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Tuesdays College Basketball Recap: Villanova, Arizona, West Virginia land big wins

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Villanova’s Mikal Bridges thrust himself into the national consciousness on Tuesday night. Playing in primetime on national television in the most hyped game of a terrific night of college hoops. Bridges exploded for a career-high 28 points, adding six rebounds and a pair of blocks as the No. 4 Wildcats handed No. 12 Gonzaga their worst loss since falling to No. 2 seed Arizona in the second round of the 2014 NCAA tournament.

Bridges was already making his way up NBA Draft boards because of his improved scoring ability, but this kind of performance is what people remember. Everyone saw this happen. In college football, we call it a ‘Heisman Moment,’ and for Bridges, this was one of those moments.

Well, if we’re being truthful, it was probably this dunk.


  • Jevon Carter nearly finished with a triple-double, posting 23 points, 10 boards, seven assists and a pair of steals as No. 18 West Virginia protected their home court and extended their winning streak to eight games as they knocked off No. 15 Virginia, 68-61.
  • Glynn Watson went for 29 points, nine boards, three steals and two assists as Nebraska picked off No. 14 Minnesota, 78-68, in their Big Ten home-opener.
  • With 25 of his 32 points coming in the second half and overtime, Keenan Evans led Texas Tech to a come-from-behind win over No. 22 Nevada, 82-76. This one is going to hurt for the Wolf Pack, who should have had this thing locked up.
  • Wichita State’s Landry Shamet had 21 points and eight assists as the Shockers notched a come-from-behind win over South Dakota State.
  • No. 23 TCU won the battle of the Dallas metroplex, beating SMU, 94-83, behind 27 points, nine boards, five assists and three steals from Kenrich Williams.


Can I get some credit for being the only member of the “Arizona is back!” bandwagon after Saturday night’s win at UNLV? I think I should, because the Wildcats proved that, if they are not all the way back, they sure are getting close after knocking off No. 7 Texas A&M in Arizona on Tuesday night. They needed that win.

What makes it all the more impressive is that it came on a night where Allonzo Trier, who was their leading scorer entering the night, finished with just seven points on seven field goal attempts. If Arizona can dispatch a Texas A&M team that won by 16 points at USC and beat West Virginia by 23, then maybe — just maybe — they’ll find a way to get themselves back into the national title picture before it’s all said and done.


Taylor Persons scored 24 points, including hitting a three with 1.5 seconds left, as Ball State shocked No. 9 Notre Dame in South Bend, 80-77, on Tuesday night in a fun, back-and-forth battle that resulted in the second loss for the Irish in three games. As good as Notre Dame looked earlier in the season, there are some depth issues slowly but surely popping up. Bonzie Colson, Matt Farrell and Temple Gibbs all logged 39 minutes, while Rex Pflueger chipped in with 35 minutes himself. That does not seem sustainable once we get into ACC play.


No. 6 Wichita State found a way to beat South Dakota State and Mike Daum, one of the nation’s best mid-major players, on Tuesday night, but it wasn’t easy. The Shockers, known for being one of the best defensive programs in college basketball, not only gave up 85 points on the night, but they allowed the Jackrabbits to hit them for a 50-spot in the first half.

And Gregg Marshall?

He was none-too-pleased about that:


We mentioned it earlier, but No. 18 West Virginia is all the way back. They beat No. 15 Virginia in Morgantown on Tuesday night, their eighth straight win since a season-opening beatdown at the hands of Texas A&M made just about everyone hop off of the bandwagon.

It wasn’t easy for No. 3 Michigan State, but they moved to 2-0 in Big Ten play with a win at Rutgers. The Spartans trailed for much of the first half and didn’t pull away until the final minutes of the game. Miles Bridges led the way with 21 points and, for a stretch of the first half, took the game over, but overall he had another relatively unimposing performance for a team that is still not totally clicking offensively. And I’m sure the 20 offensive rebounds they gave up will give Tom Izzo an ulcer.

Dylan Osetkowski had 17 points and Mo Bamba added 13 points and 13 boards as Texas went into Richmond and knocked off VCU in Shaka Smart’s first return to the school that he left three years ago.

Tyus Battle had 22 points as Syracuse reclaimed ownership of New York City with a 72-63 win over UConn in the nightcap of the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

No. 1 Duke scored 71 points in the first half against St. Francis PA. You don’t even want to know the final score. (They won by 55.)

They were playing without Bruce Brown and looked sluggish for a half, but freshman Lonnie Walker IV and No. 10 Miami turned it on in the second half and beat Boston U. by 15 points. Walker had 26.

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.