Saturday’s Snacks: No. 1 Kentucky, No. 15 Oklahoma among Saturday’s winners

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 3 Duke 84, No. 19 North Carolina 77

Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook combined to score 44 points as the Blue Devils completed the season sweep of their rivals in Chapel Hill. North Carolina led by two at the half, but the combination of Duke’s ball screens on offense and pressure on defense proved to be too much for the Tar Heels to handle. Duke will be the two-seed in next week’s ACC tournament, with North Carolina getting the five-seed.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 1 Kentucky 67, Florida 50

John Calipari’s Wildcats put the finishing touches on an undefeated regular season, using a balanced effort to take care of the Gators in Lexington. Trey Lyles led the way with 14 points and Karl-Anthony Towns added 13, nine rebounds and six blocks for Kentucky. Next up for both teams is the SEC tournament, with the Wildcats beginning play Friday thanks to the double-bye they’ve earned.

2. No. 16 Louisville 59, No. 2 Virginia 57

Prior to Saturday’s game Mangok Mathiang made one field goal since January 31. His jumper with 2.5 seconds remaining gave the Cardinals a lead they would not relinquish against the Cavaliers, and they wrapped up the four-seed in the ACC tournament as a result. Playing in his final home game, Montrezl Harrell led the Cardinals with 20 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Malcolm Brogdon, whose three-pointer gave Virginia a one-point lead with 13.7 seconds remaining, scored 17 and grabbed five rebounds in the loss.

3. No. 15 Oklahoma 75, No. 9 Kansas 73

The Jayhawks played without Perry Ellis (knee), Brannen Greene (suspension) and Cliff Ellis (NCAA investigation), but thanks to three Frank Mason free throws they were one defensive stop away from forcing overtime. Buddy Hield made sure the game ended in regulation, as his follow of a Jordan Woodard miss with two-tenths of a second remaining gave the Sooners the win.

4. Michigan State 74, Indiana 72

Could this loss spell doom for the Hoosiers’ NCAA Tournament hopes? By dropping Saturday’s home game against the Branden Dawson-less Spartans, Indiana has now lost eight of its last 11 games and they’re squarely on the bubble before next week’s Big Ten Tournament. Although Hanner Mosquera-Perea threw down one of the best tip slams of the year, it wasn’t enough for the Hoosiers, who rallied late but couldn’t get over the hump. After a bizarre final minute, Yogi Ferrell had a chance to tie with two free throws, but missed the second free throw as Michigan State escaped.

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STARRED

1. Iona’s A.J. English

Iona might be the top seed in the MAAC Conference Tournament but they still needed 32 points from English to get past Siena for a three-point win. The junior also added three rebounds and three assists and was 6-for-10 from the 3-point line.

2. Northwestern State’s Jalan West

West tallied 33 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in the Demons’ 88-74 win over New Orleans.

3. Duke’s Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook

Jones and Cook combined to score 44 points, with Jones also accounting for seven assists and six rebounds, in the Blue Devils’ win at No. 19 North Carolina.

4. Washington’s Nigel Williams-Goss

Williams-Goss was outstanding in the Huskies’ 77-68 win over No. 13 Utah, scoring 28 points (11-for-18 FG) while also grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assists.

STRUGGLED

1. Abilene Christian

The Wildcats shot 9-for-48 from the field in a 58-27 loss at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Their starting guards, Parker Wentz, LaDarrien Williams and Jalen Little, combined to score four points and shot 0-for-15 from the field.

2. DePaul’s Billy Garrett Jr.

Garrett Jr. scored just two points in a loss at Marquette, shooting 1-for-9 from the field.

3. Syracuse’s Kaleb Joseph

Joseph shot 1-for-6 from the field, scoring three points in the Orange’s loss at NC State.

4. San Francisco’s Kruize Pinkins

Pinkins scored five points on 2-for-10 shooting in the Dons’ 81-72 loss to No. 7 Gonzaga.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 21 Butler earned a nice Big East road win over No. 24 Providence as Roosevelt Jones had 16 points and Kellen Dunham added 15 points.
  • Leading by just four at the half, No. 4 Villanova went on a 43-10 run in the second half of their 105-68 demolition of St. John’s. Daniel Ochefu led five Wildcats in double figures with 21 points while also grabbing nine rebounds, taking advantage of a Red Storm team playing without the injured Chris Obekpa.
  • No. 5 Arizona defeated Stanford 91-69, with T.J. McConnell accounting for ten points, 11 assists and three steals. Brandon Ashley led five Wildcats in double figures with 15 points.
  • A Keith Hornsby three-pointer gave LSU an 81-78 win over No. 18 Arkansas, adding a quality win to its NCAA tournament resume.
  • Daishon Knight scored 25 points, 16 of which came in the second half, as Illinois State knocked off No. 8 Wichita State in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley tournament.
  • The Redbirds will take on No. 11 Northern Iowa in the title game Sunday, as UNI beat Loyola (IL) 63-49 in St. Louis.
  • Jerian Grant and Zach Auguste scored 19 points apiece as No. 12 Notre Dame beat Clemson, 81-67.
  • Nigel Williams-Goss led Washington to a 77-68 win over No. 13 Utah in Seattle. With the loss, Utah drops to the three-seed in next week’s Pac-12 tournament and Oregon will be the two.
  • Once again playing without the injured Gary Browne and Juwan Staten, No. 20 West Virginia rebounded from a tough loss at No. 9 Kansas, beating Oklahoma State 81-72. Devin Williams led the way with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
  • No. 7 Gonzaga erased a two-point halftime deficit, as they beat San Francisco 81-72 in a WCC quarterfinal. Next up for the Bulldogs is Pepperdine on Monday.
  • No. 17 Iowa State won 89-76 at TCU, and the Cyclones will be the two-seed at the Big 12 tournament thanks to this win.

CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS

  • Big South semis: The Big South title game is set, as Winthrop beat Longwood 71-58 and Coastal Carolina edged Gardner-Webb 73-70. Cliff Ellis’ Chanticleers, who won the tournament last year, are the hosts.
  • Colonial quarters: Hofstra pulled off an upset of sorts, as they beat four-seed James Madison 74-57. Next up for the Pride is top-seed William & Mary, which beat Elon in the first game of the day. UNCW and Northeastern also advanced, with the Seahawks taking care of College of Charleston and the Huskies beating Delaware by three. Sunday’s semifinals on NBCSN: William & Mary vs. Hofstra, UNCW vs. Northeastern.
  • Horizon semis: Green Bay advanced to the title game with a 70-56 win over UIC. Keifer Sykes scored 30 points to lead the way for the Phoenix. They’ll take on Valparaiso Tuesday, as the Crusaders (who will host the tile game) beat Cleveland State 60-55.
  • MAAC quarters: Top-seed Iona managed to hold off Siena thanks to 32 points from A.J. English. They’ll take on Monmouth in one semifinal on Sunday, which beat Canisius 60-54. Saint Peter’s upset two-seed Rider and Manhattan beat Marist in the evening session. Sunday’s semifinals: Iona vs. Monmouth, Saint Peter’s vs. Manhattan.
  • Missouri Valley semis: Sunday’s title game is set, with Illinois State upsetting No. 8 Wichita State and No. 11 Northern Iowa taking care of Loyola (IL).
  • Northeast semis: Both home teams won Saturday, with Robert Morris beating Bryant 66-53 and top-seed St. Francis-Brooklyn beating Saint Francis (PA) 62-48. The Colonials and Terriers meet Tuesday night in Brooklyn.
  • SoCon quarters: Furman pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament thus far, beating Chattanooga 69-67. Also advancing Saturday were top-seed Wofford, Western Carolina and Mercer. Sunday’s semifinals: Wofford vs. Western Carolina, Furman vs. Mercer.
  • Summit quarters: South Dakota State took care of business, as they whipped Western Illinois 87-50. North Dakota State also advanced, beating Denver 61-50. Sunday’s quarterfinals: Fort Wayne vs. South Dakota, Oral Roberts vs. IUPUI.
  • West Coast quarters: Six-seed Portland knocked out Saint Mary’s, winning 69-52, and Pepperdine edged out San Diego by three in the second game of the day. Also advancing was No. 7 Gonzaga, which beat San Francisco after trailing by two at the half. In the final game of the day BYU beat Santa Clara 78-76, with Tyler Haws’ jumper with 2.5 seconds remaining being the difference. Monday’s semifinals: Gonzaga vs. Pepperdine, BYU vs. Portland.
  • Bids clinched: Ohio Valley (Belmont).

NOTABLES

  • Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner each had 19 points as N.C. State ended Syracuse’s season with a loss. After the game, Orange head coach Jim Boeheim opted to skip the postgame press conference.
  • Georgetown held off Seton Hall for a home win as Jabril Trawick had 19 points. The win gave the Hoyas the No. 2 seed in the Big East Tournament and it was also a chance for Georgetown to honor Tyler Adams on Senior Day.
  • Iowa cruised past Northwestern for a Big Ten win as Aaron White had 25 points and eight rebounds.
  • The late-season slide continues for Pitt as they fell on the road at Florida State. Xavier Rathan-Mayes had 19 to pace the Seminoles.
  • Miami kept its NCAA Tournament hopes alive by winning at Virginia Tech. The win won’t help the resume very much, but it’s better than losing and bursting the bubble. Manu Lecomte led the Hurricanes with 20 points.
  • Texas A&M’s NCAA Tournament hopes took a huge hit as the Aggies blew a 14-point
  • La Salle knocked off Dayton 55-53, meaning that Davidson will be the top seed in next week’s Atlantic 10 tournament. Quite the achievement for the league newcomer, which was picked to finish 12th in the preseason media poll. Davidson is also the outright regular season champ, as they rolled to a 107-78 win at Duquesne.
  • Purdue picked up its 12th Big Ten win, as they beat Illinois 63-58 in West Lafayette. Matt Painter’s Boilermakers would be the four-seed in the Big Ten tournament if Wisconsin beats Ohio State Sunday.
  • A Kris Yanku runner with 3.6 seconds remaining gave Northern Arizona a 70-68 win over Sacramento State. The combination of this loss for Sacramento State and Montana’s win at Montana State means that the Grizzlies will host the Big Sky tournament.
  • Harvard, which beat Brown, received the help it needed as Dartmouth knocked off Yale 59-58. The Crimson and Bulldogs will meet next weekend at the Palestra to decide recipient of the Ivy League’s NCAA tournament bid.
  • Boise State will be the top seed in the Mountain West tournament, as they beat Fresno State 71-52 to move to 14-4 in conference play. The Broncos, who were last the top seed in a conference tournament in 1999 (Big West), have won 14 of their last 15 games.
  • Stephen F. Austin won its second consecutive outright Southland title Saturday night, as they beat Sam Houston State 64-55.
  • Corey Hawkins scored 30 points to UC Davis to an 80-61 win over UC Irvine. The Aggies will be the top seed in the Big West tournament but keep an eye on UCSB, which has won five straight to end the regular season.

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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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.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.