SEATTLE 23 PHILADELPHIA 17
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL – TOP 25
#14 NORTH CAROLINA 78 UNLV 51
#17 TEXAS 78 DAVIDSON 76
INDIANA 79 PROVIDENCE 58
LITTLE ROCK 76 DUQUESNE 66
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE 76 SEATTLE 65
BOWLING GREEN 78 APPALACHIAN 76 OT
ST. JOHN’S 97 BOSTON COLLEGE 93
CENTRAL FLORIDA 63 AUBURN 55
MERCER 86 GEORGIA STATE 69
HOFSTRA 73 FARLEIGH DICKINSON 58
CHATTANOOGA 62 TENNESSEE TECH 54
XAVIER 99 EASTERN KENTUCKY 96 OT
CALIFORNIA 60 NICHOLLS 49
KANSAS STATE 62 KANSAS CITY 58
LSU 96 SE. LOUISIANA 43
MINNESOTA 67 LOYOLA MARYMOUNT 64
MISSISSIPPI STATE 68 TEXAS STATE 51
SMU 91 TEXAS A&M-CC 54
SETON HALL 86 IONA 64
NEVADA 70 PACIFIC 58
TEXAS SOUTHERN 76 WYOMING 74
STANFORD 82 ALABAMA 54
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL – TOP 25
#10 OREGON 85 PORTLAND 52
#18 GONZAGA 54 SOUTH DAKOTA 50
#20 DePAUL 128 CHICAGO STATE 66
GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Centerville 50 Anderson Prep 27
Winchester 73 Knightstown 31
AP COLLEGE FOOTBALL POLL
|Rankings as of 11/29/2020|
|1||Alabama (8-0)||1550 (62)||1|
|2||Notre Dame (9-0)||1481||2|
|3||Ohio State (4-0)||1403||3|
|5||Texas A&M (6-1)||1262||5|
|9||Miami (FL) (7-1)||991||10|
|12||Iowa State (7-2)||873||15|
|14||Coastal Carolina (9-0)||694||16|
|19||Oklahoma State (6-2)||426||21|
COLLEGE COACHES FOOTBALL POLL
|Rankings as of 11/29/2020|
|1||Alabama (8-0)||1547 (59)||1|
|2||Notre Dame (9-0)||1479 (2)||2|
|4||Ohio State (4-0)||1382 (1)||3|
|6||Texas A&M (6-1)||1254||6|
|9||Miami (FL) (7-1)||1026||9|
|12||Iowa State (7-2)||855||15|
|14||Coastal Carolina (9-0)||625||17|
|18||Oklahoma State (6-2)||469||22|
AP MEN’S BASKETBALL POLL
|1||Gonzaga 2-0||1569 (57)||1|
|2||Baylor 2-0||1513 (6)||2|
|8||Michigan State 2-0||1028||13|
|11||West Virginia 3-0||943||15|
|14||North Carolina 2-0||591||16|
|16||Virginia Tech 3-0||570||NR|
|17||Texas Tech 2-1||478||14|
|22||Florida State 0-0||304||21|
|23||Ohio State 2-0||282||23|
|25||Arizona State 2-1||233||18|
AP WOMEN’S BASKETBALL POLL
|1||South Carolina 3-0||749 (29)||1|
|2||Stanford 1-0||704 (1)||2|
|6||Mississippi State 1-0||586||6|
|8||North Carolina State 2-0||564||8|
|12||Texas A&M 2-0||412||13|
|17||Oregon State 1-0||256||18|
|19||Ohio State 1-0||189||20|
|21||Missouri State 2-1||153||24|
|23||Iowa State 1-1||128||15|
DK Metcalf got extra motivation he didn’t even need.
Metcalf caught 10 passes for 177 yards, Russell Wilson threw for 230 yards and a touchdown and the Seattle Seahawks beat the Philadelphia Eagles 23-17 on Monday night.
Before the game, Metcalf said Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who coached Calvin Johnson in Detroit, compared him to the former Lions star.
“I’m getting a little respect, but you know I still got work to do. One of the defensive coaches came up to me and it kind of made me mad that he was like, `You know, I was in Detroit with Megatron but you’re not there yet,'” Metcalf said. “In my mind, I’m not trying to be Megatron. I’m trying to be me. So I had a little chip on my shoulder the whole game.”
The Seahawks (8-3) moved one game ahead of the Rams in the NFC West. The Eagles (3-7-1) fell a half-game behind the Giants and Washington in the woeful NFC East.
Carson Wentz didn’t cede many snaps to backup Jalen Hurts but had another rough game. He was 25 of 45 for 215 yards, two TDs – one in garbage time – and one interception.
