Eastern Michigan v Syracuse

Pregame Shootaround 1.2.13: Boeheim looks to pass Knight

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Each day, CollegeBasketballTalk brings you the “Pregame Shootaround,” which will lay out a preview for the slate of games that night. We’ll take a look at some key match-ups and important games, as well as make some predictions and point out what you need to watch for. Take a look below at today’s edition:

Note: The weekend editions of Pregame Shootaround will be published half an hour prior to tip-off of the day’s first game.

Games of the Day/Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: No. 16 Creighton at Illinois State (8 p.m.)

A great matchup to start off Missouri Valley Conference play, both a team matchup, as well as an individual matchup. Illinois State had a four-game winning streak snapped by Indiana State in the conference opener, while Creighton, the MVC favorite, comes in with a 12-1 record, a lone loss to Boise State. Doug McDermott, one of the leading candidates for Player of the Year, enters averaging 23.5 points to go along with seven boards. He’ll share the floor with a talented opponent. Jackie Carmichael 17.5 points a game, as well as over eight rebounds

No. 1 Duke at Davidson (7 p.m., ESPN2)

Not really a road game for the nation’s top team, as it will be played in Charlotte. The Blue Devils are cruising as of late, behind the National Player of the Year-type play by senior Mason Plumlee. Davidson entered the season with a lot of hype, however the Cougars already have five losses and it’s Jan. 3.

Rutgers at No. 7 Syracuse (7 p.m., ESPN3)

The classic Big East matchup of a future Big Ten school taking on a future ACC school. But seriously, big-game tonight, filled with emotions tonight at the Carrier Dome. Jim Boeheim looks to pass Bob Knight on the men’s Division I wins list, putting him behind only Coach K. This also marks the beginning of the end of a Big East charter member, with the Orange joining the ACC next year.

Five Things to Watch

1. Louisville looks for revenge against Providence. Last season the Cardinals suffered an embarrassing road loss to the Friars, 90-59.

2. Brothers go head-to-head. Jordan Bachynski and Arizona State host Dallin Bachynski and Utah. Jordan enters averaging 9.8 points per game, while Dallin chips in 7.6. per game.

3. Stevens to hit a milestone. Brad Stevens looks to notch his 150th victory against Penn tonight, in only his sixth season on the Butler sideline.

4. Catholic 7 start Big East action. St. John’s travels to play Villanova (8 p.m. ESPNU). Followed by DePaul hosting Seton Hall (9 p.m. ESPN3).

5. Another game to watch. La Salle travels down to Florida to take on Miami, in a matchup between two teams many believe could be on the bubble come March.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

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?