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College Basketball AP Poll: Duke still unanimous No. 1, Notre Dame drops to No. 9

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Notre Dame won the Maui Invitational with an impressive comeback against Wichita State.

The Fighting Irish didn’t fare as well against another top 10 team, leading a shuffling at the top half of The Associated Press Top 25 poll .

Duke (10-0) received all 65 first-place votes in the poll released Monday after a pair of easy victories, its second straight week as the unanimous No. 1. The next three spots also remained the same from last week: Kansas, Michigan State and Villanova.

Notre Dame was No. 5 last week, but dropped to No. 9 following its 81-63 loss to the Spartans.

“They come at you with fresh bodies, they just keep coming at you and it takes its toll,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said of Michigan State.

Florida moved up to No. 5 despite not playing last week, followed by Wichita State, Texas A&M, Kentucky and Miami at No. 10 behind the Irish.

Notre Dame (7-1) pulled off an impressive comeback in Maui to beat Wichita State for its first title in paradise.

The Irish were no match for Michigan State last week, taken out of rhythm by the Spartans while falling into an early hole. Notre Dame did make a push in the second half, but Michigan State pushed back to run away with it.

The Irish bounced back to beat St. Francis Brooklyn on Sunday despite the ejections of preseason All-American Bonzie Colson (flagrant two foul) and Brey. The pair ended up in the locker room watching the rest of the game on Colson’s phone.

“That’s new territory for me,” Brey said. “That was very unusual.”

PACK ON THE RISE

Nevada has made big strides in Eric Musselman’s three seasons and this was expected to be his best team yet.

A year after making it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007, the Wolf Pack were picked as the favorites to win the Mountain West Conference title behind Jordan Caroline and Lindsey Drew.

Nevada has lived up to expectations so far, winning its first eight games for its best start as a Division I program (since 1970). The Wolf Pack were No. 22 in this week’s poll for their first ranking since finishing the 2006-07 season at No. 15.

“It’s great to see that we have that record now, but we have to keep improving and don’t want to stop now and be 8-1 or 8-2,” Caroline said after the Wolf Pack shook off an ugly first half to beat UC Irvine 76-65 last week. “We’re rolling and we have to keep moving along.”

RISING FAST

Xavier had the biggest rise in this week’s poll, moving up eight spots to No. 13 after a pair of Top-25 wins. The Musketeers beat No. 16 Baylor 76-63 and No. 11 Cincinnati 89-76 last week.

Arizona State moved up four spots to No. 20 after being ranked last week for the first time since 2009.

LONGEST SLIDE

Louisville dropped out of the poll from No. 17 after losing to Purdue and Seton Hall.

USC is down 11 spots to No. 25 following consecutive losses and Baylor fell seven places to No. 23 after losses to Xavier and Wichita State. Cincinnati was down six spots to No. 17 following its loss to Xavier.

NEWCOMERS

No. 19 Seton Hall, No. 21 Purdue and No. 24 Tennessee joined Nevada in moving into the poll this week.

DROPPED OUT

Texas Tech dropped out from No. 22 after losing to Seton Hall, Alabama dropped from No. 24 after losing to UCF. Creighton is out from No. 25 following a lopsided loss to then-No. 15 Gonzaga. The Zags moved up three spots to No. 12.

Here is the full top 25 AP Poll:

1. Duke (65 first-place votes)
2. Kansas
3. Michigan State
4. Villanova
5. Florida
6. Wichita State
7. Texas A&M
8. Kentucky
9. Notre Dame
10. Miami
11. North Carolina
12. Gonzaga
13. Xavier
14. Minnesota
15. Virginia
16. Arizona State
17. Cincinnati
18. West Virginia
19. Seton Hall
20. TCU
21. Purdue
22. Nevada
23. Baylor
24. Texas
25. USC

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

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

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.