Villanova v Temple

Temple is officially Big East bound

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Its official: Temple will be joining the Big East. That’s coming from Brett McMurphy, and if Brett McMurphy is saying it, than you can pretty much believe it.

The way it stands right now, Temple’s football program will be added in 2012 while their basketball program won’t leave the Atlantic 10 until 2013. Normally, you have to give notice if you want to leave a conference, but since the Big East would be operating with just seven football teams next season with West Virginia’s departure, they needed to add another member. Basketball can be played with “just” 15 teams; football cannot be played with seven.

You can look at this two-fold. On the one hand, the addition of Temple — which is being made immediately because the Big East needs to add another football member — helps the basketball side of a league that is losing Syracuse, Pitt and West Virginia in the very near future. Throw in the addition of Memphis, and Big East hoops may not drop as far as we initially thought.

It is, however, a major blow to the Atlantic 10. Temple, along with Xavier, is probably the best basketball program in that conference right now. Losing the Owls will hurt a lot.

In 2012-2013, Big East hoops will be losing West Virginia and dropping down to just 15 teams. But in 2013-2014, Temple, Memphis, UCF, SMU and Houston will all be added and the league will expand to 20 teams. Right now, Syracuse and Pitt are scheduled to leave for the ACC prior to the 2014-2015 season, dropping the Big East back 18 teams, but that date may end up getting pushed forward.

When all of the shifting and realigning is done, Big East hoops will look like this: Cincinnati, UConn, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rutgers, South Florida, SMU, Temple, UCF, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

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?