Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Tuesday’s Three Things To Know: Oklahoma beats Texas Tech, Seton Hall falls

Leave a comment

On a night where 11 games featured ranked teams, it seemed like a virtual certainty that – in a year like the one we’ve been experiencing – there would be some upsets.

And we got one.

A couple of others came close.

And while we did get our fair share of entertainment, the most surprising part about Tuesday was that nothing all that surprising happened.

Here are the three things you need to know from Tuesday night’s action.

1. TRAE YOUNG AND NO. 9 OKLAHOMA BEAT NO. 8 TEXAS TECH

After a sluggish start in the first half playing against his father’s alma mater, Young woke up in the second 20 minutes, finishing with 27 points, nine assists and four steals as the Sooners handed Texas Tech their first lost in Big 12 play this season.

This is precisely the kind of win that Lon Kruger’s club needs to be able to get if they are going to have a realistic shot at winning the Big 12 regular season title. The top of the league is so congested – Oklahoma is good, Texas Tech good, West Virginia is good, Kansas is good – that the league title could very well end up being determined by which of those four teams is able to win on the road against the other four.

Texas Tech already beat Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse. Beating Oklahoma in Norman would have put them in the driver’s seat to end the 13-year Jayhawk run atop the league.

West Virginia, however, remains in first place in the Big 12 after they beat Baylor at home. Kansas kept pace Oklahoma and drew even with Texas Tech, one game behind the Mountaineers, with a win over Iowa State at home.

2. NO. 13 SETON HALL TOOK A BEATING AT MARQUETTE

The only ranked team to lose to an unranked team on Tuesday night came when the Pirates traveled up to frigid Milwaukee and got whipped up on by the Golden Eagles, 84-64. Andrew Rowsey finished with 31 points to lead the way for Marquette, who landed a critical win in their fight to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

Steve Wojciechowski’s club is 12-5 on the season and now 3-2 in the Big East, and none of their losses are bad losses: Purdue, Wichita State, Georgia, Xavier, Villanova. The problem is a lack of quality wins. Their best, to date, was either Providence on the road, Wisconsin on the road or LSU in Maui. That’s not exactly a murderer’s row.

Beating Seton Hall, however, is impressive. The Pirates are, at worst, the third-best team in the Big East. This is going to look like a very good win two months from now, and it’s exactly the kind of win that the Golden Eagles needed to put themselves into bubble contention.

3. NO. 21 KENTUCKY AND NO. 5 PURDUE WIN THANKS TO SOME CONTROVERSIAL OFFICIATING

Kentucky survived Texas A&M in Rupp Arena thanks to a n0-call on the final possession for the Aggies.

With 3.9 seconds left, P.J. Washington missed a free throw and the Aggies bombed the ball to the other end of the floor. Tyler Davis had position on Wenyen Gabriel, but as he went to receive the pass, he was held. It looked like a clear foul from where I was sitting, but that is a tough call to make in that situation.

There’s a reason they call it home court advantage.

Anyway, Kentucky won and the Aggies lost, dropping to 0-4 in the SEC.

The Boilermakers, on the other hand, got the benefit of a friendly whistle. With 5.8 seconds left, an out-of-bounds call was overturned in favor of Purdue, giving them the ball with a chance to win the game. At the other end of the floor, a foul was called on Mo Wagner for trying to steal an entry pass to Isaac Haas. From where I was sitting, that looked like the right call. Haas was fouled.

He would make one free throw and Purdue won the game.

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
2 Comments

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

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Leave a comment

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

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
3 Comments

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Leave a comment

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.