Seattle’s defense entered the game allowing the most yards in the NFL and most yards passing but held Philadelphia’s inept offense to 250 yards.
Metcalf was on the board when the Eagles took J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the second round with the 57th pick in 2019. Arcega-Whiteside has 12 career catches and was a healthy inactive before landing on the COVID-19 list. Metcalf, who was the final pick of the second round, had the best game of his rookie year in Seattle’s playoff win at Philadelphia last season and again showed why he’s one of the best receivers in the NFL.
Metcalf’s 52-yard catch on third-and-13 set up Wilson’s 1-yard TD pass to David Moore that gave the Seahawks a 7-0 lead.
“It’s kind of like coming home, a place that had a chance to draft me but they didn’t so I’ve got to make them pay,” Metcalf said.
Cornerback Darius Slay, who followed Metcalf in coverage, called it the worst game of his career.
“I lost every 50-50 ball. I let the team down. I gotta play better,” Slay said.
Chris Carson made it 14-0 when he bullied his way through Philadelphia’s defense on a 16-yard run.
“You know me, I saw that end zone so my game is physical so I wanted to get it in,” Carson said.
The Eagles didn’t get a first down until Wentz ran for 20 yards with under five minutes left in the first half. Wentz scrambled for 13 yards on third-and-5 to keep the drive going and tossed a 3-yard TD pass to Dallas Goedert to cut it to 14-6 at halftime. Jake Elliott missed the extra point wide left.
Elliott’s 42-yard field goal cut it to 14-9 in the third quarter. Jason Myers hit one from 44 yards to extend it to 17-9.
After a holding call on Cedric Ogbuehi negated a 17-yard TD run by Carlos Hyde, Myers connected from 33 yards. He hit another one from 39.
Richard Rodgers caught a tipped ball on a desperation heave by Wentz for a 33-yard TD in the final minute.
Trailing by 11, Eagles coach Doug Pederson passed up a field goal and went for it on fourth-and-4 from the Seahawks 15. Wentz’s pass went straight to Seattle’s Quandre Diggs as Goedert turned the other way on the route.
The Eagles got a huge stop on Seattle’s opening series. After a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties helped the Seahawks reach the 3, Derek Barnett stuffed Moore for a 5-yard loss on fourth down from the 2.
Barnett sacked Wilson on fourth-and-2 from Philadelphia’s 37 on Seattle’s second drive.
The Baltimore Ravens’ struggle to contain an extended outbreak of the coronavirus forced their rescheduled game Tuesday night against the unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers to be moved back to Wednesday afternoon.
It’s the third fix to a matchup originally slated to be played Thanksgiving night. The game will remain on NBC, but at 3:40 p.m. ET.
Also, the Steelers’ home game in Week 13 against Washington has been moved from Sunday to Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. The Ravens home game against Dallas will be on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 8:05 p.m. on Fox and NFL Network. It was originally set for Thursday night, then moved to Dec. 7.
Ravens-Steelers was moved back one more day for medical reasons, but now Baltimore gets some time for workouts. The NFL permitted the Ravens to return to their facility on Monday night under doctors’ supervision, which is similar to what happened when the Tennessee Titans had a coronavirus outbreak earlier this season. The Titans got three days of workouts in that scenario.
“Players arrived already prepared to work out on the field, and they did not enter the locker room or training room,” the Ravens said in a statement. “We intend to hold another walk-through session on Tuesday, in preparation for traveling to Pittsburgh Tuesday evening.”
The NFL announced the most recent switches Monday after the Ravens placed starters Matthew Judon, Willie Snead and Mark Andrews on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Although Baltimore also had four players return from that list, the team will still be severely short-handed when this game is finally played. But it will get back running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins from the COVID-19 list; they tested positive on Nov. 23
The addition of Judon, a standout linebacker, and Andrews, the leading receiver on the team, brings to seven the number of 2019 Pro Bowl players that Baltimore has placed on the COVID-19 list over the past week. But Ingram will be eligible to play at Pittsburgh, leaving 12 active players and one practice squad member on the list – including 2019 league MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Cornerback Terrell Bonds, who’s on injured reserve, was also added to the expansive list Monday.
There was a bit of other good news for Baltimore, which activated linebacker Jayson Ferguson, offensive lineman D.J. Fluker and defensive tackle Broderick Washington from the COVID-19 list. Defensive back Iman Marshall was also activated, although he’s been on IR since tearing his right ACL in August.
