Late Night Snacks: No. 5 Wisconsin wraps up share of Big Ten title while Pitt, Stanford suffer damaging losses


GAME OF THE NIGHT: Ohio State 65, Purdue 61

The Boilermakers led by 12 points at the half, but Ohio State shot nearly 55 percent in the second half and ultimately won by four in Columbus. D’Angelo Russell led the way with 28 points and seven rebounds, and guards Shannon Scott and Kam Williams made some key free throws down the stretch with the freshman star on the bench with four fouls. A.J. Hammons led three Boilermakers in double figures with 16 points to go along with six rebounds and three blocks. Purdue is still in control of its own fate when it comes to wrapping up a double bye in the Big Ten tournament, but their cushion shrinks by a game as a result of this loss.


1. Wake Forest 69, Pittsburgh 66

For teams on the bubble, these final weeks before Selection Sunday are just as much about bad losses as they are quality wins. While Danny Manning’s Demon Deacons have come up short in multiple close games in ACC play, this was a loss Pittsburgh could not afford to suffer. The Panthers are 19-11 on the season, but they’ve won just two road games (2-8) and their best non-conference victory came against Kansas State. With games against Miami and Florida State left to be played before the ACC tournament, Jamie Dixon needs his team to rebound from Sunday’s disappointing defeat in short order.

2. No. 5 Wisconsin 68, Michigan State 61

Faced with an opponent that was looking to rebound from a disappointing overtime loss to Minnesota on Thursday, the Badgers led by as much as 22 as they wrapped up a share of the Big Ten title. On Senior Day, senior Frank Kaminsky led the way for the Badgers with 31 points and eight rebounds. Wisconsin shot 52 percent from the field, and on the other end they limited Denzel Valentine to ten points on 3-for-9 shooting.

3. UConn 81, No. 21 SMU 73

Kevin Ollie’s Huskies are in all likelihood going to need their conference’s automatic bid to return to the NCAA tournament, even with Sunday’s win over the Mustangs in Hartford. But with the Huskies hosting the conference tournament, getting Rodney Purvis (career-high 28 points) going is certainly a positive. The biggest beneficiary of this result: Tulsa (14-2), which now leads SMU (14-3) by a game in the loss column atop the American standings. The Golden Hurricane and Mustangs meet next weekend in Dallas, with the winner getting the top seed in the conference tournament.


1. Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky

Kaminsky added another quality game to his national Player of the Year resume, scoring 31 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the Badgers’ win over Michigan State.

2. Providence’s LaDontae Henton

Henton’s one of the candidates for Big East Player of the Year, and he didn’t disappoint in the Friars’ win over Marquette. Henton scored 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, corralling his 1,000th career rebound in the process.

3. UConn’s Rodney Purvis and Ryan Boatright

With Purvis scoring a career-high 28 points and Boatright adding 23, the Huskies were able to beat No. 21 SMU 81-73.


1. Michigan State’s Branden Dawson

Dawson finished with four points and two rebounds in the Spartans’ loss at Wisconsin. Tom Izzo needs more from his senior forward at this point in the season.

2. Fairfield’s Mike Kirkland Jr.

Averaging 8.4 points per game this season, Kirkland missed all seven of his shots and went scoreless in the Stags’ one-point loss at Niagara.

3. Stanford’s Chasson Randle

Randle scored 17 points and dished out six assists in the Cardinal’s 73-70 loss to Oregon, but he scored those points on 6-for-18 shooting and struggled down the stretch.


  • LaDontae Henton scored 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as No. 25 Providence beat Marquette 77-66. Fellow Friar Kris Dunn added 16 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals.


  • Saint Peter’s limited Iona to 31.6% shooting from the field, winning 68-60 in Jersey City and grabbing the seven-seed in next week’s MAAC tournament.
  • Manhattan will be the three-seed in the MAAC tournament thanks to their 69-65 win over Quinnipiac. With the Jaspers and Iona on opposite sides of the bracket, the two rivals could meet in the MAAC title game for a third consecutive year.
  • California went on a 24-2 second half run to turn an eight-point deficit into a 14-point lead as they beat Oregon State 73-56 in Berkeley.
  • Oregon completed its first sweep of the Bay Area road swing since 1976 with a 73-70 win over Stanford. The Ducks also locked up a first round bye in the Pac-12 tournament. As for the Cardinal, they’re headed in the wrong direction with a trip to the Arizona schools remaining on the schedule.
  • Norman Powell scored a career-high 28 points to lead UCLA to a 72-67 home win over Washington State. The Bruins close out the regular season Wednesday night against rival USC.

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

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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.