SNACKS: TCU upsets Kansas, Duke-UNC to meet in ACC semifinals

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THURSDAY’S THINGS TO KNOW

TCU blew a double-digit lead in the second half, but closed out the game on a 9-2 run to upset top-seeded Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals. Does this loss knock the Jayhawks off the top line when the bracket is revealed on Sunday? CBT’s Scott Phillips has more from this game here.

That wasn’t the only upset in Kansas City. Kansas State played like a team that knew what was at stake, opening up a double-digit lead on No. 9 Baylor before holding on for a 70-64 win. Projected as one of the last teams in the field, the Wildcats should be dancing on Sunday.

We’ll get a Duke vs. North Carolina Part III in New York on Friday after the Blue Devils knocked off No. 4 seed Louisville in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. Jayson Tatum had 25 points while Luke Kennard finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds. CBT’s Rob Dauster was there was this and has more.

After a scary incident in which their plane aborted takeoff and had a minor accident on Wednesday, Michigan spent the night in a different state, drove to D.C. for the game, wore their practice jerseys against Illinois, and still came out and beat the Illini by 20 points in the Big Ten second round. Senior Derrick Walton had 19 points and five assists. This loss also gives Illinois no chance at making the NCAA tournament as head coach John Groce awaits his fate.

Huge second half from No. 6 North Carolina as they outscored Miami by 20 in the final half for a 78-53 win in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. The Tar Heels were led by Isaiah Hicks with 19 points while Justin Jackson had 12 points. Head coach Roy Williams even felt good enough to comment on President Donald Trump following the win as CBT’s Rob Dauster was there.

Leading by one with 39 seconds to go, Xavier head coach Chris Mack ignored the advice of his staff and took a gamble. It paid off and the Musketeers punched their tickets to the NCAA Tournament by defeating Butler. CBT’s Rob Dauster was at MSG for the night session of the Big East Tournament.

STARRED

Monte Morris vs. Jawun Evans — The two All-American guards put on a fun show as the Cyclones outran the Cowboys in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals. Morris was sensational as he just missed a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as he also added two blocks and two steals. Having to do more as a scorer, Evans finished with 29 points, four assists and four rebounds.

Angel Delgado, Seton Hall — Also just missing a triple-double by one assist was Delgado as the junior big man had 12 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists in a huge Pirates win over Marquette in the Big East Tournament. It was Delgado’s 13th consecutive double-double and 26th overall this season as his passing continues to improve as the season rolls along.

Peyton Aldridge, Davidson — Going for 33 points and 10 rebounds in a win over La Salle, the junior forward showed why the Wildcats could be a dangerous team in the Atlantic 10 Tournament this week. The 6-foot-8 Aldridge was 10-for-15 from the field and 10-for-11 from the free-throw line as he’s had a very strong season.

Trevon Bluiett, Xavier — The team’s leading scorer gave Musketeers a lead for good with a turnaround elbow jumper. He ended with 23 points, four rebounds and four assists. When he’s good, Xavier is good.

J.J. Frazier, Georgia — Making several clutch plays down the stretch, Frazier helped the Bulldogs hold off Tennessee in the SEC quarterfinals. Frazier ended with 17 points and 10 assists.

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

REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Cruising to victory in the Big East Tournament was No. 2 Villanova as they rolled past St. John’s, 108-67. The Wildcats had 25 points from Donte DiVincenzo and 24 points from Kris Jenkins.
  • Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey both had good games for No. 5 Oregon as they took down Arizona State to advance in the Pac-12 Tournament. Brooks had 22 while Dorsey finished with 21 points.
  • Despite 31 points from Derrick White, No. 7 Arizona rolled past Colorado 92-78.
  • In typical fashion, No. 11 West Virginia made it difficult on the opposing offense, knocking Texas out of the Big 12 quarterfinals with a 63-53 victory. Jevon Carter led the way with 21 points, while Press Virginia forced 14 turnovers and kept the Longhorns without a field goal for the final 5:34 of regulation.
  • No. 16 Florida State took its toll on Virginia Tech, as the Seminoles advanced in the ACC Tournament with a 74-68 win. Despite not shooting well, Dwayne Bacon led all scorers with 17 points (all in the second half).
  • Bonzie Colson registered another double-double — 21 points, 10 rebounds — as No. 22 Notre Dame defeated No. 21 Virginia by double digits. The Fighting Irish’s 71 points is the second most allowed by the Cavaliers in a regulation game this season.