The contest pitting two longtime rivals was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night before a rash of coronavirus cases among the Ravens forced the game to be postponed to Sunday. As Baltimore continued to stack up positive tests, the game was moved back to Tuesday night.
Now, perhaps, they’ll finally meet on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
The Ravens (6-4) will face Pittsburgh (10-0) without several of their top playmakers, including Jackson, Andrews, and defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams.
The loss of Andrews and Snead will further hinder backup quarterback Robert Griffin III, who will be taking snaps from a third-string center after Patrick Mekari and Matt Skura were placed on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday.
Andrews is a Type-1 diabetic, which makes COVID-19 potentially more dangerous. His loss should have an impact in that he leads Baltimore in receptions (38), yards receiving (454) and touchdown catches (6).
Andrews, Judon, Jackson, Ingram, Campbell, fullback Patrick Ricard and long snapper Morgan Cox were all selected to the Pro Bowl last season.
Judon owns Baltimore’s franchise tag. He is tied for the team lead with four sacks and has 34 tackles.
Snead has 17 catches for 230 yards and two touchdowns over the past four games.
The NFL’s last Wednesday game was the 2012 season opener between the Giants and the Cowboys, which was moved from a Thursday night because of a conflict with the Democratic National Convention, which was scheduled to have President Barack Obama speak on Thursday night.
“We understand that every team is going through something like this,” Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward said. “Not to this extent, but we have to be ready for any situation. I think (coach Mike Tomlin) has laid out the plan. It’s up for us to follow it and it’s up for us to bounce back with it.”
Added Steelers tackle Zach Banner, who was injured in the season opener: “I’m gonna be healthy by the time we play this game.”
The San Francisco 49ers will relocate to Arizona for the next three weeks after new coronavirus regulations put in place by officials in Northern California forced the team to find a temporary new home.
The 49ers (5-6) announced they will host the Buffalo Bills next Monday night and Washington on Dec. 13 at State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals, because they won’t be able to practice or play games at home in Santa Clara County for three weeks.
A person familiar with the team’s plans also said a decision has been made to start practicing later this week in Arizona and remain based there until at least Dec. 21. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because there hadn’t been an announcement.
The team was forced to move because the rules imposed by Santa Clara County prohibit any practice or games for contact sports and will require the players to quarantine for 14 days any time they travel more than 150 miles.
Niners CEO Jed York said the team had offers from San Diego and Arizona, but playing at the Cardinals’ home proved to be the best option. He thanked Cardinals owner Michael Bidwell and officials in Arizona for their help in “these unprecedented times.”
“The Cardinals organization, State Farm Stadium and League officials have been supportive and accommodating as we work through the many logistical issues involved in relocating NFL games,” the 49ers said in a statement.
Santa Clara County announced rules Saturday that include a three-week ban on practices and games for contact sports starting Monday. The Niners were on a plane getting ready to travel to Los Angeles, where they beat the Rams 23-20 on Sunday, when the players and coaches heard about the new rules.
Now they will likely head on an even longer road trip while trying to make a late-season playoff run. San Francisco is currently one game out of a playoff spot.
“The biggest thing for me is us all leaving our families,” coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game. “We’re all human just like everyone else. It’s a big deal to leave your family for the whole month of December. A huge deal, as everyone knows. This virus is a huge deal.”
Shanahan said it was “extremely disappointing” the players and coaches learned about the new rules on social media as they were on the plane.
The county said the dramatic rise in cases required “quick action” and the priority was making sure there is enough hospital space to deal with the coronavirus and any other health issues.
“The 49ers are one of the thousands of organizations impacted by our most recent actions,” the county said in a statement. “The County of Santa Clara has been in regular communication with the 49ers both before and after the announcement of the revised mandatory directive affecting all contact sports. We continue to do everything we can to support the 49ers, as well as all local businesses, affected communities, and families impacted by the pandemic.”
The Niners have road games scheduled at Dallas on Dec. 20 and then again on Dec. 26 at their temporary home in Arizona against the Cardinals.
They finish the season with a home game against Seattle on Jan. 3, which could be played at Levi’s Stadium if the ban is lifted as scheduled Dec. 21.
“We just got to have that open mind and positive attitude and make sure that first and foremost that everybody’s safe,” said running back Raheem Mostert, whose wife gave birth to the couple’s second child during the season back home in the Cleveland area. “That’s the main goal.”
The AFC East-leading Bills (8-3) will return to Arizona for the second time in a little over three weeks, following a heartbreaking 32-30 loss to the Cardinals. The game was decided by DeAndre Hopkins’ leaping catch of Kyler Murray’s 43-yard touchdown pass with two seconds left.
