North Carolina cruises to a big win over Marquette

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North Carolina beat down Marquette.

There really is no other way to describe it.

The Golden Eagles took a 10-8 lead with into the under 12 timeout. When Buzz Williams was forced to call a timeout with 18:55 left in the second half, the score was 46-15. The Tar Heels had gone on a 38-5 run in the span of 12:25.

By the time Marquette finally came alive, it was too late. The Tar Heels cruised to an 81-63 win.

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My task here is to find deeper meaning in this game and to provide it to you in the form of a blog post. And sometimes, there just isn’t anything deep.

North Carolina is a better basketball team than Marquette. For a 12:25 stretch, Carolina absolutely caught fire while Marquette completely disintegrated. The Tar Heels were jumping passing lanes and forcing turnovers — Marquette coughed the ball up 14 times before their first assist. North Carolina was getting up and down the floor as well as they have all season, and the Golden Eagles were completely unable to get back on defense. UNC got to the offense glass at will. Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes, and John Henson dominated the interior.

It was an overwhelming performance by North Carolina, one that came on a night when Marquette played about as poorly as they are physically capable of.

These things happen.

But if you dig through the rubble, you’ll see some interesting results.

Marquette’s most effective player tonight was Davante Gardner. He’s a 6’9″ freshman that is likely sitting on the wrong side of 275 lb. He’s a big boy, he eats up space, and he pushed around Henson and Zeller on the block, finishing with 16 points and six boards (four offensive) on 6-9 shooting. He’s also half the player that Jared Sullinger is, which is concerning for Tar Heel fans should Ohio State pull out the win tonight.

The inverse of that?

Zeller beat Marquette down the floor on seemingly every transition bucket. He finished with 27 points, 15 boards (nine offensive), four assists, three steals, and at least four transition dunks that I can think of off the top of my head. That right there is our Sullinger-counter measure.

North Carolina is a very good basketball team.

We knew that before they played Marquette. How much can we learn from a blow out win over the 11th place team from a conference that has sent just 6.1% of their league members to the Elite 8?

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two¬†appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?