NOTABLE

  • Seton Hall beating Marquette shouldn’t make the Golden Eagles feel any better on Selection Sunday. Marquette should be fine to get in but this loss didn’t help. Khadeen Carrington finished with 19 points to pace the Pirates.
  • Advancing in the Big Ten Tournament was Michigan State as the Spartans scored an easy win over Penn State. The freshmen duo of Miles Bridges and Nick Ward both had 15 points each.
  • Georgia is trying to win as much as possible on the small chance they can earn an at-large bid as they beat Tennessee in the SEC Tournament second round. J.J. Frazier finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Bulldogs.
  • The No. 1 seed in the MAC Tournament, Akron, took care of business by rolling past Eastern Michigan in the quarterfinals as Isaiah Johnson had 24 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Conference USA No. 1 seed Middle Tennessee won in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament as they beat UT San Antonio. The Blue Raiders had 21 points from Reggie Upshaw.
  • Top-seeded NC Central defeated Bethune-Cookman by 35 in the MEAC quarterfinals.
  • Michigan breezed past Illinois, 75-55, in the Big Ten Tournament second round. The Wolverines, a day after an aborted takeoff, landed only hours before its scheduled 12:20 p.m. tip with the Fighting Illini. Illinois, which began the day as one of the “Next Four Out” in the most recent bracketology, saw its bubble burst.
  • Indiana sunk 12-of-20 from three en route to a 95-73 win over Iowa. The Hawkeyes were projected as one of the “Last Four In.” That won’t be the case on Selection Sunday.
  • Northwestern trailed Rutgers, 9-6, early in the Big Ten second round. Then the Wildcats went on a 31-0 run over the next 11 minutes. Guess which team won the game?
  • Providence had won six in a row — 20 for the season — and finished in third place in the Big East. However, NBC Sports bracket projection had the Friars as earning one of the last four byes. Does a 70-58 loss to Creighton in the quarterfinals make them sweat it out on Selection Sunday?
  • Jaron Martin and Luke Nelson each scored 19 as No. 1 UC Irvine advanced to the Big West semifinals.
  • No. 1 Nevada opened up a 17-point lead at halftime and didn’t look back, as the Wolf Pack moves on to the Mountain West quarterfinals.
  • Corey Baldwin’s first career double-double led No. 1 North Dakota to a 95-72 win over Portland State in the Big Sky quarterfinals.
  • The American Athletic Conference began on Thursday, with East Carolina, UConn and Tulsa advancing to the quarterfinals.
  • No. 1 CSU Bakersfield has its first postseason opponent: Utah Valley, who defeated Seattle in the WAC quarterfinals.

ACC coaches back idea of all D-I teams in 2021 NCAA tourney

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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RALEIGH, N.C. — Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball coaches are pushing the idea of having next year’s NCAA Tournament include all eligible teams in Division I.

Numerous league schools and coaches released statements Wednesday after the coaches held their weekly call to discuss the proposal, which was first reported by Stadium. There are 357 Division I programs in the country, with NCAA spokeswoman Meghan Durham saying 346 of those are eligible to play in next year’s tournament.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett said the ACC coaches are “united in strongly pursuing this” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that led to the cancellation of last year’s NCAA Tournament days before the field of 68 was set to be revealed. Multiple coaches said creating an everybody-gets-in format would be an incentive for schools as they create the safest conditions possible for returning to play.

“This is not a regular season,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “It is clearly an irregular season that will require something different. Our sport needs to be agile and creative. Most importantly, an all-inclusive postseason tournament will allow a unique and unprecedented opportunity for every team and every student-athlete to compete for a national championship.”

