Kaleb Tarczewski, Glenn Robinson III

New Year’s Resolutions: Michigan Wolverines

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Over the course of the holiday week, we at College Basketball Talk will be detailing what we believe will be the New Year’s Resolutions of some of the nation’s most talented, most disappointing, and thoroughly enigmatic teams. What can we say, we’re in a giving mood. Who else made Resolutions? Click here to find out. WHAT DOES MICHIGAN PROMISE TO DO MORE OF?: Production from Glenn Robinson III

  • Why it will happen: Glenn Robinson scored a career-high 23 points against Holy Cross on Saturday, which followed a 17-point performance in a win over Stanford. And for one half against top-ranked Arizona, he was a perfect 7-of-7 from the field. Mitch McGary, a preseason All-American, is out indefinitely, electing for back surgery earlier this week, meaning the Wolverines will be looking for more from Robinson to go along with leading scoring Nik Stauskas. In four games since scoring just eight points in an ugly offensive performance against Duke, Robinson is averaging 19.3 points per game as the Wolverines are heading into Big Ten play.
  • Why it won’t happen: Going back to two weeks ago when Michigan lost to Arizona at home, Robinson posted only four points in the second half – two of which came when Kaleb Tarczewski was holding his ankle on the other end of the floor. Earlier in the season he was clearly struggling without last season’s player of the year Trey Burke. Those struggles could continue into conference play, especially with Michigan balancing the point guard play between Derrick Walton and Spike Albrecht.

WHAT DOES MICHIGAN SWEAR THEY WILL DO LESS OF? Miss on opportunities to land marquee wins

  • Why it will happen: The Wolverines entered a top-10 team, but without a healthy McGary, they have missed out on opportunities to defeat Iowa State in Ames, Duke in Cameron and Arizona at home. Heading into conference play — again without McGary — Michigan will have ample opportunities to land a win over a ranked opponent. The Wolverines will have four conference games — Minnesota, Northwestern, Nebraska and Penn State — to prepare before traveling to Wisconsin, the first of three games against ranked opponents (two of them on the road). Michigan could potentially play four more games against Top 25 teams in February.
  • Why it won’t happen: Michigan has struggled without Burke, and now are without the inside presence of McGary. Michigan may have multiple chances to pick up quality wins, but those games could easily end with more tallies in the loss column leaving little room for error.

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?