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If college basketball had the NBA’s trade deadline, what deals would get done?

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We’re getting down to the stretch run for college basketball teams, and if anything has become obvious this season, it’s that many of the best teams in the country are flawed. 

Let’s pretend, for a second, that trades were allowed in college basketball.

If they were, what trades would some of college basketball’s best make? 

We have answers. 

The major caveat here: These trades have to benefit both teams, and they have to be trades that, in theory, would be accepted. So, for example, no matter how much I want to pretend to send someone like Yante Maten to Kansas, it would never happen with Georgia in the mix for a tournament berth and Mark Fox on the verge of losing his job. The same can be said for someone like Kevin Hervey of UT-Arlington. He’s a senior on a mid-major that has been somewhat disappointing, but he’s also on a team with the talent to win their league.

I know it’s kind of silly to require something that could never possibly happen to be realistic, but it makes the exercise that much more fun. Anyway, here are the trades: 

MISSOURI STATE SENDS ALIZE JOHNSON TO KANSAS FOR SAM CUNLIFFE

What Kansas needs this season more than anything is front court depth. In an ideal world, they would currently have Billy Preston on their roster manning the four-spot, but he’s currently hooping in Bosnia. Mitch Lightfoot has been much better than expected, but he’s still not a gut that can go get you a bucket from that spot. Enter Alize Johnson, a 6-foot-9 senior that has averaged a double-double with three-point range for a Missouri State team that is currently outside the top half of the Missouri Valley. He’d be a perfect addition to the front court rotation. With LaGerald Vick, Marcus Garrett and Malik Newman all slated to return next, and with Kansas getting three transfer eligible (Charlie Moore and both of the Lawsons) along with a recruiting class that includes two more perimeter players, Cunliffe seems to be the odd-man out. Bill Self can afford to lose the former four-star recruit to get a player that can help him on the glass and at the four-spot.

ARIZONA SENDS DYLAN SMITH TO FORDHAM FOR JOE CHARTOUNY

The way that this current Arizona team is built, their biggest issue is that there is essentially no possible way for them to get their best defense team on the floor as the same time as their best offensive team. That’s because Dusan Ristic, who has turned into a very important player, is just not a good defender. It’s just something Sean Miller is going to have to deal with. Where that team can be improved, however, is at the point guard spot, where Parker Jackson-Cartwright just isn’t good enough at doing the things that Arizona needs their point guard to do. Enter Joe Chartouny, a 6-foot-3 junior that is one of the nation’s best on-ball defenders, averages 4.5 assists despite playing for one of the nation’s worst offensive teams and who shot 38 percent from three as a sophomore. He can be a pest defensively that will facilitate offense and make opens threes. That’s what Arizona needs at the point.

GEORGIA TECH SENDS BEN LAMMERS TO NORTH CAROLINA FOR ANDREW PLATEK, BRANDON ROBINSON

Roy Williams is one of the few coaches in college hoops that still steadfastly plays two big men together at all times. This problem this year is that doing so means that he is going to have to play at least one freshman center that is not quite ready for this level of basketball yet. This season has been a disappointment from Georgia Tech. They’re not headed for the NCAA tournament, meaning that losing senior Ben Lammers would not derail their season. Sending him to UNC, where he could partner with Luke Maye and Joel Berry II, in exchange for a pair of good young players would be a step in the right direction for the program. With Nassir Little and Coby White joining UNC next season, and Cam Johnson, Kenny Williams and — in theory — Jalek Felton returning, the Heels could spare the pair.

VANDERBILT SENDS JEFF ROBERSON TO KENTUCKY FOR SACHA KILLEYA-JONES

Vandy’s season is more or less caput at this point, but with a loaded recruiting class coming in next season, the ‘Dores should be more than willing to part with their veteran wing in exchange for a former five-star recruit that could use a new start. Killeya-Jones would fit well next to Darius Garland and Simi Shittu — and maybe Romeo Langford — while Roberson would immediately fill a void that Kentucky has for a shooter, a dominant wing scorer and a veteran leader.

TEXAS A&M SENDS J.J. CALDWELL TO MINNESOTA FOR NATE MASON

J.J. Caldwell needs a new start. Things just have not gone well for him since arriving at Texas A&M, from being ruled ineligible as a freshman to getting suspended and benched this season. The Aggies, however, still need to find some kind of leadership and playmaking at the point guard spot, and Mason can be that guy. Minnesota has collapsed in on itself since the Reggie Lynch ordeal, and Mason is an all-Big Ten player that needs a new home.

DUKE SENDS MARQUES BOLDEN, JORDAN GOLDWIRE TO WASHINGTON STATE FOR MALACHI FLYNN

Bolden is another guy that could badly use a chance to start things over, and he would get just that in Pullman. Goldwire is never going to play major minutes at Duke, although he could see them at Wazzu. Flynn, on the other hand, is a sneaky-good sophomore point guard that would provide a defensive spark, better shooting and some playmaking at the lead guard spot. It would also allow Duke to play with different lineup constructions without costing them anything more than a big man that has fallen out of favor.

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.