The Miami Hurricanes have now lost three of four with the latest loss coming by way of a buzzer beater from Georgia Tech on Wednesday night at home.
The once second-ranked team in the nation has unraveled the past few weeks, and head coach Jim Larranaga believes it could just be the wear and tear of a long season, according to Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald. Miami has one more regular season game to get back on track with Saturday afternoon’s home game against Clemson.
“We need to regroup,” said Larranaga. “We need to have a chance to get back physically, mentally and emotionally to a level that we feel good about ourselves.
“We have one game remaining, and we have positioned ourselves to be the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament,”
Although, the Canes appear to be the No. 1 seed in next week’s conference tournament, they’ve done everything to give it away. Maybe Miami is tired or maybe the U has peaked, either way it doesn’t look good.
The problems didn’t just arise when Miami was dropped by 15 by Wake Forest. Miami squeaked out a win against Virginia on Feb. 19, which was aided by a defensive miscue when two Cavaliers bit on Shane Larkin’s fake to Kenny Kadji on the perimeter, leaving Reggie Johnson alone for a uncontested layup. Before that, against the Clemson team they meet on Saturday, Miami scored 45 points and still one. It took a late three from Kadji’s, his only three of the day (1-for6), for the Miami to remain perfect in ACC play.
A week ago, Miami allowed Ryan Kelly to go off for 36 after he had been sidelined the previous 13 games. Duke is rolling with Kelly back and the way Miami has looked the past few games, those blowout wins against Duke and North Carolina seem like a distant memory.
The ACC tournament will be packed with competitive games especially if the Canes get the top spot. They have the potential to take on a Virginia team that needs to get some key wins next week as the Cavs sit on the bubble. It could also end with a third encounter with the Blue Devils. A strong showing against Clemson on Senior Day would get the U back in the right direction.
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 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?