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No. 15 Michigan overcomes Iowa in OT 77-71 in Big Ten

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NEW YORK — With Michigan’s stars saddled with foul trouble, and the shots just not falling, the 15th-ranked Wolverines got a lift from their senior sixth man to survive their Big Ten Tournament opener.

Duncan Robinson made Michigan’s only field goal in overtime, a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:15 left, and the Wolverines overcame an assortment of issues to beat Iowa 77-71 on Thursday to move on to the quarterfinals.

The fifth-seeded Wolverines (25-7) face fourth-seeded Nebraska on Friday at Madison Square Garden.

“I’m proud of our guys, because it was not — if you just look at the stat lines, the only way we could win that game was defense,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “The foul shots didn’t go in, The 3s didn’t go in. I think one guy made a 3.”

Yep, just Robinson. The Big Ten’s Sixth Man of the year was 3 for 6. The rest of the Wolverines went 0 for 13. His OT 3 put Michigan up 72-70.

“It’s a good screen by Jon (Teske) and a good pass by Charles (Matthews),” said Robinson, who finished with 11 points. “It all stems from teammates and coaches giving me confidence to step up and take that shot in the first place.”

The Wolverines made just enough free throws to hold off the Hawkeyes (14-19), who got a basket from Luka Garza on their first overtime possession and not another one.

Michigan was 18 for 32 from the free-throw line, but Robinson made two with 10 seconds left to make it 76-71.

“He did what a senior is supposed to do,” Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman said. “Step up and make plays at the end.”

Jordan Bohannon made a 3 off the dribble with 16.3 seconds left in regulation to tie it at 67 for Iowa, which trailed for much of the second half.

“Give them credit, but I’m just so pleased with how we fought back and got into overtime,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey said.

Michigan’s leading scorers, Moe Wagner and Abdur-Rahkman, were both saddled with foul trouble. Wagner fouled out with 4:37 left, having played only 15 minutes and scoring 11 points. Abdur-Rahkman fouled out with 2:34 left in overtime, having scored nine points in 22 minutes.

Matthews led Michigan with 16 points.

Tyler Cook and Garza scored 13 points apiece for Iowa.

Wagner picked up his fourth foul with 9:52 left — a call that stoked the ire of many of the Michigan fans at the Garden — on what turned out to be a three-point play for Ryan Kriener. That cut Michigan’s lead to 53-51. Michigan had missed its first 12 3-point attempts, when Robinson found the range from deep. First, the senior dropped in a 3 from the right corner, holding the follow-through for a beat, to make the score 56-51.

On Michigan’s next possession, Robinson swished a 3 from up top to push the lead to eight.

BIG PICTURE

Iowa: It was quite a few days for Bohannon. He gained national attention last weekend by missing a free throw on purpose to keep from breaking a school record held by the late Chris Street. Bohannon then scored 25 points against Illinois to lead Iowa to an opening victory on Wednesday in New York. He finished 3 for 14 for 11 points against Michigan, but his late 3 was the biggest shot of the game for the Hawkeyes.

“Just a couple of different possessions go a different way it could have been a totally different game,” Bohannon said.

Michigan: The Wolverines are trying to repeat as Big Ten Tournament champions after a memorable run to the title last year that began with the team’s plane crashing during an aborted takeoff from an airport near Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus. No one was seriously hurt, but it was a harrowing experience. Michigan made it to Washington for the tournament and proceeded to rip off four victories as an eight seed to secure an automatic NCAA bid.

These Wolverines are already comfortably in the NCAA field as an at-large.

ONE, NOT DONE

Michigan is 11-0 in its opening Big Ten Tournament games under Beilein.

UP NEXT

Iowa: On to next season for the Hawkeyes.

Michigan: The Wolverines lost their only meeting with Nebraska this season, 72-52 in Lincoln.

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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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.