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SATURDAY’S SNACKS: Six top ten teams lose in a wild day

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SATURDAY’S THINGS TO KNOW

Things got wild in the Big 12 on Saturday as the top three teams in the conference leaders all lost at home to unranked, bubble-bound teams.

It started when Iowa State earned one of the most important wins of the season by beating No. 3 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse. The Cyclones snapped the Jayhawks’ 54-game winning streak. I have more on this one here.

After Kansas fell, No. 2 Baylor had a chance to make a move in the Big 12 standings but they lost that opportunity by losing at home to Kansas State. The Wildcats nearly blew a 15-point halftime lead by held on as Kamau Stokes had 15 points. Rob Dauster has more on why this win is so important for Kansas State.

Then to cap it all off, No. 7 West Virginia lost at home to Oklahoma State, 82-75. It is the fifth straight win for the Cowboys, who have played their way off the bubble and into the NCAA tournament.

The afternoon started with an important game in the Big Ten as No. 23 Purdue traveled to No. 17 Maryland. Sophomore Caleb Swanigan had a solid outing and overcame some poor play from Purdue’s other interior options as the Boilers earned a huge road win. I have more on why this one was critical to the rest of Purdue’s season.

The biggest statement of the day was made by No. 13 Oregon, who pounded No. 5 Arizona into submission with an 85-58 win.

Speaking of statements, No. 24 Florida landed their first marquee win of the season as No. 8 Kentucky came to town and caught a backhand from the Gators. It was the best performance of Kasey Hill’s college career.

Keeping with the theme of unranked teams beating ranked teams on the road, Xavier pulled off a win at No. 22 Creighton without Edmond Sumner as the Musketeers had a balanced effort. I have more on why this one helps Xavier so much.

It was also a big afternoon for Syracuse as the Orange beat No. 9 Virginia and head coach Jim Boeheim coached in his 1,000th win with the program (although the NCAA vacated 101 wins, leaving him officially at 899 wins). CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on why this one mattered so much for the Orange and Boeheim and what it means for Syracuse’s NCAA tournament outlook.

Coach K returned to the sidelines for No. 21 Duke as they took down Pitt for a home ACC win. Junior Grayson Allen had 21 points to lead the Blue Devils and CBT’s Rob Dauster has more on the lineup changes that Duke could be using the rest of the season.

STARRED

Jaaron Simmons, Ohio: Facing Akron, the MAC’s only unbeaten team in conference play, the junior guard had a monster outing as Simmons finished with 38 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in an Ohio win. Simmons went 10-for-16 from the field and he was perfect from the three-point line (5-for-5) and 13-for-16 from the free-throw line.

Angel Delgado, Seton Hall: Maybe the best big man nobody in college basketball is talking about, Delgado had 26 points and 17 rebounds in an overtime road win over Georgetown. The Pirates are fighting to stay in the NCAA tournament picture and Delgado is putting up 15.4 points and 14.7 rebounds per game in 10 Big East games. He’s playing at an All-American level.

Keon Johnson, Winthrop: If Winthrop makes the NCAA tournament, don’t forget about this guy. Johnson went for 39 points in a win over Campbell. The Big South leaders have come to expect big performances like this from Johnson as this tops his previous season high of 38 in a win over Illinois.

RELATED: Get caught up on all of today’s bubble action

REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Gonzaga remained undefeated, although their streak of 267 minutes without trailing came to an end in the first half.
  • Easy win for No. 6 Louisville as they ran past Boston College for an ACC road win. Deng Adel and Donovan Mitchell both finished with 19 points each.
  • No. 11 UCLA avoided getting upset by Washington.
  • No. 14 Cincinnati handled UConn without much trouble behind 27 points from Kyle Washington.
  • San Diego scored nine first half points and 27 total points as they got mollywhopped by No. 18 Saint Mary’s.
  • Tight win for No. 19 South Carolina over Georgia to stay among the SEC’s elite as P.J. Dozier had 21 points and Sindarius Thornwell had 18.

NOTABLE

  • In the ACC, Miami earned a solid road win at N.C. State as Davon Reed had 26 points. Freshman Dennis Smith Jr. had 31 points and nine assists in the loss for the Wolfpack.
  • Staying in the ACC, Wake Forest pulled off a home win over Georgia Tech as big man John Collins had 20 points and 11 rebounds.
  • TCU earned a Big 12 home win over Texas to keep its NCAA tournament credibility intact. The Horned Frogs had 18 points from Vladimir Brodziansky.
  • The Horizon League race got interesting with Green Bay beating Valparaiso by double digits at home. Kareem Kanter had 17 points and nine rebounds as the win snapped the Crusaders’ eight-game win streak. One game separates first-place Valpo and Green Bay in the conference now.

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

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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.