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Controversial Flagrant 1 foul helps No. 8 seed Arkansas past No. 9 seed Seton Hall

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Turnovers and a late Flagrant 1 foul played a huge factor in the end as No. 8 seed Arkansas outlasted No. 9 seed Seton Hall, 77-71, on Friday afternoon during a first-round game in the South Region.

In a back-and-forth game in the final minutes, the Pirates committed two timely turnovers among 15 for the game as the Razorbacks capitalized with baskets off of both of them.

But the story of the game is a controversial Flagrant 1 foul called on Seton Hall’s Desi Rodriguez with 18 seconds left. With Seton Hall trailing by a point with under 30 seconds left, Rodriguez was attempting to quickly foul Arkansas’ Jaylen Barford to extend the game and send him to the free-throw line. Barford tripped over the foot of Rodriguez and tumbled to the floor as a foul was whistled, but the trip appeared to be incidental contact and not an intentional act by Rodriguez.

Referees went to the monitors and ruled it a Flagrant 1 on Rodriguez as Barford canned both free throws to make it a three-point Arkansas lead with 18 seconds left. After another Seton Hall foul, the Razorbacks split a pair of free throws to score three points on the trip to make it a two-possession game.

Here’s the Flagrant 1 that changed the course of the game.

The call on Rodriguez was later clarified during the NCAA Tournament studio show by NCAA National Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officiating J.D. Collins as he explained the reasons the officials would make the Flagrant 1 call.

While Seton Hall has plenty to complain about with regards to this controversial call, they also have themselves to blame for turnovers in untimely situations. Khadeen Carrington had back-to-back turnovers that ended up being costly for Seton Hall in the final minute and their offense also sputtered for a long period of time down the stretch.

Seton Hall had plenty of chances to put away Arkansas but they could never put it out of reach. But the Flagrant 1 call also didn’t even give the Pirates a chance to tie when they deserved at least that much of a chance. This was a one-possession game for over five minutes until that Flagrant 1 possession pushed it to a four-point Arkansas lead.

The Pirates did plenty to squander opportunities down the stretch but Arkansas also deserves credit for a strong game.

Moses Kingsley had a huge day inside for the Razorbacks (26-9) as the senior big man had 23 points and six rebounds while Barford (20 points) had a key steal on Carrington and his go-ahead bucket with under a minute left was a huge play.

Dusty Hannahs also added 14 points for Arkansas while Dustin Thomas finished with 13 points.

Seton Hall (21-12) had a lot of momentum in the second half with an 18-5 run over a four-minute span but they squandered an eight-point lead. Carrington finished with 22 points while big man Angel Delgado added another double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Madison Jones scored 11 points for the Pirates while Myles Powell and Rodriguez each added 10 points for the Pirates.

Arkansas advances to face the winner of No. 1 seed North Carolina and No. 16 seed Texas Southern on Sunday in the second round.

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

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.