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College Basketball Talk’s latest top 25 rankings



Entering the season, there seemed to be a consensus top five among pundits: Michigan State, Duke, Louisville, Kentucky and Kansas. A month into the season, all five of those teams have lost at least one game. Four teams have jumped all five in our top 25 rankings: Arizona, Syracuse, Wisconsin and Ohio State.

1. Arizona (9-0, LW: No. 2): The Wildcats have been the best team in the country this season. I think that’s inarguable at this point. They solidified their standing with wins over Texas Tech and UNLV this week.

2. Syracuse (9-0, LW: No. 4): Coming off of a win in the Maui Invitational, the Orange put a whooping on Indiana in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Trevor Cooney and Tyler Ennis look like they may be the best back court in the country.

3. Wisconsin (10-0, LW: No. 9): By March, I don’t think Wisconsin will be the No. 3 team in the country. But they’ve beaten good opponents over and over again this season. It’s time to recognize that.

4. Ohio State (8-0, LW: No. 5): The Buckeyes have been dominant defensively. Offensively, LaQuinton Ross has woken up. He’s averaging 20.0 points in his last three games.

5. Louisville (8-1, LW: No. 6): Louisville put up 113 points on Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday, but we’re still waiting for the Cardinals to notch an elite win.

6. Michigan State (7-1, LW: No. 1): The Spartans saw their No. 1 ranking disappear with a 14-point loss to North Carolina at home. The Spartans need to get healthy in a hurry.

7. Duke (7-2, LW: No. 7): The Blue Devils beat Michigan on Tuesday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. It remains to be seen whether that will be considered a good win by the end of the season.

8. Kentucky (7-2, LW: No. 3): The Wildcats may still end up being the best team in the country come March, but they’re going to have to find a way to shore up their defense if they want to make that happen.

9. Oklahoma State (8-1, LW: No. 10): The Pokes bounced back from a loss to Memphis by smacking around South Carolina on Friday night.

10. Kansas (6-2, LW: No. 8): The Jayhawks lost at the buzzer to Colorado, but Andrew Wiggins finally looked like “Andrew Wiggins”.

11. UConn (9-0, LW: No. 11)
12. Wichita State (9-0, LW: No. 12)
13. Oregon (8-0, LW: No. 13)
14. Villanova (9-0, LW: No. 14)
15. Baylor (7-1, LW: 18)
16. Memphis (6-1, LW: No. 15)
17. Florida (6-2, LW: No. 17)
18. Iowa State (7-0, LW: No. 20)
19. Gonzaga (8-1, No. 21)
20. Iowa (9-1, No. 22)
21. UMass (8-0, No. 24)
22. San Diego State (7-1, No. 25)
23. Colorado (9-1, UR)
24. North Carolina (6-2, UR)
25. Pitt (8-0, UR)

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?