AP Photo/Gerry Broome

No. 5 North Carolina rolls past Long Beach State 93-67

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina keeps sharing the ball and putting up big numbers, proving the fifth-ranked Tar Heels still have plenty of offensive punch despite losing a lot of production from last year.

Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams is more focused on getting more consistency from his team on the defensive end, and maybe a little more attention to detail, too.

Joel Berry II scored 23 points and UNC shot 53 percent to beat Long Beach State 93-67 on Tuesday night for a third straight lopsided win to open the season.

Kennedy Meeks added 15 points for the Tar Heels (3-0), who scored the game’s first 14 points and led by 23 points by halftime. That dominating start was enough to erase any doubt about the outcome, though Williams was aggravated enough at one sloppy second-half stretch that he angrily punched a clipboard to the court during a timeout.

“That first 10 minutes of the second half … that was about as bad offensively as I’ve seen us in 31 practices and three games and one exhibition,” Williams said, adding he also wants more from his team defensively.

Still, that stretch was little more than a blip, the kind of moment that will give Williams something to focus on in coming practices. The Tar Heels – who shot 59 percent in the opening half – never let the 49ers closer than 16 after halftime.

Gabe Levin scored 17 points for Long Beach State (1-2), who never recovered from an awful start that included making 8 of 31 shots (26 percent) in the first half. The 49ers finished at 36 percent and missed 20 of 26 3-pointers.

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to come out here and play a little better early,” Long Beach State coach Dan Monson said.

BIG PICTURE

Long Beach State: This game came roughly 48 hours after a loss at Wichita State as part of a demanding opening stretch that includes a stop at No. 12 Louisville on Thursday as well as visits to UCLA, Washington and Kansas before the end of November. So far, at least, Long Beach State is struggling to keep up, losing the past two games by a combined 63 points.

“This game will help us get better,” Monson said. “Hopefully Thursday will too.”

UNC: Williams’ angst aside, the Tar Heels’ offense has gotten off to a quick start. They had 20 assists on 32 baskets after assisting on 72 percent of their made shots through the first two games. They have also scored at least 93 points in all three games – so far, so good for an offense with new people inheriting key roles from last year’s NCAA finalist.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

UNC’s three wins have come by an average of nearly 29 points per game, part of the reason the Tar Heels climbed one spot in this week’s AP Top 25 poll.

BERRY’S START

Berry is off to a fast start in his development as UNC’s No. 1 threat. He matched his career-high scoring total set in the opening win against Tulane to go with six rebounds, four assists and one turnover in 21 minutes.

The junior is shooting 60 percent from the floor so far this season.

“I’m just taking open shots,” Berry said. “I’m not trying to force anything, not trying to play outside of my game and trying to do what I have to do to help this team.”

THEY SAID IT

“A lot of curse words, just telling us to get our stuff together because we were playing bad.” – Meeks on Williams’ angry timeout message.

UP NEXT

Long Beach State: The 49ers continue their nationwide trek at No. 12 Louisville.

UNC: The Tar Heels head west for an extended trip, first to play Hawaii on Friday before beginning play in the Maui Invitational over the Thanksgiving holiday.

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More AP college basketball at http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/APTop-25

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

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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.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.