Durham declined comment specifically on the proposal in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday. Last month, NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said the Division I oversight committees for men’s and women’s basketball planned to announce by mid-September plans for whether the season and preseason practice would start on time or require a delay due to the pandemic.

Louisville coach Chris Mack said the proposal would provide flexibility during the season without mandating a number of nonconference or conference games to be played. And the league has already experienced that scheduling challenge with football and other fall sports.

The ACC announced in July that it would have each football team play 10 league games – including the addition of Notre Dame as a football member this year – and one nonconference game to be played in the home state of the member school. Those schedules were released in early August, slightly more than a month before Thursday’s UAB-Miami game kicks off the season.

“This is a time to think differently,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said, adding: “After all these players have been through, what better way to reward them than the opportunity to compete in an unprecedented version of the most exciting event in sports.”

College basketball floats idea of bubbles for safe season

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The NBA bubble has held. So has the NHL’s double bubble. The WNBA and MLS, no leaks.

In this unprecedented landscape of sports in a pandemic world, one indisputable fact has emerged: bubbles work.

Thousands of tests, minimal to no positive COVID-19 test results.

So as the NCAA gets set announce its plans for the 2020-21 college basketball season, there are clear precedents and blueprints in place should it decide to go the bubble route.

“It’s certainly viable,” said Mark Starsiak, vice president of sports at Intersport, a Chicago-based sports marketing and media agency, “From a basketball standpoint, I think we can follow those models.”

The college football restart has been scattershot. The season has already started, yet 53 FBS schools have the pads and helmets hanging on hooks while waiting for better pandemic news.

A much more unified plan is in place for the college basketball season.

The NCAA is hoping to start the season in late November/early December, with a vote by the Division I council expected Sept. 16.

A partnership between the Pac-12 and Quidel Corp. to potentially do daily, rapid COVID-19 tests on athletes should help smooth a return to the court.

The question then becomes: What’s the best way to safely play basketball again?

Bubbles may be the answer.

While bubble football would be next to impossible logistically, basketball could fit nicely.

The travel parties are much smaller and college basketball already has plenty of multiple-team events, from holiday and conference tournaments to the NCAA Tournament. Add the effective safety measures of the pro leagues, find suitable sites and bubble basketball could work.

The NCAA is already looking at it, reportedly filing a trademark for the phrase “Battle in the Bubble.” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont also said there have been preliminary talks for bubble basketball at the Mohegan Sun resort.

“The idea of a bubble would be a really good idea, just to isolate all the teams who want to play against each other in that bubble and keep things safe, keep away from the public and keep us in our own area where we’re able to play the game the right way and safely,” Duke sophomore forward Wendell Moore, Jr. said.

A big key will be finding the right places to bubble.

The NBA has the ideal setup at Disney World, but college basketball might be better suited to follow the NHL’s lead.

Hockey’s two bubbles – Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta – cordoned off areas enclosing the arena and several nearby hotels. All personnel entering are tested and strict protocols are in place for vendors delivering food and packages into the bubbles.

Similar bubbles for college basketball could be set up at smaller resorts, cities with arenas and hotels nearby, or Division II or III schools with arenas not being used during the pandemic.

The NCAA could set up pods of multiple nonconference teams, conference tournaments could be held in similar fashion and so could the NCAA Tournament.

In other words, basketball bubbles could pop up all over the country.

“Maybe do it for maybe a week or two at a time, playing a certain amount of games and getting retested after you come back or something like that,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said. “It’s possible, but it’s not going to be easy.”

Pulling off a college basketball bubble, however, comes with a caveat.

NCAA players are considered students, so academics would have to be part of the equation.

Division I players are already accustomed to doing school work on the road and the majority take primarily online classes. To make the bubbles work, socially distant space would have to be carved out for the players to take their classes and study.

The programs may also have to rethink the size of their traveling parties.

