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LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 3 Oklahoma survives, No. 18 SMU still undefeated

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 3 Oklahoma 84, Hawai’i 81

The Diamond Head Classic semifinal between the Sooners and Rainbow Warriors wasn’t on this path at the start, as Lon Kruger’s Sooners scored 25 of the game’s first 34 points. But Hawai’i was able to force some chaos with their defense, as Oklahoma turned the ball over far too frequently and took some rushed shots. The two teams went back and forth in the second half, but the Sooners managed to hang on despite having their 12 turnovers converted into 18 points on the other end.

Buddy Hield scored 27 and grabbed nine rebounds, and Khadeem Lattin added 17 and eight boards. Roderick Bobbitt led Hawai’i with a career-high 32 points, but his half-court shot to force overtime missed the mark.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

BYU 96, New Mexico 66: The Mountain West hasn’t accomplished a whole lot when it comes to quality wins, and Wednesday’s blowout loss by the Lobos represents another missed opportunity. BYU hit a Diamond Head Classic-record 16 three pointers, with Chase Fischer (41 points) responsible for nine of them. Nick Emery added 20 for BYU, which shot 52.5 percent from the field.

Wisconsin 84, Green Bay 79: Wisconsin picked up its first win under interim head coach Greg Gard despite struggling mightily over the final ten minutes with Green Bay’s pressure. Nigel Hayes led the way with 24 points and Ethan Happ added 16 and eight boards for the Badgers, who shot 49.1 percent from the field on the night. But those 26 turnovers show that they’ve got a lot to clean up ahead of the start of Big Ten play.

No. 18 SMU 70, Colorado 66: After Colorado went on a 14-0 run to grab control of the game in the second half Larry Brown’s Mustangs responded, going on a 12-1 run of their own and not relinquishing their lead. Nic Moore led four Mustangs (now 11-0) in double figures with 16 points while also dishing out four assists, and Shake Milton added 14 and five rebounds. Josh Fortune led Colorado with 15 points, and Josh Scott posted his sixth double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 boards.

STARRED

Chase Fischer, BYU: Fischer set Diamond Head Classic records for made three-pointers (nine) and points (41) in the Cougars’ 30-point beating of New Mexico.

Jack Gibbs, Davidson: Gibbs scored 41 points for the second time this season as the Wildcats held off Morehead State, 81-77. However, the turnover count (ten) was a bit high for Gibbs.

Jamel Artis, Pittsburgh: 29 points (10-for-14 FG), eight rebounds and four assists in a win over Western Carolina.

STRUGGLED

Kareem Canty, Auburn: One of the nation’s top scorers had a rough afternoon in Hawaii, as he shot 1-for-15 from the field in a 69-51 loss to Harvard.

Bronson Koenig, Wisconsin: Yes his team did manage to win, holding off Green Bay 84-79. But Koenig turned the ball over eight times against the Phoenix, something that can’t happen in future games.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 16 Louisville won the Billy Minardi Classic with a comfortable 98-68 win over Utah Valley. Anas Mahmoud made his return to the court after missing three games with an ankle injury.
  • Taurean Prince scored 34 points to lead No. 23 Baylor to an 85-70 win over New Mexico State. Pascal Siakam went for 26 and ten for the Aggies, but it wasn’t enough as NMSU committed 22 turnovers on the night.

OTHER NOTABLE OUTCOMES

  • Daniel Hamilton (11 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) posted the 11th triple-double in program history as UConn rolled to a 99-52 win over Central Connecticut State.
  • Harvard advanced to the title game of the Diamond Head Classic with a 69-51 win over Auburn. Freshman Corey Johnson led five Crimson in double figures with 14 points, and Harvard limited the Tigers to 30.2 percent shooting.
  • Justin Robinson scored 26 points to lead Monmouth to a 78-69 win at Cornell. The 9-3 Hawks have played just one home game to this point in the season.
  • Michigan set a program record with 17 made three-pointers in their 96-60 win over Bryant. Caris LeVert led five Wolverines in double figures with 19 points while also accounting for five rebounds and eight assists.
  • Illinois nearly let an 18-point second half lead slip away, but they committed just seven turnovers and hit most of their free throws late to beat Missouri 68-63 in St. Louis. Malcolm Hill, Kendrick Nunn and Michael Finke combined to score 56 of Illinois’ 68 points.
  • Pittsburgh moved to 10-1 on the season with a 79-73 win over Western Carolina. Jamel Artis led the way with 29 points.
  • When discussing the Horizon League be sure to include Milwaukee with Valparaiso and Oakland as contenders. The Panthers moved to 9-4 on the season with a nine-point win at Minnesota. Jordan Johnson finished with 19 points, nine rebounds and ten assists.
  • Gonzaga moved to 2-0 in WCC play with an 85-62 win over Loyola Marymount. Kyle Wiltjer led the way offensively with 26 points and Domantas Sabonis added 15 and 13 rebounds.
  • USC rolled to a 100-64 with over Lafayette, and point guard Jordan McLaughlin set a school record too. McLaughlin, who scored 14 points, dished out 16 assists for the Trojans.
  • Joining Gonzaga at 2-0 in WCC play was 10-1 Saint Mary’s, as the Gaels won 81-59 at Santa Clara. Evan Fitzner scored 21 for SMC, which also received 14 and ten rebounds from Dane Pineau.
  • Northern Iowa bounced back from its loss to Hawai’i with a 63-59 win over Washington State.

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.