Indiana v Michigan

Tom Crean’s postgame dustup with Jeff Meyer is a good thing for all of us


We see it time and time again: in the age of social media and youtube and viral videos, it’s common to see a relatively unimportant occurrence blow up into a full-blown ‘scandal’, with judgements and reactions dominating Facebook newsfeeds and twitter timelines.

Sometimes it’s funny, as evidenced by the great responses to Deandre Jordan’s brutal posterization of Brandon Knight last night.

Other times, it’s more a nuisance and unnecessary, which is precisely what this tweet from Dan Wetzel generated. Tom Crean and Michigan assistant Jeff Meyer got into a bit of a yelling match after last night’s game, and after Wetzel tweeted about it, the twitterosphere’s eyes turned towards the video of the confrontation. Crean was asked about it in his press conference after the game. He was also asked about it on today’s Big Ten conference call, as was Michigan head coach John Beilein.

Crean tried to downplay it, saying that he apologized to Meyer before getting on his flight home. Beilein was less than thrilled to have to comment on it.

“Jeff and I discussed it afterwards,” Beilein said. “I’m not going to comment on another coach or another university. I will say Michigan is always going to win with class and lose with class,” he said. “I am really proud of the way Jeff showed great poise in the aftermath of that loss.”

Frankly, everyone is making a big deal out of nothing. The two coaching staffs don’t like each other? Good! That should make for some intense, entertaining games in the future. It will make for must-see TV moments, like the handshake line in Michigan beats Indiana in the Big Ten tournament. It will create intrigue and drama. There will be a buzz of twitter and the folks on Sportscenter will be talking about it. More attention on what could turn into one of the great rivalries in our sport of the next decade is a good thing.

What’s more, it’s almost a breath of fresh air. Too often, the interaction between public figures in sports and the media is all about political correctness, keeping true feelings hidden. Michigan and Indiana compete for everything in hoops: Big Ten titles, Final Fours, McDonalds All-Americans. They go head-to-head quite often. No one wants to lose.

Crean and Meyer shouldn’t have to pretend to like each other if they don’t.

Crean and Beilein have to pretend to like each other if they don’t.

They’re human beings. Competitive, intense human beings. They don’t like each other, and they’re going to react.

In fact, the only reason that I think Crean made a mistake here is that it has deflected the attention of Indiana’s achievement away from the players. Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo should be splashed across the headlines for their play last night. Jordy Hulls and Christian Watford should be getting praised for turning the Indiana program back around. I shouldn’t be writing my second post of the day about a screaming match between two grown men that don’t like each other.

You can wring your hands from atop your soapbox all you want.

I’m going to hope that Michigan and Indiana will play in the Big Ten semis.

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?