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Marquette rolls past No. 13 Seton Hall

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No. 13 Seton Hall entered Tuesday’s game at Marquette as the lone undefeated in Big East conference play. The Golden Eagles made sure to change that, rolling past the Pirates by the final score of 84-64. Andrew Rowsey led the way offensively for the Golden Eagles with 31 points. But for a team known best for the shooting abilities of players such as Rowsey and Markus Howard, Marquette was able to hurt the Pirates in other areas while also making 11 three-pointers.

Ismael Sanogo led Seton Hall in scoring with 14 points, but the Pirates’ big guns struggled to make shots and defensively there were issues as well. Here are four takeaways from Marquette’s whipping of Seton Hall.

1. Marquette more than held its own on the backboards

Overall the Golden Eagles entered Tuesday ranked seventh in the Big East in defensive rebounding percentage, and in conference games Steve Wojciechowski’s team was rebounding 69.7 percent of its opponents missed shots. Going up against a Seton Hall team that was rebounding more than 37 percent of its misses on the season, Marquette had to hold its own on the glass if they were to have any chance of winning.

Marquette did more than that, posting a defensive rebounding percentage of 76.5 while also rebounding more than 32 percent of its own misses. Sam Hauser and Matt Heldt led the way with eight and seven rebounds respectively, but the Golden Eagles got the job done collectively as all nine players who saw action grabbed at least two boards. Rebounding issues cost the Golden Eagles in their close loss to Xavier in the Big East opener, but that was not the case Tuesday night. The key now is to consistently complete defensive possessions with a rebound. If Marquette can do that, they’ll be in business.

2. Balancing scoring and distributing remains an issue for Khadeen Carrington

Off nights happen to players all the time, regardless of how talented they may be. But when it comes to Seton Hall senior point guard Khadeen Carrington, the Pirates do not have much room for error when it comes to his production. Carrington finished Tuesday’s game with seven assists and just two turnovers, performing well with regards to distributing the basketball.

However, he was 1-for-7 from the field and scored just four points. With Andrew Rowsey going off for 31, Seton Hall needed more from a player who last failed to score in double figures in the Pirates’ win over Vanderbilt on November 24. Seton Hall has enough talent to win more than its share moving forward, but if this team is to play deep into March Carrington will have to avoid outings like the one he had Tuesday night.

3. Marquette had some “unsung heroes” step forward as well

Rowsey or Howard leading the way offensively will never come as a surprise, with Rowsey surpassing the 30-point mark for the fourth time this season with his 31-point effort. But there were others who stepped up their production, including the aforementioned Hauser and Heldt, and freshman guard Greg Elliott. In addition to grabbing a team-high eight rebounds Hauser scored 14 points, the seventh time in the last nine games that he’s scored in double figures as he’s developed into a dependable (and consistent) front court option for the Golden Eagles.

Heldt and Elliott added nine points apiece, with the 6-foot-3 Elliott also grabbing five rebounds and playing some solid defense on the perimeter. Theo John gave Marquette some good minutes in the front court as well, accounting for six points and two rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench. For the supplementary options, Tuesday’s win — and their contributions to the success — could give them additional confidence moving forward as Marquette looks to factor into the Big East race.

4. Seton Hall fell into the bad habit of settling offensively, which proved costly:

In Seton Hall’s first three Big East games the Pirates attempted a total of 83 free throws, which works out to an average of nearly 28 per contest. Against Marquette the Pirates attempted a total of ten, with five players attempting two apiece. Among those players was Angel Delgado, who attempted 12 free throws in Seton Hall’s win at Butler over the weekend. Seton Hall didn’t produce enough touches around the basket, far too often settling for jump shots that essentially bailed out the Marquette defense.

Seton Hall was able to cut an eight-point halftime deficit down to one early in the second half, but they were unable to get any closer. Marquette certainly deserves a lot of credit for this, but the Pirates played a role in this as well. Seton Hall isn’t a good free throw shooting team, making just 66.6 percent of their attempts on the season, but they’re capable of making up for this by producing a high number of opportunities to score points from the charity stripe. Kevin Willard’s team didn’t do that against Marquette, and that contributed to their largest margin of defeat this season.

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.