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Texas earns big home win in double overtime over No. 16 TCU

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Texas picked up its first win over a ranked opponent this season with an inspired 99-98 double overtime Big 12 home win over No. 16 TCU on Wednesday night.

In a back-and-forth game that saw numerous ties and lead changes in the final minutes, the Longhorns won after Horned Frogs guard Jaylen Fisher missed a wide-open layup at the buzzer that would have given TCU the one-point win.

On a difficult day for Longhorn basketball that saw the school announce that sophomore guard Andrew Jones is battling Leukemia, Texas came together for its biggest win of the season. Playing without Jones, and junior guard Kerwin Roach II (fractured left hand), Texas defeated one of the better teams in the Big 12 despite missing two of its top four scorers.

Eric Davis Jr. stepped up his play in the absence of Jones and Roach to finish with a team-high 22 points as Davis was aggressive hunting his own offense when Texas needed a bucket. Dylan Osetkowski added 20 points — including a key go-ahead three-pointer with 8.6 seconds left at the end of the first overtime.

Freshman point guard Matt Coleman also had a standout performance for the Longhorns on Wednesday as he finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Although Coleman had some rough minutes down the stretch in which he over-dribbled on a few possessions, he gave the Texas offense the consistent presence they needed with the ball for most of the game.

Playing with a bigger lineup since Jones and Roach were out, the Longhorns also received a positive effort from freshman forward Jericho Sims, as he tallied 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting. Freshman big man Mohamed Bamba also supplied a strong all-around effort with 10 points, nine rebounds and five blocks as he provided a rim-protecting presence that made TCU’s offense think twice around the rim.

This is such a huge win for Texas. Nobody would have blamed the Longhorns had they come out flat after a day like today. Instead, Texas showed a lot of heart by winning a huge conference game that they needed to get at home in order to keep their postseason dreams going.

Things aren’t going to get any easier for Texas the rest of the way in the Big 12. West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Kansas all loom for the Longhorns as they’ve only played one game so far against the league’s top four teams. But Texas had to get a game like this against TCU at home with all of those tough games coming up. The first phase of the mission is complete.

Clearly emotional after the win, Texas and head coach Shaka Smart will have to regroup as they try to figure out how they’re going to play long-term without Jones. The injury to Roach also has an uncertain timetable that is difficult to peg and that adds another issue to keep an eye on.

Regardless of what happens next, Texas proved that they’re still dangerous despite all of the complications. Even without two top scorers, the Longhorns have enough balance and enough weapons to hang with a top-25 team and win. It’s hard to say if Texas can sustain this level of play with the issues currently surrounding the team. But for at least one night, Texas got the win they needed as they start to figure out the future.

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.