Four NCAA teams you should not root for on Friday


With day one in the books, we’re really nowhere near our quota for drama  for the first first/second round of the NCAA Tournament. Hopefully there’s plenty more to come with an excellent Friday that sets us up for a fantastic slate of games on Sunday.

For that to happen, though, we’re going to need to get rid of the riff-raft.

Ugly, low-possession basketball is pervading the sport. So to limit our chances of seeing this type of play as the tournament goes on, let’s collectively root against some teams that play sometimes un-watchable basketball.

If you like fun, and teams that know how to keep a basketball game moving at an acceptable pace, then you’re going to want to the following four teams eliminated today.

  • Virginia –  Not only are the Cavaliers boring (second in the country in defensive points-per-possession and points -per-game) but they are the one true hurdle preventing Missouri and Florida – ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in KenPom.com’s adjusted offense efficiency – from squaring off against one another in the third-round of the NCAA Tournament. That would be fun to watch. No, actually it would be absolutely awesome to watch. With scoring slowing declining year-over-year in college hoops, fans deserve to be treated to what will likely be a high scoring, guard oriented game. Tony Bennett’s club had a nice season, an overachieving season, but they’re just not cool enough to keep partying at this dance. We don’t need a team that can hold a Drexel to just 35-points marching on into the weekend.
  • Alabama – As part of an up-and-down season, the Crimson Tide reached the 70-point mark only once in their last 12 games. That was against Arkansas, so it shouldn’t even really count. Offensive-minded fans don’t want to see this team advance, because not only would it mean that the win came over Creighton, it would mean that Doug McDermott probably had a bad game. Even worse, it would prevent us from Doug McDermott play again until November, and that’s simply not unfair. We need more than just one game of Doug McDermott.  The local media isn’t glossing over Alabama’s offensive inferences, but for some reason players aren’t that concerned, and head coach Anthony Grant says the team’s game against the BlueJays is about playing to strengths. I appreciate the positive thinking, but sometimes you gotta be able to keep up on the offensive end and the Crimson Tide have had problems doing just that.
  • South Florida – Whether or not you think this team deserved an NCAA Tournament berth, they’re a really nice story, but boy are they excruciating to watch. The Bulls breed more boring basketball than I know what to do with, and their fans have every right to call me out for that statement. Why? Well their approach works, as Stan Heath has gotten this program to their first tourney appearance in 20 years because of sound defense and a we-don’t-care-who-scores offense.  The third slowest team in the country, and ranked 326th in scoring, the Bulls don’t try and score more points than their opponent, they try to get their opponent to score less points than them. I wish this team the best, but will happily look for a different game when they’re on the tube.
  • Notre Dame – If my reaction to Notre Dame’s approach to basketball was a movable GIF, it would be this. Xavier may have slipped a bit in the rootabiltiy index as part of the fallout from the Crosstown Brawl but, ugh, do you really want the prodding Fighting Irish to advance?  Not only would we  be subjected to their gimmick offense for another game, but it would likely be against Duke! These are like the two most hated athletic programs in the country. The pretentiousness would be billowing out of our flat-screens! I’m already nauseous thinking about it. Oh man somebody get me a cool towel to damp my face.

Follow Nick Fasulo on Twitter @billyedelinSBN

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?