Michigan v Indiana

Indiana remains No. 1 in new AP poll, falls to No. 2 in Coaches Poll


I cannot remember a single Monday morning where the topic of who would be the No. 1 team in the country was so wide-open.

In a season where there is no “best” team, four of the top five from last week’s poll lost in the past seven days. Kansas lost twice. Duke had a chance to vault themselves back into the top spot, but they went ahead and struggled to hold off Boston College on the road, needing a trio of Mason Plumlee free throws in the final minute to win.

As a result, this week’s No. 1 ranking felt like a toss-up. It felt like we should just have five teams tied for fifth place, and then go from there. But alas, someone has to be ranked No. 1, and for the second straight week — despite losing to a team that currently sits in the bottom half of the Big Ten — Indiana is the nation’s No. 1 team. The Hoosiers got 26 first place votes, while Duke (20), Miami (17) and Gonzaga (2) all got at least one first-place vote.

(CLICK HERE to see the full top 25 polls)

The rest of the top five is as follows: Duke, Miami, Michigan and Gonzaga. Florida falls from No. 2 to No. 7 after getting drubbed by Arkansas. A three game losing streak for the Jayhawks has dropped Kansas from No. 5 to No. 14. Oregon has falled all the way to No. 23 this week after making their way into the top ten two weeks ago.

Things look quite different in the Coaches poll. Duke takes over the top spot, receiving 18 of the 31 first-place votes. Indiana (seven first-place votes) is second, followed by Gonzaga (one first-place vote), Miami (five first-place votes) and Michigan (one first-place vote).

The only major issue I have with the poll is ranking Duke above Miami. The Blue Devils have a much stronger overall profile than Miami does, but Duke is also playing without Ryan Kelly and just a few weeks removed from a 27 point beatdown at the hands of the Hurricanes. This isn’t seeding for the NCAA tournament; this a poll, a vote to determine who in the best team in the country today.

I just don’t understand how you can put Miami behind Duke right now.

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?