The catch was immediately dubbed the “Hail Murray,” and came 32 seconds after Buffalo pulled ahead on Stefon Diggs’ 21-yard touchdown reception. Buffalo squandered a 23-9 lead before heading into its bye week.
The Bills are coming off a 27-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
“It doesn’t matter,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “I mean, wherever they tell us to play, that’s where we’ll go to play. We can’t control that and so it’s a home game for San Fran any way we look at it, and we’re the road team. That’s how we roll.”
The rules also will impact the San Jose Sharks of the NHL and college teams at Stanford and San Jose State.
There is no start date yet for NHL training camp but some Sharks players have been taking part in voluntary rehabilitation and training in a socially distanced setting at the team’s facility in San Jose. The team said those will have to be modified to comply with the health order.
“We are reviewing what options may be available locally to allow these players to receive rehabilitation treatment and continue their training for the upcoming season,” the team said in a statement.
Houston Texans receiver Will Fuller says he’s been suspended for six games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Fuller announced the suspension on Instagram on Monday, saying that the suspension was from a medication he was prescribed that he believed to be permitted, but that was banned under the league’s policy.
“I want to sincerely apologize to the Texans organization and all of my fans for this mistake,” he wrote on Instagram. “I am looking forward to putting this all behind me and returning better than ever in 2021.”
The suspension is a big blow for a team on which he had become the No. 1 receiver in the wake of the offseason trade of DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona. Fuller ranks 10th in the NFL with 879 yards receiving and eight touchdowns this season, which are both career highs.
Fuller, who was a first-round pick in 2016, has had five 100-yard receiving games this season, capped by a season-high 171-yard, two touchdown performance in Houston’s win over Detroit on Thanksgiving.
Fuller has started each game for the Texans this season after struggling with injuries for the past three years. He will be a free agent after this season.
Browns star defensive end Myles Garrett is on track to be activated from the COVID-19 list on Wednesday after missing two games with the virus.
Garrett sat out Cleveland’s wins over Philadelphia and Jacksonville the past two weeks after testing positive on Nov. 20. He’s been isolated at home and following league protocols.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski did not want to address whether Garrett, who was leading the NFL with 9 1/2 sacks when he tested positive, had suffered moderate or severe symptoms during his illness.
The Browns (8-3) will begin on-field preparation for this week’s game at Tennessee on Wednesday, and Stefanski said Garrett has hit all the mandatory markers to ensure his return.
“He’s trending that way, yes,” Stefanski said.
If Garrett returns and plays, he’ll give Cleveland’s injury-riddled defense a major lift in the matchup with the Titans – and as the Browns (8-3) try to lock down a playoff spot.
“We talked about when Myles went out, we don’t want to win without him,” Stefanski said. “We’ll do it, but he’s a good player, so we want him out there. The guys get a big boost when they see No. 95 out there with them. That’s just based on how productive he’s been for us and all the game-changing plays he’s made for us throughout this season.”
Stefanski is cautiously confident Garrett will be his dominant self when he’s back.
“I know the kid and how hard he works, but he truth of the matter is that I haven’t put my eyes on him yet, so I’ll be able to answer that better throughout the week,” he said. “But just knowing the pro Myles is and how hard he works, I do feel confident there.”
The Browns have been hit hard by the coronavirus, which has caused disruptions across the league.
Stefanski expects fullback Andy Janovich to return this week after being out with the virus. He’ll know later this week on the status of defensive ends Porter Gustin, Joe Jackson and linebacker Sione Takitaki, who are also on the COVID list.
Cornerback Denzel Ward, who is having a Pro Bowl-caliber season, is expected to miss his second straight game this week with a calf strain suffered against the Eagles.
Also, safety Ronnie Harrision continues to undergo tests on his shoulder after he injured it while making a tackle against the Jaguars early in Sunday’s game. It was another tough blow for Cleveland’s banged-up defense and for Harrison, who used to play for Jacksonville.
Indianapolis punter Rigoberto Sanchez feels fortunate doctors found a cancerous tumor before it spread. So do the Colts.
Less than 20 hours after punting the ball five times in a loss to Tennessee, one of the most popular players in Indy’s locker room announced on Instagram he would have surgery Tuesday to remove the tumor.
“I know that it will not be an easy bump on the road, but I know I have my amazing wife supporting me along with family, coaches, and friends reaching out,” Sanchez wrote.
“Unfortunately, there are things you can’t control in life and this is one of them. No plans or preparation would have gotten me ready for this kind of adversity, but like I told my wife, we can’t flinch. Keep striving to come back stronger than ever. Makes me sick that I’ll have to miss some time playing beside my brothers, but I know they will hold it down.”
