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Thursday’s Three Things To Know: Arizona State, Wichita State both lose

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College basketball’s last remaining unbeaten team will drop out of the top 25 come Monday morning.

Arizona State, at one point in the season, was No. 3 in the country with wins over Xavier on a neutral floor and Kansas in Lawrence. They still have those wins, but as of today, Arizona State is now just 4-6 in the Pac-12, sitting in eighth place in the league standings, after falling at Washington, 68-64.

The fall that we all knew was inevitable happened.

The truth is this: Arizona State is a team that doesn’t really defend with a roster full of talented-but-little guards that love to shooting tough shots. When those tough shots go in, they look great. When they don’t, they look … well, they look the way they’ve looked over the course of the last month.

Perhaps the better story here is actually Washington. A team that lost the No. 1 pick in the draft and was so dead in the water that they fired the guy that was going to bring in Michael Porter Jr. is now sitting at 16-6 on the season with a 6-3 record in the league. The Huskies, as of today, are an NCAA tournament team.

Who saw that coming?


The Owls forced 16 turnovers, held Wichita State to 41.2 percent shooting and pulled off an 81-79 upset at home.

A win is a big deal for Temple, which began AAC play with four-straight losses to negate a nice non-con that featured wins over Clemson, Auburn and Wisconsin, but the biggest news is that the 16th-ranked Shockers already have three conference losses in their inaugural AAC season.

Basically, Wichita State’s loss to the Owl handed Cincinnati, which is 9-0 in AAC play, the regular season crown with about 5 weeks still on the schedule and robbed college basketball of two really juicy matchups in the season’s last month, as is explained here.

The other big news is game provided us with this GIF of a Temple player getting laid out while celebrating, which is very important.


The list of programs that have been as consistently good as Wisconsin in the 21st is a very short one. The Badgers have been in every NCAA tournament since 1999, never finish worse than fourth in the Big Ten and went to back-to-back Final Fours in 2014 and 2015.

It’s been the steady achiever plugging along for nearly two decades.

The wheels have fallen off this season, though.

Wisconsin fell to 10-14 overall and 3-8 in the Big Ten with 60-52 loss to Northwestern at the Kohl Center in Madison.

It was clear the Badgers were due for drawback this season with the roster looking very much like Ethan Happ and everybody else, but just how bad things have gotten for Wisconsin are rather startling. They’ve already lost five games at home and have looked thoroughly overmatched against so-so competition like Northwestern, Nebraska and Iowa. Against the league’s best, they’ve been throttled, losing to Michigan State by 15 and Purdue by 38.

Greg Gard took Wisconsin to back-to-back Sweet 16s after taking over for Bo Ryan, but he and the Badger faithful are experiencing a season like one they are wholly unaccustomed to. To put it into perspective, most underclassmen on campus in Madison right now have never known a year without Wisconsin in their lifetimes.

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.