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Three Things To Know: Seton Hall beats Maryland, Auburn’s undefeated

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NEWARK, N.J. – Thursday was a relatively quiet night in the college basketball world.

But it wasn’t a silent night.

Here are the three things that you need to know:


When it comes to the tangible stuff, Seton Hall’s win over No. 7 Maryland is massive.

The Pirates were coming off of back-to-back losses. They were playing at home for the first time since Nov. 23rd. They were playing their final quality non-conference opponent that just so happens to be a top ten team, and they were doing it at home. Beating Iowa State on a neutral court is going to be a solid win on Selection Sunday.

Beating Maryland?

At home?

That’s the kind of win that will be a difference-maker. Entering Thursday night, our Dave Ommen had Seton Hall as one of the last teams into the dance. They needed this W, and they needed it badly.

But there is more to it than simply landing a win for their resume.

For the last season and a half, the Hall has basically been looked at as a team that had Myles Powell and a bunch of guys. They win when Powell goes bonkers. They struggle when he is human, and while that is a pretty fair summation overall, the problem is that the mindset had permeated the team, in a way.

“We defer to him,” Quincy McKnight told me after the game.

They couldn’t defer to Powell on Thursday, because Powell was back home in his apartment watching the game while relaxing in a dark room.

(He was actually bouncing off the walls, lights on, and going nuts on FaceTime with his teammates after the fact. “I yelled at him,” head coach Kevin Willard said, and I’m not sure if he was kidding or not.)

That meant that the likes of McKnight and Jared Rhoden and Anthony Nelson were forced into playing bigger roles, and it worked out. McKnight had 15 points and six assists. Nelson had 10 points and four assists. Rhoden had eight points, 12 boards and three assists.

The Pirates didn’t win because of that – they won because their defense turned the Terps into a middle school JV team – but it did force Powell’s supporting cast into having to make plays to win the game without him. They had to figure it out on their own, to prove to themselves they have what it takes.

That will benefit them down the road.


The Terps, on the other hand, were just dreadful. They finished the night shooting 26.9 percent from the floor. They were 5-for-21 from three. They had more turnovers (17) than made field goals (14). Hell, they had more shots blocks (15) than shots made.

Mark Turgeon?

He was not happy, clearly frustrated by the fact that he can’t find a way to get the best out of this team. They’ve been a mess offensively in recent weeks. They look nothing like the team that beat Marquette in Orlando in November.

Specifically, Turgeon said that he frustrated by his team’s decision-making and execution. Things like the inability to execute coming out of a timeout; Maryland was down by three with the ball with less than a minute left, but they turned it over when they couldn’t run the play he called a timeout to draw up. He was unhappy about the fact that his team continually challenged Seton Hall’s two seven-foot centers at the rim, which did not go well for the Terps.

It’s never a good situation when you hear coaches say this: “Hopefully tonight will allow guys to be a little more coachable moving forward.”


The Auburn Tigers remained amongst the ranks of the undefeated on Thursday night, as they won their 10th straight game to open the season behind 24 points from Samir Doughty.

I think that this win is relevant because of the position that the Tigers have put themselves in with their scheduling. Believe it or not, but N.C. State is the first team from one of the Big Seven leagues that Auburn has played this season, and it is the only high-major foe that they are going to face until the start of SEC play. That’s not to say that the Tigers have played an easy schedule. They’ve beaten Davidson, New Mexico, Richmond, Furman and Saint Louis already this year, and every one of those teams is a top 100 team on KenPom. They ended up being forced to play Richmond after Wisconsin lost to the Spiders in the Legends Classic, and they still get Iowa State in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge.

But the truth is that there is nothing in their non-conference that is going to be overly impressive. Gonzaga went into Arizona and won. Ohio State beat Villanova by 25. Duke beat Kansas. All of those teams have statement wins. N.C. State was Auburn’s statement win, if you will.

And given the way that the non-conference has played out for the SEC, that is somewhat concerning for the Tigers. The top of the league is thoroughly unimposing. Florida and Kentucky have both been disappointing. Tennessee is working through some issues, having lost two straight. LSU just got worked over at home by East Tennessee State. If Kentucky ends up playing closer to their current ranking in the NET (77th) than on KenPom (15th), there’s a real scenario where Auburn will go through the entire season without playing a single ranked team.

What kind of seed will that lead to in the NCAA tournament?

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.