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Who are the candidates to replace Chris Holtmann at Butler?

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On Friday morning, Ohio State finally landed their guy.

Butler head coach Chris Holtmann agreed to an eight-year deal worth nearly $25 million to replace Thad Matta as the head coach of the Buckeyes.

Now, Bulldog athletic director Barry Collier finds himself in a tough spot. We’re just five weeks away from the start of the July live period and he is without a head coach, which is the third time in the last four years that he’s found himself forced to making a coaching decision in an awkward time in the college basketball calendar. In 2013, Collier hired Brandon Miller in July after Brad Stevens accepted the Boston Celtics job. A year later, in October, Collier, a former Butler coach himself, hired Holtmann as an interim coach following Miller’s leave of absence.

One thing to not about the Butler job: not only is it around a top 25 close in the sport, it’s a great stepping-stone job. The last four Butler head coaches that did not leave due to health reasons were Thad Matta (Ohio State by way of Xavier), Todd Lickliter (Iowa), Stevens and Holtmann.

So who will Butler target this time around?

Micah Shrewsberry, Boston Celtics: It’s not a secret that Butler like to keep it within the Butler family when it comes to making coaching decisions, and Shrewsberry certainly falls under that umbrella. He spent three seasons as a Butler assistant when Stevens was the head coach, helping lead the Bulldogs to both national title games, before moving onto Purdue and, eventually, the Celtics with Stevens. It is thought that Shrewsberry would have Stevens’ endorsement, and that still carries weight at Butler. Shrewsberry was a candidate for the UMass opening earlier this spring.

Lavall Jordan, Milwaukee: Jordan is a Butler grad that spent three years as an assistant with the Bulldogs before following Lickliter to Iowa. He spent six years on John Beilein’s staff with Michigan before taking over at Milwaukee this past season. The Panthers went just 11-24 this season, but they came within one game of reaching the NCAA tournament as they advanced to the Horizon League title game.

Terry Johnson and Ryan Pedon, Butler: Both Johnson and Pedon are assistants on Butler’s staff, and Collier has a reputation for giving his current assistants a shot at interviewing for coaching openings. Johnson has been on staff for 11 years while Pedon joined the program two years ago from Illinois. Mike Schrage, Butler’s third assistant, joined the program last spring after spending time at Stanford and Duke.

Michael Lewis, Nebraska: Lewis is a former star at Indiana — he held the program’s assist record until Yogi Ferrell broke it — that was a high school star in the state. He spent time on Bobby Knight’s staff at Texas Tech before a five-year stint as an assistant with the Bulldogs. He left Butler for Nebraska prior to last season.

Matthew Graves, South Alabama: Graves spent 13 seasons as a staffer at Butler, spanning the tenures of Matta, Lickliter and Stevens, before taking over at the head coach at South Alabama in 2013. He hasn’t had much success with the Jaguars — he’s never won more than 14 games or had a winning record in league play — and that may drop him down the list.

Ronald Nored, Long Island Nets: It’s a long shot — Nored is just 27 years old — but he was a Stevens favorite as a player on both of Butler’s Final Four teams that has bounced around the coaching ranks ever since. He spent a year in high school, time as an assistant in the D-Leauge and on Steven’s Boston staff as well as a year with Northern Kentucky before he took over Brooklyn’s D-League team prior to last season.

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.

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

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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.”