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LATE NIGHT SNACKS: No. 2 Michigan State, No. 7 Miami roll on the road

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: St. Bonaventure 98, Saint Joseph’s 90

This was a big game for both teams, but especially for the Bonnies as they still have work to do if they’re to lock up an NCAA tournament bid. Marcus Posley made sure Mark Schmidt’s team picked up the quality win, as he scored a career-high 47 points on 15-for-19 shooting from the field. Dion Wright added 22 points and six rebounds for the Bonnies, while Shavar Newkirk and Isaiah Miles led a balanced effort for the Hawks with 19 points apiece. The two teams combined to score 119 points in the second half.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 7 Miami 68, Notre Dame 50: The Hurricanes and Fighting Irish are headed in opposite directions at this point. Miami jumped out to a 21-3 lead, and while Notre Dame made a couple runs to trim the margin to single digits the hole was too deep to climb out of. Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan combined to score 36 points, with Rodriguez also dishing out five assists, and Tonye Jekiri added 14 along with nine rebounds. Miami, which has won eight of its last nine games, can still win the ACC outright. As for Notre Dame, they’ve lost three of their last four.

Butler 85, Seton Hall 78: The Bulldogs completed a season sweep of the Pirates, picking up a much-needed win as they look to earn an NCAA tournament berth. Kellen Dunham scored 22 points and Roosevelt Jones added 20 along with five rebounds and five assists to lead the way for Butler, which shot 51 percent from the field. Isaiah Whitehead scored a game-high 27 for the Pirates, but he did so on 9-for-23 shooting from the field.

No. 9 Oregon 76, UCLA 68: Dillon Brooks hit a dagger of a three in the final minute to seal the win for the Ducks, who clinched at least a share of the Pac-12 title and the top seed in next week’s Pac-12 tournament. Brooks finished with 15 points and freshman Tyler Dorsey scored 20 points to lead the way for the Ducks. Isaac Hamilton scored 19 points and Tony Parker added 18 for the Bruins, who are now locked into the ten-seed.

Wednesday’s Bubble Banter

STARRED

Marcus Posley, St. Bonaventure: Posley was incredible in the Bonnies’ critical 98-90 win over Saint Joseph’s. 15-for-19 from the field (6-for-7 3PT) and 11-for-12 from the foul line, scoring 47 points.

Andrew Andrews, Washington: Andrews scored 47 points, collected six rebounds and dished out four assists in the Huskies’ 99-91 home win over Washington State.

Bryn Forbes, Michigan State: Forbes set a Big Ten record with 11 three-pointers in the Spartans’ blowout victory at Rutgers.

Chris Horton, Austin Peay: 37 points and 21 rebounds in the Governors’ OVC tournament win over Tennessee Tech.

Stefan Moody, Ole Miss: Moody scored 43 points (11-for-24 FG) and dished out six assists in the Rebels’ 86-78 win over Mississippi State.

STRUGGLED

Demetrius Jackson and V.J. Beachem, Notre Dame: Jackson and Beachem combined to score 12 points, shooting 5-for-20 from the field in a 68-50 home loss to No. 7 Miami.

Ahmad Gilbert, Minnesota: Gilbert scored two points, shooting 1-for-8 from the field, as the shorthanded Golden Gophers lost to Wisconsin.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 2 Michigan State has now won nine of its last ten games, as they whipped Rutgers 97-66 in Piscataway. Bryn Forbes, as mentioned above, set a Big Ten record with 11 made three-pointers on the night. Eron Harris scored 15 points, Denzel Valentine finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Matt Costello added ten points and 15 boards.
  • No. 10 West Virginia rolled to a 90-68 home win over Texas Tech, locking up no worse than the three-seed in next week’s Big 12 tournament. Daxter Miles and Jaysean Paige scored 15 points apiece for the Mountaineers, who forced 18 Texas Tech turnovers on the night. With the loss Texas Tech is locked into the seven-seed next week, meaning that they’ll have to play Wednesday night.

OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS

  • Albany’s quest for a fourth straight America East tournament title came to an end Wednesday night, as they lost to seven-seed Hartford 68-59 in an America East quarterfinal. Next up for the Hawks is top seed Stony Brook, which pulled away late to beat UMBC 86-76. Three-seed Vermont will host four-seed New Hampshire in the other semifinal Monday.
  • In the Northeast quarterfinals six-seed LIU Brooklyn eliminated three-seed Sacred Heart, 84-76. Also advancing to Sunday’s semifinals were one-seed Wagner, two-seed Fairleigh Dickinson and five-seed Mount St. Mary’s. Wagner will host LIU Brooklyn in one semi, with Mount St. Mary’s visiting FDU in the other.
  • VCU clinched at least a share of the Atlantic 10 regular season title with a 70-60 win over Davidson. Mo Alie-Cox and Melvin Johnson led the way for the Rams, with Alie-Cox finishing with 18 points, nine rebounds and four blocks and Johnson adding 16, five rebounds and four assists.
  • Austin Peay advanced to the quarterfinals of the OVC tournament with a 92-72 win over Tennessee Tech. Also advancing was Murray State, which beat Eastern Illinois 78-62.
  • Just three days removed from their home win over Duke, Pittsburgh did themselves no favors with a 65-61 loss at Virginia Tech. Zach LeDay led the Hokies with 20 points and ten rebounds.
  • Providence picked up a second straight victory, holding off Creighton by the final score of 70-66. Ben Bentil finished with 27 points and ten rebounds, and Kris Dunn added 17, six boards and six assists for the Friars.
  • Alabama suffered a damaging loss, as they fell 62-61 at home to Arkansas. The Razorbacks went to a box-and-1 to slow down Retin Obasohan down the stretch, and the move worked out well for Mike Anderson’s team. Obasohan finished with 32 points, but no other Alabama player scored more than ten.
  • Wisconsin continued its roll with a 62-49 win at Minnesota. Bronson Koenig accounted for 14 points and six assists with Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes adding 12 apiece for the Badgers, who have won 11 of their last 12 games.
  • Boston College is one loss away from going winless in ACC play, as they lost 73-72 at NC State on a Maverick Rowan layup as time expired. The Eagles also went winless in ACC play in football last season.
  • A Justin Bibbins coast-to-coast drive and finish gave Long Beach State a 75-73 win at Cal-State Fullerton. Nick Faust finished the game with 30 points and eight rebounds for the 49ers.
  • USC snapped a stretch of five losses in six games with an 81-70 win over Oregon State. The Beavers played without freshman Tres Tinkle, who injured his foot in practice Tuesday.

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

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

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
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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.