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No. 18 Syracuse has big 1st-half run, beats Holy Cross 90-46

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Andrew White says it’s way too early to call himself an X factor for No. 18 Syracuse. The fifth-year transfer from Nebraska may just be the difference maker, however, for a team that looks like it may be one of the nation’s elite.

White, who shot 41 percent from 3-point range a year ago, signed with the Orange the day before fall classes started. He gives the Orange a dimension they appeared to be lacking entering the season.

“I definitely think he’s a difference maker,” said fellow fifth-year transfer John Gillon. “The way he spreads the floor and how quick his release is there’s really not five people who can shoot like that in the nation.”

White scored 19 points, Tyler Lydon had 17, and Syracuse went on a 14-0 run in the first half to take control and overpower Holy Cross 90-46 on Tuesday night.

Syracuse (2-0) shot 58 percent from the field and was 13 for 25 on 3-pointers. White went 5 of 10 from beyond the arc after going 2 of 7 in the Orange’s season opener against Colgate.

“He’s a huge piece of this team,” Lydon said. “He can do a lot of great things on the court. Adding him was huge for us. Anytime you have a guy who can space the floor like that’s huge.”

White, a modest sort, preferred to let his teammates do the talking.

“I’d rather that question be answered by my teammates,” White said. “They’re the ones evaluating what my value is. I just try to come in and take care of business, take pressure off my teammates. I think that’s what I’ll do most.”

And just two games into the season, White says talk of his importance is a tad premature.

“I think we’re all critical. I think we’re all X factors. As far as me being the X factor I think it’s a little early now to be saying that. I’m just trying to come in and do my job.”

And his job is knocking down 3s, a skill in which he has supreme confidence.

“My motto is if a shoot a shot it’s supposed to go in,” he added. “That’s why I don’t get too excited when I hit a three or celebrate too much. My coaches and teammates expect the shot to go in when I attempt it.”

Coach Jim Boeheim praised White.

“He was geared up tonight. He was ready to go. He was focused in,” Boeheim said. “He’s a shooter. Obviously that’s what he does. We’re happy we have him here.”

Tyus Battle was 3 of 5 from long range, while Gillon made two while adding 15 points, nine assists and just one turnover off the bench.

Anthony Thompson had 12 points, while Robert Champion and Malachi Alexander had eight apiece for the Crusaders (0-2). The Crusaders shot just 31 percent for the game.

Asked what he would take away from the game, Holy Cross coach Bill Carmody had a succinct response: “Nothing.”

Besides their 3-point attack, the Orange tallied 18 second-chance points, had 32 inside the paint, and scored 31 points off Holy Cross turnovers. The Orange outrebounded the smaller Crusaders 39-27. At one point in the first half, Syracuse had a 16-3 advantage on the boards.

The Orange led 22-14 when they went on their 14-0 blitz to take control. The run featured four 3-pointers, two by White and one each by Frank Howard and Battle. Syracuse led 49-23 at the half.

BIG PICTURE:

Holy Cross: It’s not fair to judge Holy Cross’s outlook for the 2016-17 season based on Tuesday’s outcome, but we may know more after Friday’s matchup against UMass.

Syracuse: This is one of Jim Boeheim’s best offensive teams in years. The Orange can beat teams inside and out.

POLL IMPLICATIONS: With the nation’s top teams playing each other this week, the Orange could find themselves moving up in the rankings.

SOPHOMORE SLUMP OVER: Tyler Lydon was 0-for-8 from beyond the arc in Syracuse’s two exhibition games and 0-for-3 in the season opener but he was 2-of-3 Tuesday.

MICROWAVE: Gilllon is proving to be quite the spark off the bench for Boeheim. The transfer from Colorado State now has 28 points, 15 assists and just one turnover in two games.

NO TREY, NO WAY: Holy Cross was just of 9-of-32 from 3 for 28 percent.

UP NEXT:

Holy Cross tries for its first win of the young season when the Crusaders host UMass on Sunday.

Syracuse, a bubble team that made last year’s NCAA Tournament, hosts Monmouth, a bubble team that did not, Friday.

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

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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.