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No. 6 West Virginia frustrates Trae Young, beats No. 7 Oklahoma


For the first time in his college basketball career, Trae Young had a bad game.

And it was Press Virginia that figured out how to make that happen.

The No. 6 Mountaineers got 17 points, 10 assists and seven boards from Jevon Carter and 20 points from Teddy Allen as they spent 40 minutes flustering and frustrating college basketball’s must-see TV attraction, taking a 89-76 win over No. 7 Oklahoma to the bank. Sagana Konate added 16 points, 13 boards and five blocks.

Young finished with 29 points and five assists, but it was far from his most efficient game. The dynamic freshman turned the ball over eight times. He shot just 8-for-22 from the floor. He missed free throws. He failed to finish layups he typically makes.

It was, quite frankly, exactly what we all expected to see happen heading into Morgantown.

We’ll get into that, and more, as we discuss the three things we learned from this game:


The Mountaineer game-plan was so simple: Do everything they possibly can to make life miserable for Trae Young. They double-teamed him after made shots and then face-guarded him as soon as they ball was inbounded to someone else. They harassed him when he did get his hands on the ball, rotating defenders on him and daring officials to call a foul on every possession. If the referees did, it didn’t matter. West Virginia has more than enough bodies: Jevon Carter, Daxter Miles, James Bolden. Hell, even 6-foot-7 Lamont West had a few possessions guarding Young.

That was frustrating enough for Young, but the gamesmenship didn’t end when the whistle blew. West Virginia did everything they could to get into his head. An extra bump here, a little shove there, holding onto his arm after the play was blown dead, standing in Young’s way as he tried to walk to his bench or his teammates.

It worked.

Young was demonstrably and visibly frustrated for much of the game. You could see it in his body language. You could see it in the conversations that he had with referees during deadballs. Hell, you could see it in the way he reacted to every missed layup and missed free throw.

Young still finished with 29 points and five assists, but he was 8-for-22 from the floor with eight turnovers. It was far from his best game, but it’s something that he is going to have to mentally prepare himself for.

Because this isn’t going to stop.

West Virginia provided the blueprint for how to slow him down, but I’m not convinced that the rest of the conference – save for Texas Tech – can do what the Mountaineers did as well as the Mountaineers did. Bob Huggins recruits players specifically for this system and those players then spend years developing within that system. You don’t learn to do what West Virginia did with two practices in the middle of conference plays.

But that sure won’t stop teams from trying, which is why …


West Virginia was more than happy to essentially play 4-on-4 in the half court on Saturday night because they knew that the likes of Brady Manek, Christian James and Kameron McGusty are made so much better by what Young can set up for them. For me, the question that will determine Oklahoma’s ceiling this season is going to be how the rest of this team reacts to these situations.

Can the Sooners not named Young make defenses pay for selling out to stop their star point guard?


As basketball continues to embrace the use of analytics and efficiency metrics, the three-ball is becoming more and more relevant. Between the spacing that shooting provides and the simple fact that shooting threes at 34 percent is more efficient than shooting 50 percent from three, we’re never going to see this go the other way.

Unless, of course, you are a pressing team.

The logic is pretty basic. Pressing teams are at their most effective when the ball goes through the basket, when they can set up their defense after a made shot. That’s how they build momentum. That’s how they wear opponents down. And, as a result, it becomes more important for West Virginia to shoot the highest percentage that they can as opposed to shooting the most efficient shot that they can. Put another way, it’s better for West Virginia to make 50 percent of their twos than it is 34 percent of their threes because they can get into their press on 16 percent more of their possessions.

Enter Teddy Allen, whose is known as Teddy Buckets. A freshman forward that comes off the bench for the Mountaineers, Allen had 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting. He had 22 points at Kansas State on Monday night. He finished with 15 points in the Big 12 opener at Oklahoma State. Combine Teddy Buckets with the looming return of Esa Ahmad, West Virginia’s second-leading scorer last season and their best interior scorer, and suddenly the Mountaineers are a team that are much more balanced on the offensive end of the floor.

And they’re already a top ten team that may be the best in the Big 12.

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.