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Bubble Banter: A lot of bubble teams helped themselves on Wednesday night

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February is here!

And now that we are nearly halfway through conference play, it is time for us to get fully invested in the “who’s-in-who’s-out” discussion. Bubble Banter has never been more important!

Some quick housekeeping before we dive into it:

  • This page will be updated throughout the night. 
  • We’ll update them best that we can, but the NET rankings will be accurate through Tuesday morning. 
  • If you see something we missed, if you have an issue with a team we left out or if you want to congratulate us on a job well done, drop a comment below or hit us up here: @RobDauster.
  • On Monday, our Dave Ommen released an updated bracket. It is the only bracket you need to be up to date on. 

Onto Tuesday’s action.

WINNERS

TEMPLE (NET: 53, SOS: 39): The Owls blew out UConn on Wednesday, a good win because they couldn’t afford to take that loss. The win over Houston (7) is still really the only thing buoying Temple’s resume, but it is worth noting that road trips to South Florida, Memphis and UConn are all, as of today, Q1 games.

TEXAS (NET: 41, SOS: 4): The Longhorns snapped Baylor’s six-game winning streak, picking off the Bears by 12 in Austin on Wednesday night. I know that this team is 13-10 on the year and just 5-5 in league play with home losses to VCU, Providence and VCU and road losses to Oklahoma State and Georgia, but I still think Texas is actually fairly safe as of today. They beat North Carolina on a neutral, Purdue and Kansas in Austin and Kansas State on the road. There aren’t a lot of teams that can boast wins like that.

CLEMSON (NET: 50, SOS: 30): Clemson is one of those teams that is probably better than their resume says. They are 0-6 in Q1 games, but they do have four Q2 wins and their two Q2 losses — to Nebraska at home and Creighton on a neutral — came when those two teams were healthy. The Tigers have no bad losses, but they don’t have any good wins. They will have chances, however: Virginia Tech (11), at Louisville (15), Florida State (29), North Carolina (8) and Syracuse (47) are still on their schedule. They probably want to win three of those to really feel comfortable.

ALABAMA (NET: 45, SOS: 12): The Tide held serve at home against Georgia, which only matters in the sense that it was a Q3 games and Alabama already has two Q3 losses. They’re in good shape, however. The win over Kentucky is going to hold serious weight on Selection Sunday, and a 6-1 mark in Q2 games is a byproduct of playing a tough schedule.

LIPSCOMB (NET: 32, SOS: 216): If Lipscomb can win out and they lose to Liberty (54) in the Atlantic Sun title game, they’ll have a very real shot at getting an at-large bid. Their worst loss came home to archrival Belmont, and they have wins at TCU (37), at Liberty by 20 and at SMU(115). Things like Nebraska going in the tank and the Big East looking more and more like a three-bid league will only help.

DAVIDSON (NET: 61, SOS: 108): After a win over Rhode Island, the Wildcats will have an interesting case for an at-large bd should they not win the Atlantic 10 tournament. At it currently stands, they are 17-5 on the season with a 4-3 record against the top two quadrants but without a win in two tries against Q1 opponents. They also have a pair of Q3 losses to their name, but it’s important to note here that they lost three out of four games when the best player in the Atlantic 10 — Kellan Grady — was out injured. The biggest issue they are going to face is that they only play one top 100 NET team the rest of the year, and that’s Dayton (95) at home, a Q3 game. The Atlantic 10 might as well be the CAA this year.

VCU (NET: 49, SOS: 38): VCU won at George Washington on Wednesday. The Rams have a very similar resume to Davidson, the only difference is that they currently own a road win against Texas (41). And like Davidson, the Rams just don’t have anything worthwhile left on their schedule.

TCU (NET: 37, SOS: 22): The Horned Frogs kept themselves from falling further away from safety by holding serve against Oklahoma State at home. They head to Iowa State on Saturday and host Kansas next Monday.

LOSERS

NEBRASKA (NET: 34, SOS: 92): The slump continues. The Cornhuskers lost their sixth straight game on Wednesday night. They are now 12-10 overall and 3-9 in the Big Ten. They still get Purdue twice and have to play Michigan and Michigan State on the road, meaning that if they turn this around, there are plenty of chances there to get quality wins, but that is a monstrous ‘if’.

CREIGHTON (NET: 58, SOS: 9): The Bluejays missed on an absolutely golden opportunity to cash in on a marquee win on Wednesday night, as they lost at No. 14 Villanova in overtime. Creighton missed two free throws that would have given them the lead with 37 seconds left in regulation and followed that up by missing a shot at the buzzer that would have won the game. As of today, Creighton has just a 1-8 mark against Q1 opponents, and the one win is a neutral court win over Clemson, which will only remain Q1 if they stay in the top 50 of NET. They are currently No. 50. At this point, I think Creighton has to win at Seton Hall and at Marquette to have any chance of getting an at-large bid.

BAYLOR (NET: 31, SOS: 71): The Bears had their six-game losing streak snapped at Texas (41). That’s survivable, but it has to be noted that the Bears have a slimmer margin for error due to the fact that they have a pair of horrific losses to Texas Southern (226) and Stephen F. Austin (289) at home.

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.