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No. 13 UNC shoots nearly 66 percent, routs Tulane 97-73

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Two of No. 13 North Carolina’s best shooting performances have come in a five-day span. For the Tar Heels, it all starts at the other end of the court.

Luke Maye had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and North Carolina routed Tulane 97-73 on Sunday.

Kenny Williams and Joel Berry II finished with 13 points apiece to help the Tar Heels (8-1) win their third straight.

The defending national champions shot a season-best 65.5 percent and hit nearly 68 percent during their best-shooting half of the season, helping them put this one away by halftime.

Coach Roy Williams called it “maybe our best defensive half of the year,” but his team was pretty strong on offense, too, building a permanent double-figure lead before missing a shot from anywhere — either the field or the free-throw line.

Tulane shot 37.7 percent — a fraction of a percentage point better than Arkansas had in UNC’s best defensive performance of the season, on Nov. 24 in Portland, Oregon, in the PK80 Invitational.

“That was the key that (Williams) put on the board: Let this be our best defensive game all year,” forward Theo Pinson said. “We knew we had to be locked in defensively, and once we got after them, we had control.”

Melvin Frazier scored 27 points and Cameron Reynolds finished with 18 for Tulane (6-2). The Green Wave, who hadn’t allowed an opponent to shoot better than 50 percent before this, had no defensive answers in losing twice in three games after starting 5-0.

North Carolina dominated virtually every line on the final box score. The Tar Heels never trailed, built a 45-26 rebounding advantage, scored 62 points in the paint and blocked nine shots to Tulane’s one.

BIG PICTURE

Tulane: Coach Mike Dunleavy’s team has made progress, already matching its victory total from 2016-17 against what to this point has been a navigable schedule. But the Tar Heels — their first top-100 opponent in the Ken Pomeroy efficiency ratings — gave them a reality check and easily dropped them to 0-2 in true road games.

“Obviously, they’re NCAA champions and today they played like a team that has that pedigree,” Dunleavy said. “I was really disappointed … (and) thought we were further along, that we made more progress.”

North Carolina: The Tar Heels certainly looked like themselves again, putting together a third victory in five days after No. 3 Michigan State embarrassed them in the PK80 a week earlier. North Carolina has scored at least 85 points in every game but one — that cold-shooting loss to the Spartans — and had no trouble hitting that mark against the outmanned Green Wave. Since the Tar Heels shot a program-record-low 24.5 percent against the Spartans, they shot a then-season-best 54.8 percent against Michigan and 47 percent against Davidson. Now this.

HIGHLIGHT REEL

At the very least, the Green Wave came up with the play of the day. Frazier blew by Brandon Robinson with a behind-the-back dribble, then took off down the lane and posterized Maye with a vicious tomahawk slam. Though it was pretty, it only pulled Tulane to 23-8 with 12 minutes before halftime.

STAT SHEET

Maye finished with a career-high four blocked shots. It’s the junior’s third straight game in which he set a career best in at least one stat category. “It’s not coaching. It’s sweat,” coach Roy Williams said. “Luke Maye’s been willing to put in an amount of sweat that very few players have ever done.”

HE SAID IT

“Looks good now, doesn’t it?” — Roy Williams, on North Carolina’s 2015 recruiting class that included Maye and Kenny Williams. The class was ranked 10th in the 15-team Atlantic Coast Conference.

UP NEXT

Tulane: Plays host to Southern on Wednesday.

North Carolina: Plays host to Western Carolina on Wednesday night.

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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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

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
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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.