Colts coach Frank Reich, the only person on the team who spoke to reporters Monday, did not discuss details of the diagnosis, a timetable for Sanchez’s recovery or an expected return date. He said team officials were informed about the condition late last week, adding that Sanchez decided to play Sunday after consulting with doctors.
Sanchez did cede the kickoff duties he’s performed since making the team as an undrafted rookie in 2017 to rookie kicker Rodrigo Blankenship. But he still averaged 50.8 yards on the five punts, netting 40.4.
Afterward, Reich said he was proud of Sanchez’s performance as he dealt with a medical condition that would require further evaluation. Sanchez provided the additional details Monday.
Inside the organization, the Colts remain optimistic that the 26-year-old will be back on the field.
“Just catching it early before there was any spread. I haven’t talked to the doctors per se, but everything I’m getting from our medical people is very optimistic,” Reich said. “Obviously, we have great doctors here to handle it. So, we’ll proceed accordingly this week. I was having a conversation with him, you know when you’re an athlete and you’re constantly challenging your body, you probably feel when something is not right a little sooner because you’re constantly challenging your body.”
Sanchez was born in Chico, California, the hometown of two-time league MVP and Super Bowl champion Aaron Rodgers. He attended the University of Hawaii.
Indy (7-4) is expected to have a replacement punter on the roster later this week for next weekend’s game at Houston (4-7).
“Sending some huge positive vibes to (hash)Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez (at)Rigojio88,” former Colts punter Pat McAfee posted on Twitter. “An incredible talent & really cool dude who is going into surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. Can’t wait to see him get back out there & dominate.”
It’s not the first public cancer fight the Colts have waged.
Coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with a form of leukemia in September 2012, his first season with the team. Bruce Arians, then the offensive coordinator and also a cancer survivor, took over as interim coach as Pagano received treatment.
Pagano returned to his job in December and the team reached the playoffs in each of his first three seasons. Arians was named the 2012 NFL’s Coach of the Year and got his first head coaching job with Arizona in 2013, where he won the coaching award for the second time in 2014.
“It puts things in perspective,” Reich said. “Everyone’s livelihood is really important to them as far as their job and so on and so forth, how you feed your family. So football is really important to us. It’s the way we make a living. But we all know that family and health come first. I’m thankful for our organization for the family culture that we have, starting from the top – from the Irsay family. You guys know better than I do because you’ve been here longer than I have, just the extent that Mr. (Jim) Irsay and his family and this organization will go to help players when they go through situations.”
Coach Tom Allen believes Michael Penix Jr. would do anything to keep No. 10 Indiana’s magical season intact.
Even if that means spending the final month of the season working from the sideline. Again.
On Monday, Allen announced the Hoosiers starting quarterback suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament, marking the second time in three years he’s injured the right knee. Redshirt sophomore Jack Tuttle, who started his career at Utah, replaced Penix during Saturday’s victory over Maryland and now steps into the leading role for one of the nation’s most surprising teams.
“What do you say? It’s tough,” Allen said. “It’s discouraging, it’s disheartening when it first happens and then you have to fight. Michael has some big-time, long-term goals and it’s going to create more character and more resolve inside of him.”
Penix did not take questions as he normally does Monday, but this is familiar ground for the Florida native.
As the backup to Peyton Ramsey in 2018, Penix suffered the same injury in his third college game. Last year, he beat out Ramsey for the starting job but played just six games before going down with an injured shoulder joint.
What’s uncharted territory is how this injury could impact Indiana’s national status.
The Hoosiers (5-1, No. 12 CFP) have been ranked for six consecutive weeks – one short of the school record – and moved up two spots in this week’s rankings.
With a win Saturday at No. 18 Wisconsin or the following week against rival Purdue, Indiana would lock up the Big Ten East’s No. 2 seed and a possible spot in the Dec. 19 conference championship game – if No. 3 Ohio State fails to meet the league’s six-game requirement to be eligible for the title. Maryland canceled a Nov. 14 date against the Buckeyes because of a COVID-19 outbreak and last weekend Ohio State canceled its game at Illinois for the same reason.
Inside the locker room, the subject is off limits.
“We’re not going to discuss that as a team,” Allen said. “There’s one focus, beat Wisconsin.”
Indiana will be without one of its top playmakers, though. Penix leads the Big Ten in completions (124), yards passing (1,645) and touchdown passes (14) , is fourth in quarterback efficiency (138.5) and his four interceptions are the fewest among any QB with five or more starts.
