No. 8 Kansas wins fourth in a row over ranked opponent after beating No. 24 Baylor

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Kansas continues to roll in Big 12 play as the No. 8 Jayhawks got past No. 24 Baylor with a 78-68 win on Monday night in Lawrence.

The win for Kansas marked the fourth consecutive win for the Jayhawks over a ranked opponent, the first time that a team has beaten four straight ranked teams since North Carolina in 1996-97.

For the Jayhawks, it was another night in which freshmen Joel Embiid (12 points) and Andrew Wiggins had flashes of brilliance and received support from a number of other players on Kansas, most notably sophomore Perry Ellis. Kansas shot 23-for-40 for 57 percent from the field and 26-for-29 from the free throw line for the game and did a good job remaining patient and finding good shots.

Ellis looked great operating the baseline and going inside-out to the tune of a team-high 18 points and Wiggins went for 17 points and seven rebounds — and a really solid 10-for-12 from the free throw line — as the Jayhawks led the entire second half and outplayed Baylor for much of the contest.

Baylor also struggled to 39 percent shooting from the field, even though they were 13-for-27 from three-point range (48 percent) for the game. Not many teams are going to beat Kansas on the road by shooting 31 percent (10-for-32) on two-point field goal attempts like Baylor did on Monday night.

It wasn’t the biggest win for the Jayhawks on Monday night — and they continue to roll through their very difficult schedule — but Kansas is clearly the class of the Big 12 after a 4-0 start over Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma State and they continue to get better by winning games in different ways.

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?