Super Bowl Football

College basketball’s closest connection to Super Bowl XLVII

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It’s ironic that on the day that President Obama gets inaugurated for his second term, Craig Robinson — Michelle Obama’s brother — becomes the second-most relevant brother-in-law in college hoops.

That’s what happens when you’re Tom Crean and you happen to be married to the sister of Jim and John Harbaugh, the two brothers squaring off in Super Bowl XLVII on February 3rd.

Imagine that.

You’re a Final Four head coach and at the helm of the Indiana basketball program in the year that they’ve finally returned to national relevancy as a title favorite, and you’re the third most-famous and most-accomplished coach at the table during Thanksgiving dinner.

The Super Bowl comes one day after Indiana squares off with Michigan for the first time this season, which just so happens to be a 9:00 p.m. tip. But you better believe that he’ll be at the game:

Does this actually surprise anyone? When you’re provided with free tickets to the Super Bowl, you don’t turn them down. I don’t care what your job is.

For what it’s worth, Crean said the following on twitter after the Ravens beat New England last night, clinching the “Harbowl”:

We can’t put into words what it means to see John and Jim achieve this incredible milestone. We talked to Jim b4 his team plane left. All he wanted to know was how was John doing? How were they playing? One incredible family who puts the care, well being and love for each other at the forefront like most families do. Again, we are very proud of them. Going to be exciting to watch it unfold.

You can find Rob 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?