Andy Kennedy, Marshall Henderson, Terry Brutus

Ole Miss sees tourney profile take a hit with loss at Texas A&M

Leave a comment

Ole Miss couldn’t afford a loss on Wednesday night.

The Rebels can barely afford any loss at this point in the season.

Halfway through February, the Fighting Marshall Hendersons have a profile that looks like it’s straight out of Conference USA. After dropping a 69-67 decision in College Station — thanks to 37 points on 13-20 shooting from Elston Turner — Ole Miss now sits at 18-6 overall and 7-4 in the SEC, a solid record before you consider that their resume lacks a shred of substance.

Their best win of the season? Over a Missouri team that looks less and less impressive as the season goes on and that was playing without Laurence Bowers at the time.

Beyond that?

Ole Miss has beaten Rutgers. They’ve swept Tennessee. They beat Arkansas. In fact, the best thing that you can say about the Rebels’ resume is that there isn’t anything bad about it. They have an RPI right around 50. The Aggies are their worst loss of the season, and Texas A&M still has a top 75 RPI.

The other issue is that there really aren’t going to be anymore chances for the Rebels to make themselves look better. Only two of their last seven games are against teams with RPIs in the top 100. Both of those games come at home. They play three teams with an RPI over 200, which means that their RPI of 47 entering today is only going to get worse.

Perhaps the best news for Ole Miss fans is that a resume without anything glaringly terrible is better than a lot of other teams right now. We say it every season, but the bubble is weak this year. There have to be 37 at-large teams that make it from somewhere. Ole Miss was a ten seed in our most recent bracket and wasn’t one of the last five teams in.

They do have some cushion.

But I can guarantee that Andy Kennedy doesn’t want to find out how much.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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?