Late Night Snacks: Virginia takes down North Carolina; Kansas runs past Iowa State

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IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 3 Virginia 75, No. 12 North Carolina 64

A big second half pushed the Cavaliers past North Carolina as Virginia looked great after its loss to Duke on Saturday. During a methodical beat-down in the second frame, the Hoos scored 43 points and took the life out of the home crowd for the Tar Heels. Malcolm Brogdon paced Virginia with 17 points while Justin Anderson had 16 and London Perrantes chipped in 15. The Cavalier defense held Marcus Paige scoreless for 32 minutes, but he still manged to finish with a team-high 15 points for North Carolina.

2. No. 8 Kansas 89, No. 11 Iowa State 76

The streak has reached 20 at Allen Fieldhouse as the Jayhawks had five players in double figures in a Big 12 win over the Cyclones. Wayne Selden Jr. had 20 points and five 3-pointers and played one of his best games of the season. Perry Ellis added 17 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. chipped in 16 to give the Kansas offense a lot of punch on Monday night. Iowa State had 24 points from Georges Niang but lost on the road for the third consecutive game as they couldn’t grasp control of the game after a solid start slipped away from them.

STARRED

1. Pitt’s Jamel Artis

The sophomore has really elevated his play over the last few weeks as the forward scored 32 points in a tight home win over Bryant. The performance from Artis meant the Panthers didn’t get a terrible non-conference loss in February and he was 11-for-17 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Over his last seven games, Artis is averaging 20.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game for the Panthers.

2. Siena’s Rob Poole

Nice home win in the MAAC for the Saints as the senior guard finished with 27 points in a victory over Rider. Poole went 8-for-13 from the field and also finished 8-for-11 from the free-throw line.

3. Howard’s James Carlton

One of the hottest players in the country at the moment is the 6-foot-8 junior from Howard. Carlton had 31 points in a win over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Monday and he’s averaging 30 points per game over his last three games. The forward also had 11 rebounds on the night.

STRUGGLED

1. North Carolina’s J.P. Tokoto

Playing 30 minutes against Virginia, Tokoto was a non-factor as the junior played arguably his worst game of the season. Tokoto finished with a single point, a single rebound and three assists as he went 0-for-3 from the field.

NOTABLES

  • The MAAC contest scheduled between Iona and Fairfield on Monday got moved back to Feb. 10 as the game was postponed due to weather.
  • Green Bay earned a Horizon League road win at Wright State as Jordan Fouse finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
  • N.J.I.T. shot 58 percent from the floor (31-for-53) and 59 percent from 3-point range (13-for-22) in a big home win over Hampton. The Highlanders are now 13-10 on the season and 7-1 at home. Someone please get them a conference affiliation already.
  • Sam Houston State improved to 17-5 and 9-1 in the Southland with an easy win over Lamar. Kaheem Ransom tallied 18 points in the win.
  • A double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds from Desharick Guidry pushed McNeese State past SE Louisiana in the Southland.
  • Winthrop defeated Charleston Southern in the Big South as Keon Moore had 19 points and Andre Smith added 18.
  • Houston Baptist had 20 points and six assists from Anthony Odunsi and 19 points and 10 rebounds from Josh Ibarra in a win over Abilene Christian.
  • All five starters finished in double figures as North Carolina Central remained unbeaten in the MEAC with a win over Florida A&M.
  • Texas Southern needed overtime to beat Alabama A&M, but the Tigers held on to maintain its lead in the SWAC. Tonnie Collier finished with 18 points.

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.