 point lead in the final three minutes to lose to Pitt in overtime, 61-60.

3. Rysheed Jordan, St. John’s

Jordan was 0-for-6 from the floor with two turnovers and no assists in his first game back after leaving the team last week.

NOTABLES

  • Winston Shepard had 20 points and nine boards to lead San Diego State to a 56-42 win over New Mexico in a battle between Mountain West rivals.
  • Michigan had to fight off a late Penn State rally to earn another much-needed Big Ten road win as Caris LeVert had 18 points to pace the Wolverines. Michigan had nice balance in the win as six different players knocked down a 3-pointer and Zak Irvin broke out of his shooting slump with a 6-for-9 performance and 17 points.
  • UConn used nine different scorers to get past South Florida 58-44. Amida Brimah led the Huskies with 13 points, eight rebounds and six blocks.
  • James Siakam led four players in double figures, finishing with 14 points, 10 boards and two blocks, as Vandy beat Auburn in Bruce Pearl’s SEC opener.
  • Ricky Tarrant had 15 points as Alabama landed a 65-44 win over Texas A&M.
  • Central Michigan earned a nice MAC road win at Toledo as Rayshawn Simmons had 16 points. The Chippewas are now 11-1 on the season.
  • Three Cincinnati starters finished in double figures, led by Octavius Ellis and Kevin Johnson’s 12 points each, in a 69-48 win over East Carolina.
  • Georgetown only scored one field goal in 14-plus minutes until D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera’s field goal with just over a minute left as the Hoyas held off Marquette 65-59. Smith-Rivera led the Hoyas with 15 points.
  • Florida State cruised past Virginia Tech as Xavier Rathan-Mayes led the Seminoles with 22 points.
  • George Washington trailed Saint Louis by eight at the half but roared back for a 75-72 home A-10 win. Patricio Garino led the Colonials in points and rebounds with 18 points and six rebounds.

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

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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.