“Discussions about the right amount of tutors or academic staff would need to take place,” said Starsiak, who has operated high-level sports and entertainment events for 15 years. ”

You have to look at, do we need three managers this time around? No, probably not. Do you take two and have a tutor or an academic come with us? Yeah, I think you could. I think there’s a way to kind of combine both things to have some live, in-person resources.”

The NCAA is going to do everything possible to have a basketball season.

The pandemic wiped out the NCAA Tournament last spring and the NCAA collected $270 million in cancellation insurance instead of the $1 billion TV payout it normally gets. A second straight year without March Madness could be devastating.

Bubbles may be the way to go.

‘Father of the Final Four’ Tom Jernestedt dies at 75

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INDIANAPOLIS — Tom Jernstedt, a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame for his contributions to college basketball and the NCAA Tournament, has died. He was 75.

The NCAA said Sunday Jernstedt died this weekend.

Nicknamed “Father of the Final Four,” Jernstedt has widely been credited with transforming the NCAA Tournament into the billion-dollar March Madness it has become today.

“A decade after his departure from the NCAA, Tom Jernstedt’s fingertips remain visible during March Madness and the Final Four,” NCAA senior vice president Dan Gavitt said in a statement. “His innovation and superb ability to develop relationships turned a basketball tournament into a three-week phenomenon that became a global event.”

A former back-up quarterback, Jernstedt worked his first Final Four in 1973 and helped push the growth of the NCAA Tournament from 25 teams to the 68, anything-can-happen bonanza held every spring.

Jernstedt helped the NCAA increase its television contract from just over $1 million to more than $10 billion when he left in 2011. He served as president of USA Basketball, was a member of the College Football Selection committee and was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2017.

“Tom Jernstedt was a humble and unsung steward of the game,” John L. Doleva, president and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, said in a statement. “Under his direction, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament grew into a phenomenon that brings college basketball fans together on a global scale. He will forever be remembered as the Father of the Final Four and one of the most respected leaders in basketball.”

Jernstedt established himself as a team leader despite being a backup quarterback at Oregon from 1964-66 and went on to serve as the Ducks’ events manager. He joined the NCAA in 1972 and spent 38 years with the organization.

“Tom served as a friend and mentor to countless people in and around collegiate athletics, and I’m proud to be among that vast group of people,” Gavitt said. “His legacy within the NCAA and its membership, and his impact on the sport of college basketball, is eternal. We extend our deepest condolences to Tom’s family.”

Aztecs extend Brian Dutcher’s contract 3 years through 2026

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — San Diego State basketball coach Brian Dutcher has signed a three-year contract extension through the 2025-26 season.

Dutcher signed the deal following one of the most successful seasons in school history. The Aztecs went 30-2, won the Mountain West regular-season title and were expected to be a No. 1 or 2 seed before the NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. They opened the season 26-0 and were the nation’s last undefeated team.

“Having spent more than 20 years at San Diego State University I understand what a special place this is,” Dutcher said in a statement Friday. “I am humbled and honored to continue to represent SDSU and Aztec Basketball as its head coach.”

Dutcher is 73-26 in three seasons, the most victories by an Aztecs coach in his first three seasons. He spent 18 seasons as Steve Fisher’s top assistant, including six as associate head coach/head coach in waiting. He took over as head coach after Fisher retired following the 2016-17 season. The Aztecs reached the NCAA Tournament in his first season.

Before that, he spent 10 seasons with Fisher at Michigan. In Dutcher’s first season with the Wolverines, Fisher was promoted to interim head coach on the eve of the NCAA Tournament and won the national championship.

Indiana halts all voluntary workouts

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Indiana has halted all voluntary workouts indefinitely for its men’s basketball, field hockey, men’s soccer and wrestling teams after 14 participants tested positive for the coronavirus this week.

The Hoosiers did not identify which teams recorded the positive tests. The football team, like other Big Ten programs, is not playing this fall. Indiana said 63 positives have been reported from more than 1,400 tests of athletes, coaches and staff since June 8.

“Our athletic program is following strict protocols during these unprecedented times and we strongly support our medical staff as we try and mitigate this issue,” men’s basketball coach Archie Miller said.