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Player of the Year Power Rankings: The Trae Young Show rolls on


1. TRAE YOUNG, Oklahoma: This isn’t exactly breaking news, but Trae Young is having a pretty ridiculous season for the Sooners as a freshman.

As we discussed on the podcast on Tuesday morning, Young might actually be having the best season that we have ever seen out of a guard at the college level. At the very least, he’s the best since Steph Curry graced the court at Davidson.

The most ridiculous part of his year, however, is that he someone keeps managing to one-up himself. The craziest part of the 39 points and 14 assists that he put up on Saturday wasn’t that it came on the road against an undefeated top ten team in his first Big 12 game; or that he managed to score 17 points and hand out four assists in the final 9:45, including the game-winning free throws with 7.9 seconds left; or that it felt like Young didn’t actually play all that well, shooting 9-for-23 from the floor with seven turnovers.

The most ridiculous part is that this felt … normal.

Every time Young has stepped on the floor the last five games have been progressively more mind-blowing: He had 29 points and nine assists in Los Angeles in a win over USC. He followed that up with 29 points and 10 assists in a win at Wichita State in which he had 21 points and seven assists in a first half where he made the Shockers defense look like it had gone through a combine harvester. Then he went for 26 points and an NCAA-record 22 assists against Northwestern State before posting 25 points and 10 assists in the first half against Northwestern.

That was the last game he played before Saturday’s trip to TCU.

It’s also worth noting at this point that Young has the highest usage rate of any player in the 16 years that KenPom has data for at 39.3 percent of Oklahoma’s possessions and he’s still the most efficient high-usage player in the database:

2. MARVIN BAGLEY III, Duke: Bagley had a ridiculous 32 points and 21 boards in Duke’s win over No. 24 Florida State on Saturday, with 11 of those rebounds coming on the offensive end. Bagley is now averaging 21.9 points and 11.6 boards on the season, but I discussed on the podcast this week (the 7:18 mark below) why I think he might be somewhat overvalued as an NBA prospect.

3. DEANDRE AYTON, Arizona: Like Young and Bagley, Ayton put together a ridiculous performance in a big game on Saturday. He finished with 23 points, 19 boards, three assists and three blocks as the Sun Devils had absolutely no answer on the interior for the Big Bahamian. Given the defensive issues that keep popping up for the Wildcats, being able to overwhelm teams in the paint is going to be what carries Arizona to … a Pac-12 title? A Final Four? A national title?

4. TRA HOLDER, Arizona State: Holder’s Arizona State team lost on Saturday at Arizona. Holder had 31 points. He’s averaging 22 pints, 5.1 boards and 4.5 assists for the No. 4 team in the country. He’s had a phenomenal season and nearly led the Wildcats to a win on the road against their in-state rivals.

5. JALEN BRUNSON, Villanova: Villanova lost to Butler on the road on Saturday, giving up 101 points to a team that is not exactly known as an offensive juggernaut. Brunson, however, finished with 31 points and five assists. He did, however, miss two critical free throws in the middle of Villanova’s attempted comeback.

6. JEVON CARTER, West Virginia
7. TREVON BLUIETT, Villanova
8. BONZIE COLSON, Notre Dame
9. JORDAN MURPHY, Minnesota


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.

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.