Doug McDermott

Arch Madness will be Arch Madness until at least 2015

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The Missouri Valley is the nation’s preeminent mid-major conference regardless of whether or not the league is having a good season or a down year.

The league is loaded with programs that have a long history of success, gobs of tradition and hoards of fans that would make some of the smaller programs in the major conferences really, really jealous.

That’s why attending Arch Madness is one of the things currently on my College Hoops bucket list. Since 1991, the MVC has held their conference tournament at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO, home of the famous Gateway Arch. (Which is why the tournament was dubbed Arch Madness. The MVC: home of great hoops and clever nicknaming skills!)

Only the Big East, who has used Madison Square Garden as the home of their conference tournament, has had a longer stay at one neutral site. Which is why the news that the MVC has agreed to keep Arch Madness in St. Louis through the 2015 season is notable.

“This was an important decision for our conference, and we are excited to be able to continue the remarkable run that our tournaments have enjoyed in this neutral city,” MVC commissioner Doug Elgin said. “We are indebted to Scottrade Center and to Family Arena and to many corporate supporters who have made it possible for us to grow our tournaments in a first-class fashion at a neutral site.”

Apparently, the Sprint Center in Kansas City and the Quest Center in Omaha have been making a push to host the event. They understand the power of the MVC fanbases.

But at the end of the day, Arch Madness will be Arch Madness for at least three more seasons. Which gives me at least three more years to notch this off my bucket list. That’s a good thing.

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?