LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 11 Providence, No. 20 Kentucky fall

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: DePaul 77, No. 11 Providence 70

Ben Bentil left the game with an ankle injury, Kris Dunn struggled and no one else could get going for the Friars. When that happens the Friars are in trouble, as Rob Dauster notes here. Myke Henry was the standout for the Blue Demons, scoring 27 points and grabbing 11 rebounds with Billy Garrett Jr. adding 16 points, six rebounds and four assists. Dunn led Providence with 14 points and eight assists, but he shot 5-for-20 from the field, and as a team the Friars shot 39.3 percent from the field.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

Tennessee 84, No. 20 Kentucky 77: The Volunteers came back from 21 points down late in the first half to beat the Wildcats in Lexington, with Kevin Punter leading the way with 27 points. Armani Moore also played well for the Vols, adding 18 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Jamal Murray scored 21 points and Tyler Ulis 20 for the Wildcats, who lost to an unranked opponent for the fifth time this season. And for the young Wildcats, some familiar issues got them in trouble Tuesday night.

No. 14 West Virginia 82, No. 13 Iowa State 77: Jaysean Paige scored 23 points off the bench and Devin Williams added 17 points and 18 boards as the Mountaineers erased a 15-point deficit to win in Ames. Georges Niang scored 20 points for the Cyclones but he also turned the ball over eight times, with fellow front court starter Jameel McKay having four turnovers himself. As for WVU, after getting blown out at Florida Saturday Bob Huggins’ team showed the toughness we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from them.

Butler 87, Georgetown 76: Kelan Martin put forth an outstanding showing in Butler’s win over Georgetown, scoring 35 points and grabbing eight rebounds in a key matchup for both teams. This is Butler’s first Big East win over a team other than DePaul or St. John’s, and even with their non-conference slate the Bulldogs were trending in the wrong direction prior to Tuesday night. This win helps, and on the other side of the equation the Hoyas find themselves in even greater trouble when it comes to the NCAA tournament.

MORE: Tuesday’s Bubble Banter

STARRED

Ray Lee, Eastern Michigan: Lee played just 24 minutes in the Eagles’ 94-69 win over Miami (Ohio). He scored 46 points, shooting 9-for-11 from three (11-for-16 from the field), so took full advantage of his time on the court.

Kelan Martin, Butler: Martin scored 35 points and grabbed eight rebounds off the bench in the Bulldogs’ win over Georgetown.

Shawn Long, Louisiana-Lafayette: 28 points and 17 rebounds in the Ragin’ Cajuns’ overtime win over UL-Monroe.

Devin Williams, West Virginia: Williams scored 17 points and grabbed a career-high 18 boards in the Mountaineers’ win at No. 13 Iowa State.

STRUGGLED

Reed Timmer, Drake: Timmer finished the Bulldogs’ loss at Indiana State with 15 points, ten rebounds and four assists. But he scored those points on 5-for-20 shooting from the field.

Kris Dunn, Providence: Losing Ben Bentil after 14 minutes didn’t help matters for Dunn, who shot 5-for-20 from the field in the Friars’ loss at DePaul.

Four McGlynn, Rhode Island: With the Rams playing without Jarvis Garrett (jaw) and Kuran Iverson (concussion), McGlynn had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders Tuesday night. He finished the Rams’ overtime loss at UMass with 13 points and four assists, but he shot 3-for-16 from the field and committed six turnovers.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Buddy Hield led six Sooners in double figures with 17 points as No. 1 Oklahoma blew out TCU, 95-72. Hield’s failed to reach 20 points in a game just three times in Big 12 play this season, but the Sooners have won all three of those games (West Virginia and Baylor being the others).
  • After getting off to a slow start Indiana flipped the switch in a big way, outscoring the Wolverines 41-9 over the final 14:31 of the first half and going on to win comfortably 80-67. Yogi Ferrell scored 17 points and dished out nine assists to lead the way for Indiana, which continues to make strides defensively.
  • Yante Maten accounted for 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocks at Georgia beat No. 25 South Carolina 69-56. The Gamecocks are now 19-3 on the season, but given their non-conference slate Frank Martin’s team doesn’t have a large margin for error down the stretch.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • Josh Williams scored 20 points, shooting 7-for-8 from the field, as Akron went on the road and beat Ohio, 80-68. Keith Dambrot’s Zips are now alone atop the MAC East standings at 7-2, one game ahead of Kent State (which lost at Central Michigan).
  • Ben Simmons tallied 21 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists to lead LSU to an 80-68 win at Auburn.
  • Clemson outscored Wake Forest 56-34 in the second half of their 76-62 win in Winston-Salem. Jaron Blossomgame posted a double-double, finishing with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
  • Michael Gbinije scored 17 points and Tyler Roberson added 12 points and 15 rebounds as Syracuse beat Virginia Tech 68-60 in overtime. The Orange have now won five of their last six games.
  • Louisiana-Lafayette won its seventh straight game, moving to 8-3 in the Sun Belt with a 72-65 overtime win over UL-Monroe. Shawn Long finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds.
  • Grayson Allen scored 27 points and grabbed seven rebounds, and Brandon Ingram chipped in 15 points, ten boards and four blocks despite an off shooting night to win at Georgia Tech 80-71. The Blue Devils were without head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who remained in Durham due to illness.
  • James Webb III scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds as Boise State held off Utah State, 70-67. The Broncos held the Aggies without a point over the final 2:49.
  • San Diego State moved to 10-0 in Mountain West play with a 69-67 win over Colorado State. Trey Kell scored 19 points and Jeremy Hemsley added 16 and five assists for the Aztecs, who host second place New Mexico (7-2) on Saturday.

