Oregon Colorado Basketball

No Roberson, no problem as Colorado blows out No. 19 Oregon


With leading rebounder Andre Roberson ruled out for tonight’s game against No. 19 Oregon due to a viral illness, Colorado’s chances of defeating the Ducks didn’t look to be as good as they would have been with Roberson.

Tad Boyle’s team didn’t miss a step however, as they jumped on Oregon early and controlled play throughout in a thorough 76-53 victory.

The win wraps up Colorado’s (20-9, 10-7) third straight 20-win season, and in all likelihood the result also means that the Buffaloes will make consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 1962 and 1963 seasons.

Why’d Colorado win by such a large margin? They defended, and freshman forward Xavier Johnson had arguably his best game as a Buffalo.

Oregon shot 37.5% from the field and turned the ball over 14 times, and Colorado also limited the Ducks’ second-chance opportunities (nine offensive rebounds). Those numbers are a significant improvement when compared to Colorado’s loss at California last Saturday, as the Golden Bears shot 46.4% and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds.

In regards to Johnson the freshman took another step in his development, hitting all seven of his shots from the field and scoring a game-high 22 points to lead the way for Colorado. With Roberson out Colorado needed one of their two freshman starters (Josh Scott being the other) to step up offensively and the Mater Dei product was the one to do it.

Colorado’s going to rely on Askia Booker (11 points, six rebounds) and Spencer Dinwiddie (17 points, seven rebounds and six assists) for a lot of their offensive production but those two need help if Colorado is to have success in next week’s Pac-12 tournament and the NCAA tournament after that. If Johnson can build on tonight’s outing Colorado can be successful even with Roberson unable to play.

Colorado entered Thursday’s action in good shape with regards to an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. But a bad outing with Roberson sidelined would have led to more scrutiny of the Buffaloes’ credentials.

Thursday’s result was an impressive statement to make without the country’s leading rebounder.

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

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?