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LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Villanova tops Purdue; UConn upset at home again

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 3 Villanova 79, No. 15 Purdue 76

The defending champions faced the first real road test of any top 25 team this season and came out with an important win. Senior Josh Hart was outstanding for the Wildcats as this was a fun game with a great atmosphere.

NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster has more on this one here.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

Northeastern 64, UConn 61: Uh oh. UConn wasn’t supposed to start 0-2 with home losses to Wagner and Northeastern. Especially after being ranking in the preseason top 25. Guard T.J. Williams led the (winning) Huskies with 20 points. UConn struggled to 5-for-21 three-point shooting as Terry Larrier had 17 points. Kevin Ollie’s team needs to turn things around quickly.

New Hampshire 57, Temple 52: Rough night for The American as this is a tough early loss for Temple. New Hampshire is one of the better teams in the America East, but this is a bad loss for postseason purposes. Sophomore forward David Watkins had 15 points to lead New Hampshire. Obi Enechionyia led the Owls with 20 in the loss.

Furman 84, UAB 74: The Blazers are trying to do everything they can to get back in the NCAA tournament and non-conference losses like this one aren’t a good look. Guard Daniel Fowler had 23 points to lead Furman as UAB shot 39 percent from the field.

STARRED

Tim Williams, New Mexico: Monster outing from the forward as he scored 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while going 10-for-11 from the field and 11-for-12 from the free-throw line. The Lobos cruised past Houston Baptist at home as it was Williams’ second double-double in as many outings.

Dallas Moore, North Florida: So the Ospreys were playing a non-Division I opponent in Edward Waters on Monday but the senior point guard still went bananas. Moore had 37 points, five assists and five rebounds — with no turnovers — in only 24 minutes.

Sebastian Saez, Ole Miss: Solid early home win for Ole Miss over UMass as the senior forward finished with 22 points and 19 rebounds. Saiz was 14-for-18 from the free-throw line. After only playing 17 minutes and fouling out in a win over UT Martin, this was a breakout game for Saez this season.

Phil Forte and Jawun Evans, Oklahoma State: The backcourt duo combined for 54 points on 16-for-25 shooting and 11 assists and nine rebounds. Forte poured in 31 points and went 4-for-10 from three-point range.

K.J. Lawson, Memphis: The sophomore had a monster outing in a win over UTRGV as he finished with 25 points, eight rebounds, four assists and zero turnovers. Lawson was 8-for-10 from the field and 3-for-3 from the three-point line in a very efficient outing. Brother Dedric Lawson finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds.

Reggie Agbeko, Saint Louis: Finishing with 18 points and 14 rebounds on 5-for-5 shooting, the senior forward was 8-for-11 from the free-throw line in a win over Southern Utah.

TOP 25

  • No. 11 Xavier was a big winner at home over Buffalo as the Musketeers had 18 points from guard J.P. Macura.
  • A balanced effort led No. 12 Louisville to an easy win over William & Mary. Freshman V.J. King finished with 17 points while Deng Adel added 16 points.
  • Nathan Adrian had a double-double of 15 points and 14 rebounds to help pace No. 19 West Virginia to a blowout over Mississippi Valley State.
  • Monte Morris had 18 points and Deonte Burton had 10 points and 13 rebounds as No. 20 Iowa State had a win over Mount St. Mary’s.
  • No. 21 Rhode Island was a big winner over Marist as E.C. Matthews looked like his old self. Matthews went 8-for-10 from the field and finished with 22 points and five rebounds.
  • Tevin Mack led No. 23 Texas to a home win over Louisiana Monroe as the Longhorns moved to 2-0.
  • No. 24 Cincinnati survived a slow and ugly first half with a home win over Albany. Jacob Evans finished with 19 points while big man Kyle Washington added 13 points.

NOTABLES

  • Jae’Sean Tate’s double-double helped give Ohio State the win over North Carolina Central. Tate finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
  • St. John’s cruised to a win over Binghamton as guard Marcus Lovett had 23 points and Shamorie Ponds had 21 points. The duo combined to go 9-for-17 from three-point range as Ponds added 10 rebounds.
  • Northwestern forward Vic Law finished with 26 points as the Wildcats won against Eastern Washington.
  • Marquette had 14 points from Jajuan Johnson and Katin Reinhardt as they beat Howard.
  • Texas A&M had 17 points from sophomore big man Tyler Davis in a home win over American.
  • Arkansas had 19 points from guard Dusty Hannahs as the Razorbacks crushed Southern Illinois at home.
  • Auburn won over Georgia State as freshman Jared Harper and Danjel Purifoy both had 19 points.
  • Michael Young and Cameron Johnson both finished with 18 points as Pitt ran past Gardner-Webb.
  • Derrick White had 15 points to lead Colorado to a home win over Seattle.
  • Providence picked up 22 points from Emmitt Holt as they ran past Vermont.
  • Georgia relied on Yante Maten (19 points) and J.J. Frazier (18 points) to lead them to a win over UNC Asheville.
  • Minnesota has six players finish in double-figures in a win over UT-Arlington as Reggie Lynch led with 14 points.
  • TCU easily ran by Alabama State for a home win as Desmond Bane paced the Horned Frogs with 19 points.
  • Georgia Tech was an easy winner over Southern as Tadric Jackson led the way with 20 points.
  • Matt Williams led five UCF double-figure scorers with 20 points as they beat Nicholls State.
  • East Carolina picked up a win over North Carolina A&T as guards Caleb White and B.J. Tyson both finished with 13 points.
  • Tulane picked up a win over Southeastern Louisiana as sophomore guard Kain Harris had 19 points.
  • Saint Joseph’s earned a win over Columbia as Lamarr Kimball paced the Hawks with 19 points.
  • Old Dominion picked up a nice road win over Richmond as Ahmad Caver led the Monarchs with 13 points.
  • All-American candidate Alec Peters had 20 points and eight rebounds as Valparaiso knocked off Coppin State. The Crusaders were led by Shane Hammink with 23 points.

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.