NCAA steering farther and farther away from harsh penalties

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The days of postseason bans and crippling scholarship reductions to punish schools for breaking NCAA rules appear to be winding down.

Memphis was placed on three years of probation earlier this week with a public reprimand and fined for NCAA violations related to the recruitment and short college career of James Wiseman, who is about to start his third season with the Golden State Warriors. The NCAA also wrapped up an investigation of Air Force football for breaking the COVID-19 recruiting quiet period.

No postseason bans or scholarship reductions in either case. The Independent Accountability Review Panel, the NCAA’s outside arm of enforcement, said in its decision in the Memphis case that it did not want to punish current athletes.

That sentiment is widespread in college athletics these days, even with millions of dollars suddenly flowing to athletes from various sources for their celebrity endorsements amid concerns over improper inducements. In fact, it is on the way to being codified: Last month, the Division I Board of Directors adopted three proposals to change the infractions process.

The board also committed to “identifying appropriate types of penalties and modifying current penalty ranges, including identifying potential alternative penalties to postseason bans.”

Trying to predict what those alternatives will be is difficult, but if the goal is to avoid harming athletes and others who were not involved in the violations the options are limited.

“I emphatically believe it’s the wrong direction to go,” said Nebraska law professor Jo Potuto, who spent nine years on the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“If you’re going to deter, the punishment has to fit the offense, right?” Potuto added. “You’re not going to deter serious violations with penalties that are not perceived to be really serious.”

Since January 2020, there have been at least 45 major infractions cases decided by the NCAA. Of those, at least 15 involved Level I allegations, the most serious and those carrying the most severe penalties; six cases resulted in some kind of postseason ban, with four of them self-imposed.

The Memphis case went through the IARP, which was created in response to the FBI’s investigation of college basketball corruption but is now being discontinued. Sunsetting the IARP was among several recommendations put forth by the NCAA’s Division I Transformation Committee earlier this year and recently adopted by the board.

As college sports moves toward less centralized governance by the NCAA and deregulation in general, the hope is to create a more streamlined enforcement process.

If justice is swift, the thinking goes, it is more likely to be applied fairly.

“The reality is the current system is broken,” said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Jim Phillips, a member of the transformation committee. “I think everyone in the association, in the enterprise, understands it. When (an investigation) takes the amount of time that it does now and you start to penalize young men and women that were high school, if not middle school-age (when the violation occurred), it’s not an effective process.”

The IARP is still handling cases stemming from the FBI probe involving Louisville, Arizona, Kansas and LSU. Those have been in the NCAA enforcement pipeline for years. A related case against Oklahoma State did not go through IARP and the Cowboys did end up with a postseason ban.

David Ridpath, a professor at Ohio University and former compliance director for several schools, said even though the IARP failed, NCAA enforcement would be best handled by an independent organization.

“No system is perfect, but if you’re going to have an enforcement system at the end of the day you need to provide basic due-process protections and then you have to be able to consistently punish people,” he said.

In the Memphis case, Wiseman received $11,500 from Hardaway in 2017 while Hardaway was coach at a local high school. Hardaway was hired as Memphis’ coach in March 2018, and Wiseman committed to the Tigers in November 2018.

The NCAA accused Memphis of four Level I and two Level II violations, including lack of institutional control, head coach responsibility and failure to monitor. In the past, those types of allegations could strike fear into athletic directors but probation and fines seem much more likely to be the outcome now instead of the sweeping scholarship sanctions, vacated victories and postseason ban that Southern California received in 2010 for the Reggie Bush improper benefits case. Those penalties set USC football back years.

In the end, the IARP essentially reduced the charges against Memphis and cleared Hardaway of wrongdoing.

While the NCAA is losing sway in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court ruling, with more power being shifted to its member conferences, it also remains clear the schools still want the association to handle enforcement.

But what exactly is being enforced?

Athletes can now be paid for endorsement and sponsorship deals and college sports is still waiting on and hoping for help from federal lawmakers to regulate name, image and likeness compensation.

Plus, as revenue skyrockets for schools at the top of major college sports, the NCAA is trending toward fewer restrictions on what financial benefits can be provided to athletes.

“Until we have clarity and certainty on what schools and boosters and athletes can and can’t do, I think many recognize that it’s dangerous to hand down significant punishments when it’s not clear what you can and can’t do,” said Gabe Feldman, director of the sports law program at Tulane. “And I think unless you have clear rules, it’s hard to harsh punishment.”

Still, punishments directed at schools (fines) and coaches (suspensions) could become steeper and longer, Feldman said.

Potuto said with so much money flowing into the top of college athletics, it is doubtful fines could be large enough to be a true deterrent. While she understands the desire to not have current athletes pay for the sins of previous regimes, loosened transfer rules could mitigate the potential harm.

“I will make one prediction: If there is a move to impose penalties much less frequently in five years there is going to be a move to put them back in,” Potuto said.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will play its annual Blue-White men’s basketball scrimmage in Eastern Kentucky to benefit victims of the devastating summer floods.

The school announced that the Oct. 22 event at Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville will feature a pregame Fan Fest. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

Wildcat players will also participate in a community service activity with local organizations in the relief effort.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.”

The scrimmage traditionally is held at Rupp Arena. It will occur eight days after its Big Blue Madness public workout at Rupp.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies

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SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.