Penix’s breakout performance came two weeks ago at Ohio State when he was 27 of 51 with 491 yards, five touchdowns and one interception, leading the Hoosiers back from a 28-7 halftime deficit. Ohio State held on for a 42-35 victory, a game that turned Indiana doubters into believers – at least until Penix was chased out of bounds in the third quarter Saturday.
He stayed on the ground for several minutes as players walked down the sideline to gather around. When Penix finally did get up, he couldn’t put any weight on the leg.
“It was a tough moment because as Michael went out of bounds, I didn’t think anything of it,” Allen said. “Then I look up and they’re taking him off the field.”
Now it’s Tuttle’s turn.
The California native, who some recruiting services considered a top-five pro-style quarterback out of high school, transferred to Indiana in the spring of 2019 after never taking a snap for the Utes. He finished third, behind Penix in Ramsey in the Hoosiers quarterback derby that fall and appeared in just five games last season.
But Tuttle showed his mettle Saturday by finishing a touchdown drive on his second snap and hooking up with Peyton Hendershot for a 2-point conversion on his first pass. He helped seal the victory and Indiana’s first back-to-back winning seasons in conference play since 1987-88.
“As soon as what happened happened, he put his helmet on took a few snaps and it seemed normal — just like when Mike was in the game,” offensive coordinator Nick Sheridan. “We’re excited for Jack, obviously, not the circumstances you want. He prepares hard, he works his tail off and when he came in the game, he was ready. So we have a lot confidence and faith in Jack.”
Allen expects Penix to be right there cheering for Tuttle to bring home Indiana’s first bowl win since 1991 and perhaps the third Big Ten title in school history.
“This is a football team and the other areas have to rise up when you lose a special player, and Michael is a special player,” Allen said. “He will continue to be a leader on the sideline, in the film room and help in any way he can because that’s who Michael is as a person.”
Minnesota announced Monday it has called off this weekend’s game against No. 16 Northwestern, the second straight cancellation for the Gophers due to a spike in COVID-19 cases within the program.
University officials made the decision in consultation with the Big Ten after seven additional positive cases were confirmed. The Wildcats, who lead the West Division by one game at 5-1, were scheduled to play Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium. Those Gophers who’ve contracted the virus have experienced “very, very mild symptoms,” according to coach P.J. Fleck.
College football is limping toward the postseason in late December as multiple programs deal with COVID-19 outbreaks and contact tracing protocols. Four games on this week’s schedule have been postponed or canceled. Over the last three weeks, 52 games have been called off because of COVID-19 issues out of 179 that were scheduled. Since late August, the total number of canceled or postponed games is 103.
Minnesota’s football team has turned up 47 positive cases since Nov. 19 – 21 players and 26 staff members. The Gophers paused all team activities six days ago, when they canceled the annual rivalry game at Wisconsin. Minnesota also said it will hold all meetings virtually for the rest of the season. Left on the schedule is a game at Nebraska on Dec. 12 and a to-be-determined cross-division opponent on Dec. 19.
“There’s not a lot we can do about it. Nobody’s doing anything wrong. The virus remains undefeated,” Fleck said on his weekly radio appearance on KFAN-FM. “We are in a major city, surrounded by a lot of people.”
The university is working with the state health department to isolate and treat the individuals who’ve tested positive. Last week, Minnesota added testing beyond the conference’s established protocols.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff continues to be our main priority,” athletic director Mark Coyle said. “The last couple of days have shown a decrease in positive cases, but not to the point where we are able to return to competition.”
Coyle said the Gophers are aiming to play Nebraska as scheduled, and Fleck said the team is game-planning for the Huskers.
The virus has done a number on the Big Ten race, with six cancellations so far. The 18th-ranked Badgers have likely become ineligible for the conference championship because they haven’t played enough games. East Division leader and third-ranked Ohio State, which had to cancel its last game against Illinois, would be in danger of that fate with one more cancellation.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Before the Hoosiers headed to the relocated Camping World Maui Invitational in Asheville, N.C., IU head coach Archie Miller was worried about this team’s ability to consistently rebound.
“I think we are deficient on the glass right now,” Miller said. “Trayce (Jackson-Davis) can rebound the ball, Race (Thompson) can rebound the ball. Other than that, I don’t know that we have a ton of guys going after the ball and rebound it. That is the biggest concern going to Asheville.”
That concern was over nothing, at least vs. Providence.
Indiana outrebounded the Friars 42-33 and starting guards Aljami Durham and Armaan Franklin combined for 11 boards to lead the Hoosiers to a 79-58 victory. Thompson led IU with 22 points and 13 rebounds, and Jackson-Davis added 12 points and seven boards to move Indiana to 2-0 on the season.
