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Film Room: How Duke got Cam Reddish so wide open for the buzzer-beater against Florida State

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There is plenty to talk about when it comes to the play that Mike Krzyzewski drew up to get Cam Reddish wide-open for a game-winning three on Saturday afternoon.

Like, for example, why Leonard Hamilton thought it prudent to keep playing a defense (zone?) that Duke had repeatedly created open shots against on out-of-bounds plays underneath the basket.

But we’ll get to that.

Let’s start by setting the scene. There are 2.8 seconds left on the clock. Duke has the ball under the basket. The score is 78-76 and, after what feels like an hour long delay as the officials reviewed the time and whether or not Duke got the ball back and both the Coach K and Hamilton called a timeout, Duke finally had their chance to tie or win the game.

Florida State loses track of Cam Reddish.

He finds himself wide-open from the right wing.


How Reddish found himself wide-open is a much longer story that begins with a very simple concept: Force three Seminoles to guard two Blue Devils in the paint. That’s exactly what happened on the final play of the game. Duke comes out with Marques Bolden on the block on the same side of the lane as the in-bounder with three players spread across the free throw line:

Bolden goes and sets a screen for R.J. Barrett, who leaves to the corner and occupies M.J. Walker. After setting the screen, Bolden dives to the rim, a cut that Mfiondu Kabengele is forced to defend. But the trick here is that Bolden is not actually looking for the ball — he’s seeking out Trent Forrest, who has the responsibility of tracking the shooter on the perimeter.

As Bolden does that, Jack White sets a screen on Terance Mann, burying Florida State’s other two perimeter players in the paint:

Christ Koumadje is defending the inbounder. Walker has to track Barrett to the corner. Kabengele is tracking the cut that Bolden makes to the rim while Bolden and White seal off two Florida State defenders. That leaves three guarding two in the paint and no one to run Reddish off of the three-point line.

Here is the play in its entirety:

It is a brilliantly designed play against that Florida State zone, and one that Duke ran out of different alignments two different times earlier in the game.

Midway through the first half, Duke got the exact same shot for Reddish running a different action with the same concept. Once again, the Blue Devils lined up with three across the foul line, but this time, Barrett was already in the strong side corner, occupying a defender. Reddish was the furthest away from the inbounder:

Javin DeLaurier was in the middle, and he cuts to the ball as Zion Williamson cuts right behind him in order to bury Forrest — and, as luck would have it, Mann — in the lane. Since Walker cannot leave Barrett in the corner, Reddish has a wide-open look at a three. Ironically enough, he bricked this one:

In the first minute of the game, Duke ran something very similar out of an entirely differently alignment. This is the play where Coach K figures out the tweak that will get Reddish so wide-open.

Here, you’ll see Zion, Barrett and Reddish in a line across the lane at the block:

Zion screens in for Reddish, who sprints to the corner as DeLaurier dives to the basket and Barrett floats out to the perimeter. DeLaurier does not put a body on Forrest and it would have led to a steal, but the inbounds pass is tipped and it ends up in Barrett’s hands. He is gets a wide-open look at an 18-footer that he bangs home:

Here is a full look at both of those plays:

These are well-designed and well-disguised plays, all that are essentially accomplishing the same thing with the same action but with different looks. On Saturday, it earned Duke a win in a game where the best player in college basketball did not play in the second half.

I guess there’s a reason Coach K is in the Hall of Fame.

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.