SEC Vanderbilt Mississippi Basketball

Ole Miss has become this year’s most intriguing bubble team

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Marshall Henderson had 23 points, Reginald Buckner and Murphy Holloway combined for 27 points and 16 boards, and Ole Miss erased an early 10 point deficit to take home a 64-52 win over Vanderbilt in the SEC semifinals.

And with that, Ole Miss suddenly becomes one of the most interesting bubble teams in the country.

They have two wins over Missouri. They have two wins over Tennessee. They are 8-6 against the top 100 in the RPI. But they have also played 13 games against sub-200 teams and lost two of them.

And therein lies the conundrum.

Beating Vandy did absolutely nothing for the Rebels in regards to their tournament standing. The Commodores are miles better than they were back in November, but that’s still a team that is a ways away from being in the RPI’s top 100. On Sunday, Ole Miss takes on Florida, and while a win would really help their seeding, it will also earn them the automatic bid.

They’ll be in the tournament.

But what about a loss? Will keeping it close with a No. 2 seed be enough to push the Rebels past some of the other teams on the bubble?

Our Dave Ommen updated his bracket this morning, and Ole Miss was the first team out. None of the five teams in front of them played today. And of the teams currently behind the Rebels, Alabama and Maryland both lost.

That win over Vanderbilt and a potential loss to Florida likely won’t change anyone’s opinion on Ole Miss, which means that Andy Kennedy better hope that the Selection Committee thinks more highly of his team than Dave does.

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?