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No. 3 Michigan St beats Nebraska 86-57 for 6th straight rout

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Jaren Jackson gave himself a chance to show some of his potential because he figured out how to stay out of foul trouble.

The freshman had 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks to help No. 3 Michigan State beat Nebraska 86-57 on Sunday.

Jackson was limited to a total of eight points and eight rebounds in the two previous games, wins over No. 5 Notre Dame and then-No. 9 North Carolina, because he had four fouls against the Fighting Irish and three against the Tar Heels. He had four fouls in each of his first two games, overcoming that well enough against top-ranked Duke to score 19 points, and he fouled out in a scoreless game against Stony Brook in his third game.

“Usually, I get four or five of them,” Jackson acknowledged. “I just didn’t want to pick up anything crazy.”

The 6-foot-11 forward is regarded as one of the top prospects for the 2018 NBA draft if he leaves school, and Cornhuskers coach Tim Miles hopes he jumps at the opportunity.

“I can’t wait until he goes pro,” Miles said. “Maybe he can go at semester.”

Michigan State’s Nick Ward, meanwhile, matched his season high with 22 points despite being limited to just 16 minutes because he had a season-high four fouls. Cassius Winston scored 16 points and had seven assists and Miles Bridges had 12 points for the Spartans.

Michigan State (7-1) has won six straight since losing to top-ranked Duke, beating each team by at least 18 points.

Nebraska (6-3) kept the game close for about 10 minutes, unlike the Fighting Irish in an 81-63 loss Thursday night.

The Spartans took control with a 16-4 run that gave it a 34-16 lead with 5 minutes left in the first half and coasted to another lopsided victory.

BIG PICTURE

Nebraska: The Cornhuskers are searching for more players who can score against quality opponents. Their only double-digit scorer was James Palmer, who had 15 points.

“How we create for others and get easy shots for our teammates is something that we’re figuring out, slowly,” Miles said. “That needs to improve.”

Michigan State: Ward has to find a way to stay out of foul trouble. He played just 16 minutes in the Big Ten opener against Nebraska.

“Sometime, he tries to go over guys’ backs,” Izzo said.

When Ward can stay on the court, he’s tough to cover and keep off the boards.

“I’m really impressed with Nick Ward,” Miles said. “He’s improved. He’s running better. He’s not just one-dimensional.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Spartans may get more No. 2 votes than Kansas (7-0) due to their strength of schedule, beating the fifth-ranked Fighting Irish and then-No. 9 North Carolina during their dominant run. Michigan State is the only team among the Power Six conference to face three schools in the Top 10 in November.

BLOCK PARTY

The Spartans blocked 11 shots, one shy of their season high, and are averaging 7-plus blocks a game.

“You have to drive to pass,” Miles said. “You can’t drive to score on these guys.”

BALL SECURITY

Michigan State had just six turnovers, its lowest total in nearly two years.

HE SAID IT

Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio attended the game after finding out the Outback Bowl chose unranked Michigan over the No. 18 Spartans . The Wolverines won fewer games and lost to Dantonio this season for the eighth time in 10 years.

“I’ll just continue to concentrate on beating Michigan and let things sort of sort out,” Dantonio told reporters.

UP NEXT

Nebraska: Hosts No. 12 Minnesota on Tuesday night.

Michigan State: Plays at Rutgers on Tuesday night.

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.