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SATURDAY’S SNACKS: Kentucky, Purdue, Butler all land critical wins

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 6 Kentucky 103, No. 7 North Carolina 100

It might end up being the game of the year. There are a lot of things to note here, the most important of which is that Malik Monk had 47 points on 28 shots. You can watch all of those 47 points here. The five most important takeaways from that game can be found right here.

WIN OF THE DAY: Bob Huggins picked up career win No. 800 as No. 12 West Virginia ran away with a 112-67 win over UMKC. Seven Mountaineers finished in double-figures as they forced 24 turnovers. NBC’s Rob Dauster and Raphielle Johnson have more on how Huggins reached 800 wins by changing his philosophy.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

No. 15 Purdue 86, No. 21 Notre Dame 81: Quality comeback win for the Boilermakers as they were down 14 points at the half. I have more on what Purdue did to make its comeback on the Irish.

No. 18 Butler 83, No. 9 Indiana 78: The Bulldogs got 28 points from Kelan Martin in a statement win over Indiana. We wrote all about that game here.

No. 19 Arizona 67, Texas A&M 63: The Aggies tried to act like it was last year’s NCAA tournament against Northern Iowa, but it was too little too late. Arizona was able to withstand an 18-0 Texas A&M run that made this a two-point game with under 30 seconds left. Arizona looked good for 35 minutes as their defense looked impressive at times. Dusan Ristic led four Wildcats in double-figures with 18 points.

No. 17 Xavier 69, Wake Forest 65: The Musketeers picked up another Skip Prosser Classic win thanks to 20 points from Trevon Bluiett and 17 points from Edmond Sumner. This Xavier team badly needs Myles Davis back, but it’s still unclear when he will be back from his indefinite suspension.

Georgetown 78, Syracuse 71: After the transfer of former highly-touted recruit Isaac Copeland this week, Georgetown responded with a huge win at Syracuse. The Hoyas have five straight wins since their disastrous ending in Maui as L.J. Peak had 23 points and 11 rebounds. Syracuse finally got the first-round-pick Tyler Lydon we’ve heard so much about as he went for 29 points and nine rebounds in a losing effort. This was Syracuse’s last chance for a semi-decent win in non-conference play (you don’t count, St. John’s) so this was not a great loss.

STARRED

Malik Monk, Kentucky: Enough said.

B.J. Johnson, LaSalle: The guard poured in 35 points on 10-for-16 shooting in a home win over Florida Gulf Coast. Johnson was also 12-for-14 from the free-throw line and added four steals on the day.

Yante Maten, Georgia: Is there a more underrated player in the country than Maten? He finished with 30 points in a win over Charleston Southern today.

Mike Daum, South Dakota State: Daum had a career-high 39 points, including 10 in overtime, as SDSU knocked off Murray State.

Naz Long, Iowa State: Long had 37 points, six boards and five assists, hitting 8-for-12 from three, as the Cyclones knocked off Drake.

STRUGGLED

Steve Vasturia, Notre Dame: The senior had a day to forget as he was 1-for-8 from the field for only three points in a loss to No. 15 Purdue in the Crossroads Classic. Vasturia fouled out and also had three turnovers.

Creighton: The No. 10 Bluejays barely hung on to beat Oral Roberts 66-65 on Saturday. ORU is now 2-10 and ranked 274th in KenPom. This was one to forget.

Wichita State: The Shockers, playing at home in a game they really needed to secure a chance at getting an at-large bid, got smacked around by Oklahoma State, 93-76. In other news, this is a really solid win for a Cowboys team that appears to be better than anyone realized.

TOP 25

  • It wasn’t even an ‘A’ game for No. 2 UCLA and its high-powered offense but they still won over Ohio State. Bryce Alford and Aaron Holiday both had 20 points while Lonzo Ball had eight points, nine assists and nine rebounds.
  • No. 4 Baylor cruised to a 25-point win over Jackson State.
  • Easy win for No. 11 Louisville as they raced past Eastern Kentucky for a home win. The Cardinals holding the Colonials to 16 first-half points is impressive. Donovan Mitchell led with 15 points.
  • Devon Hall and Kyle Guy both had 13 points to lead No. 13 Virginia past Robert Morris.
  • It didn’t come easy for No. 16 South Carolina but they pulled away for a road win at South Florida. The Gamecocks trailed at six at the half as they once again played without senior Sindarius Thornwell. P.J. Dozier had 23 points as South Carolina outscored the Bulls by 17 in the second half.
  • Dwayne Bacon had 16 points to lead No. 23 Florida State to a home win over Manhattan. Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Trent Forrest each had 10 points for the Seminoles.
  • Reaching triple digits was No. 25 Cincinnati as they had a big win over Fairleigh Dickinson. Kevin Johnson paced the Bearcats with 18 points while Jacob Evans added 17 points.

NOTABLE

  • The chances of Northwestern getting to the NCAA tournament got better today as they beat Dayton, 67-64. Northwestern was up 23 points at halftime and managed to hold on for the win.
  • Texas Tech won its only non-Big 12 road game on the season with a victory at Richmond. The Red Raiders had 17 points and 10 rebounds from forward Zach Smith. Sitting at No. 27 in Kenpom entering the day, a true road win at a top-150 team won’t hurt Texas Tech.
  • Nice overtime road win for Memphis over Oklahoma as they rallied from a halftime deficit after dealing with an injury to senior center Chad Rykhoek. Dedric Lawson had 26 points, 12 rebounds and four assists while K.J. Lawson added 19 points and 13 rebounds.

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

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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.

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.