“The defensive rebounding was what I was really concerned about,” Miller said. “I thought, for the most part, we did a pretty good job out there. Al and Armaan, I believe both had five defensive rebounds from the guard position. Our goal for the game defensively is to be able to get guard rebounds because we’re a littler smaller, but guys scrapped and played hard.”
The Hoosiers took control early thanks to a hot start. IU bolted to a 9-2 lead in the opening minutes thanks to Thompson’s physical play. He scored on a missed layup from Franklin, and he added a pair of free throws before Franklin drilled a 3-pointer.
Thompson’s jumper in the lane a few minutes later pushed the lead to 15-5, and the Hoosiers continued to stretch its advantage from there.
Thompson scored off an offensive rebound to put Indiana up 27-13 with 5:56 to play in the first half, and following a Providence turnover, freshman Jordan Geronimo drained a 3-pointer off an assist from Durham to give IU a 17-point lead. Indiana went into the break up 37-24.
The Hoosiers shot 42.4 percent from the field in the first half, and they recorded 10 offensive rebounds. Indiana also turned the ball over just five times in the first 20 minutes.
“It was good to see that we had a lot of important contributions from everybody on the team,” Miller said. “At times, we really did a great job on the boards. At times, we were very, very good on the ball. We ended up holding serve on the boards, and a big reason why was the effort level from Race in his time out there.”
Indiana kept the Friars at arm’s length throughout the second half. Providence opened after the break with a 3-pointer from David Duke, but Jackson-Davis answered with a score inside. Following a bucket from Providence’s Nate Watson, Durham scored on a driving lay-up, and Jackson-Davis drained a pair of free throws. Thompson threw down a dunk on IU’s next possession to put Indiana up 45-31, and following a Friars turnover, Durham drained another 3-pointer to give IU a 48-31 advantage.
The Hoosiers had an answer every time Providence tried to make a push, and Indiana’s edge inside—the Hoosiers outscored Providence 36-26 in the paint—as well as its ball movement kept the Friars from building momentum. IU finished with 16 assists on 28 made baskets and turned the ball over just nine times. Defensively, the Hoosiers held Providence to 37.3 percent shooting and forced 13 turnovers, leading to 17 IU points.
Thompson converted 8-of-12 shots from the floor and 6-of-10 attempts from the free-throw line while also handing out a pair of assists. Durham finished with 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting, and guard Rob Phinisee added 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting to go with five assists.
“(Thompson) used his offseason as well as any player have ever been around,” Miller said. “He transformed his body. He worked on his game. You can tell by his touch and his offensive confidence. He’s much more offensively confident. To me, that started to spirit him a little bit in terms of being more vocal, and being, unquestionably, one of our rock-solid leaders. His emergence, to me, is one of the special things about this offseason and just watching him get a little bit of reward for what he did.”
The Hoosiers next take on Texas Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. in Asheville.
The pandemic is also disrupting the early days of the college basketball season, with coaches scrambling to fill holes in the schedule. The 21st-ranked Oregon men’s basketball program announced it would play two games in Omaha, Nebraska – against Missouri on Wednesday and Seton Hall on Friday.
Oregon is yet to open its basketball season because of the COVID-19-related cancelations of multi-team events the Ducks hoped to play in as well as a game against Eastern Washington.
Ducks coach Dana Altman was the longtime coach at Creighton, in Omaha, before leaving for Oregon and he has remained close friends with athletic director Bruce Rasmussen.
Seton Hall (0-1), like Creighton, plays in the Big East. Rasmussen served as the middleman to get the Ducks and Pirates together on Creighton’s home court at the CHI Health Center.
“It didn’t make a lot of sense for Oregon to go all the way to New Jersey or for Seton Hall to go all the way to Oregon,” Rasmussen said, “so we helped them get the game here.”
Oregon scheduled the impromptu game against Missouri on its own and might look for more games in Omaha after the Seton Hall game.
Alabama coach Nick Saban expects to be back on the sidelines Saturday at LSU.
Saban, who tested positive for COVID-19 last Wednesday, had to watch the top-ranked Crimson Tide’s 42-13 victory over rival Auburn from home over the weekend while offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian ran the show.
“I’m feeling fine, so you don’t need to worry about me,” Saban said on Monday. “And just to make it clear, I’ll be evaluated by the medical staff later in the week and they’ll make a determination as to when I come back. But I don’t anticipate any problems in being able to coach the game this week.”
