Gonzaga v Wichita State

Report: Wichita State wants in on the season-opening quadruple-header in Dallas

Leave a comment

Getting to the Final Four as a program from a mid-major conference is great for just about everyone involved.

Coaches get raises to keep them around while administrators celebrate an increase in donations and applications. Players see their popularity skyrocket on campus while some even get some special attention from NBA scouts and the folks that pick the rosters for the summer skills camps. More tickets get sold, more games get put on TV, more recruits pick up the phone, more stock is put into the program as conferences realign.

It’s all great.

Until they have to put together a schedule.

Wichita State, fresh off of a trip to Atlanta for the 2013 Final Four, is trying to get a spot in the fourth game of the season-opening quadruple-header being held at Dallas’ American Airlines Center. The spot opened up when Texas backed out of a game against LSU. The last we heard, the two possibilities to replace Texas were Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.

The Shockers are trying to finagle their way into the event, but they are running into a pushback from potential opponents.

“There’s still an opportunity in Dallas,” senior associate athletic director Darron Boatright told Kansas.com. “They are really struggling to find someone willing to play us. We’re sitting and hoping somebody gets backed in a corner where they can’t do anything else. We’ll be there to help them.”

The Shockers would be a great addition to the event, which already includes Oklahoma vs. Alabama, Baylor vs. Colorado and TCU vs. SMU. They’re a top 25 team with more national appeal than anyone participating given their run to the Final Four last season and the fact that this is basketball, not football.

But if they can’t find an opponent willing to play them?

Ironically enough, Wichita State lined up to take part in the Tip-Off Marathon, and it was announced today that they would be playing Western Kentucky at midnight local time. The Shockers will also take part in the CBE Classic, which also includes Texas, BYU and DePaul.

The Shockers are getting invited to some of the biggest events, but as of now, they may not play a tournament team in any of them.

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?