jim-boeheim

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim offers his thoughts on realignment

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Just when many thought that realignment was on a hiatus of sorts the Big Ten struck, grabbing Maryland and Rutgers to move to 14 members. There hasn’t been a shortage of opinions on the matter, and Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim offered his thoughts on the matter following the Orange’s 73-53 win over Princeton on Wednesday night.

“Rivalries don’t matter to anyone anymore,” Boeheim said according to the Associated Press. “If you ask someone at West Virginia if they like going to Texas Tech or Texas and all those places, ask their fans whether they really like that. Maybe they do. I don’t know. I don’t get it. It’s just the way it’s going. There’s nothing you can do about it.

“Like I said, if these guys [conference commissioners] were running the United States in colonial times, Brazil and Argentina would be states because they have something we need. It’s a great country.”

One rivalry that could very well fall by the wayside as a result of realignment is the series between Syracuse and Georgetown, one of the rivalries that helped turn a league created by the late Dave Gavitt to give the better programs of the Northeast a home into a juggernaut.

Whether it was Pearl Washington and Patrick Ewing getting into it during the 1985 Big East Tournament semifinals or any other moment fans of the two teams cherish, Georgetown/Syracuse was one of those game you marked on the calendar if you grew up watching the Big East.

There’s a chance that could be gone thanks to realignment but that’s no different from the fact that Kansas and Missouri won’t play each other this season, and neither will Texas and Texas A&M. Cash rules everything around college athletics these days, and until the industry is no longer a money maker that will likely remain the case.

“Maybe they should just have a draft, each conference should just draft teams … except then they’d have to make a decision and they wouldn’t be able to figure it out,” said Boeheim. “Eventually, they’ll get this thing figured out. They’ll get all the teams moved and then in a year or two someone will say `We need to take somebody,’ … But I’ll be long gone by then.”

With the ACC now at an odd number of all-sports members many expect John Swofford and the presidents he represents to make a move in the near future. And the Big East will need to make a move of its own to counter the departure of Rutgers (and any other school that may depart). Will those moves be the end of all this movement? Probably not.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Illinois State ends No. 21 Wichita State’s 12-game win streak

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.

In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.

And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.

Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.

And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.

This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.

VIDEO: New Mexico loses game on blown call by officials

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Nothing like a nice, controversial finish to get the blood flowing.

New Mexico was on the receiving end of a rule misinterpretation on Saturday afternoon, and that interpretation likely cost the Lobos a win over San Diego State and, arguably, a shot at the MWC regular season title.

Here’s the situation: New Mexico is up by three with 12 seconds left and the ball under their own basket. Their allowed to run the baseline, so Craig Neal calls a play where the inbounder throws the ball to a player running out of bounds.

Totally league as long as the player establishes out of bounds before touching the ball. The referee rules that he doesn’t.

Here’s the video:

The problem?

According to the rules, Xavier Adams — the player receiving the pass from Cullen Neal — only needed one foot on the floor out of bounds in order to establish himself as an inbounder that was able to catch that ball. He got one foot down (see the picture above), but the referees appeared to rule that he needed to have both feet down.

That was incorrect, according to the Mountain West office.

“While this was a very close judgment call made at full speed, it has been determined after careful review of slow-motion video replays the call was in fact incorrect,” the league said in a release. “The New Mexico player did get one foot down (two feet are not required) out-of-bounds before receiving the ball, thus establishing his location in accordance NCAA Basketball Playing Rules 4.23.1.a and 7.1.1.  By rule, the officials were not permitted to go to the monitor during the game to review this play.”

And here’s the kicker: When SDSU got the ball back, they hit a three to send the game into overtime, where the Aztecs won. But if New Mexico had won this game, they’d be sitting at 8-2 in MWC play, one game behind SDSU in the loss column with a return game against them in The Pit.

Instead, they’re now three games back with seven to play, meaning that the race is effectively over.

It’s tough to blame the referees here — it was a bang-bang call that is only clear in slow-motion replay — but man, that’s a big call to miss.