The 69-year-old coach has said he had only mild symptoms and no fever. The Southeastern Conference requires those with positive tests to remain isolated for at least 10 days from when they first started experiencing symptoms. They have to have gone at least 24 hours without a fever before being allowed to return.
That gives Saban a window to return against LSU Saturday night in a game that was postponed from Nov. 14 because of the Tigers’ COVID-10-related issues.
“Of course it will be big, I mean it’s Nick Saban,” Tide safety Jordan Battle said. “Everybody knows that. It wouldn’t change things too much. As you saw, we didn’t have Coach last week and we still stayed the course.”
Saban has continued to monitor practices from home and run meetings using zoom. He wasn’t allowed to communicate with his players or coaches during the Iron Bowl, including at halftime.
Alabama (8-0 SEC, overall; No. 1 playoff rankings) did have a head start for the LSU game from the first scheduled meeting. The Tide worked one day on the Tigers (3-4) during an open date and then Monday and Tuesday of game week before it was called off.
“Because we’ve had some experience with that, I think that’ll be beneficial to how we put the plan together,” Saban said.
Alabama still has a likely makeup game at Arkansas. The Tide could lock up a trip to the SEC championship game in Atlanta on Dec. 19 with a win over LSU or a loss by No. 5 Texas A&M at Auburn.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
The first Associated Press men’s college basketball poll of the regular season remained steady at the top.
The rest, predictably, was filled with change as teams exceeded or failed to live up to preseason expectations.
Gonzaga and Baylor remained Nos. 1-2 in the poll released Monday. The Zags received 57 of 63 first-place votes from a media panel and the Bears had six first-place votes. They were the only two teams to hold their places from the preseason poll.
Gonzaga kept the top spot by a commanding margin with impressive wins in Fort Myers, Florida. The Zags (2-0) rolled over Kansas 102-90 and crushed Auburn 90-67 the next day.
“We feel we can score on anybody,” said Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, who had 28 points and 10 rebounds against Auburn. “We’ve got great coaching. If we execute our offense and move the ball and not get stymied, we feel we can score on every team.”
Baylor was forced to drop out of the “Bubbleville” tournament in Uncasville, Connecticut, after coach Scott Drew tested positive for COVID-19. The Bears (2-0) adjusted their schedule and had no trouble playing under assistant coach Jerome Tang, routing Louisiana-Lafayette and Washington.
Villanova fell nine places to No. 12 after losing to Virginia Tech, which moved into the poll at No. 16. Virginia also took a big tumble after losing to San Francisco, dropping 11 spots to No. 15.
The two losses allowed Iowa to move up two spots to No. 3, with Wisconsin and Illinois rounding out the top five. The Illini are in the top five for the first time since reaching No. 1 in 2004-05.
JAYHAWKS BREAK RECORD
Kansas dropped a spot to No. 7 after the loss to Gonzaga. The Jayhawks still managed to move atop the all-time consecutive polls list.
Kansas was ranked for the 222nd week, breaking the record set by UCLA from 1966-80.
No. 6 Duke has the second-longest active poll streak at 85 straight weeks.
Iowa has its highest ranking since the 2015-16 team reached No. 3.
Luka Garza had a lot to do with it.
The preseason All-American kicked off his senior season with 26 points and 10 rebounds in a win over North Carolina Central, then scored 41 points on 14-of-15 shooting in a rout over Southern.
“Whenever I get the ball, I feel like I can score,” Garza said. “Sometimes you have those days where you’re just making shots. I put enough work into each shot that when I put it up, I have a strong feeling that it’s going to go in.”
HOKIES MOVE IN
Virginia Tech was picked to finish 11th in the Atlantic Coast Conference preseason poll.
The Hokies may be better than expected, based on their opening week.
Virginia Tech (3-0) opened the season with an easy win over Radford, then pulled off an upset by knocking off then-No. 3 Villanova in overtime in Bubbleville. The Hokies closed out their week with an 18-point victory over South Florida after their game against Temple was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
Virginia and Villanova had two of the biggest drops in the opening regular-season poll, but there was plenty of other movement.
Houston climbed seven spots from No. 17 after knocking off No. 17 Texas Tech, which dropped three spots from last week.
No. 8 Michigan State climbed five spots after beating Notre Dame and Eastern Michigan.
No. 20 Kentucky fell 10 spots after losing at home to Richmond. The win was the Spiders’ first on the road against a top-10 team and helped them enter the poll at No. 19.
No. 25 Arizona State also fell seven spots following two wins and a loss to Villanova.
UCLA dropped out of the poll after losing to San Diego State and needing triple overtime to beat Pepperdine.