Sunday’s Pregame Shootaround: Wisconsin hosts Michigan State

Leave a comment

GAME OF THE DAY: No. 9 Michigan State vs. Wisconsin,1 p.m. (CBS)

Adreian Payne returned to the Michigan State lineup on Feb. 6, after a seven-game absence, to score 12 points, grabbing three rebounds in 18 minutes of action in a win over Penn State. While Payne is back in the lineup, the status of senior point guard Keith Appling is still in question. Appling made the trip to Wisconsin but Michigan State Tom Izzo is uncertain when Appling will play again.

Michigan got pummeled by Iowa on Saturday, meaning Michigan State can take sole control of first place in the Big Ten standings with a win.

The Badgers sit at 5-5 in conference play, dropping five of their last seven games. Wisconsin has lost three consecutive games inside the Kohl Center.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET? No. 12 Creighton vs. St. John’s. 7 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)

Less than two weeks ago, Doug McDermott hit a game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds to defeat an upset-minded St. John’s. Dougie McBuckets scored 39 of Creighton’s 63 points. The Johnnies erased an 18-point second half deficit but had a defensive lapse, leaving McDermott open for his last-second heroics. The Red Storm get the Bluejays on their home floor on Sunday, and if they keep it close, maybe keep an eye on the national player of the year favorite.

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: Iona vs. Canisius, 2 p.m.

Iona and Canisius meet for the second time this season with the Gaels leading the Golden Griffins by a game in the MAAC standings. These two teams first shared the floor on Jan. 17 with Canisius picked up an 85-83 win on the road, however Canisius had blown a 20-point lead. The Golden Griffins suffered an 11-point loss to Manhattan on Friday night.


1) The top two teams in the nation are in action at roughly the same time. Top-ranked Syracuse hosts Clemson at 6 p.m. No. 2 Arizona has Oregon State in Tuscon, beginning at 7 p.m.

2) Southern Miss can make it a two-way tie atop the Conference-USA standings with a win over Charlotte. The Golden Eagles trail UTEP by half a game.

3) UConn is fifth in the American Athletic Conference, heading to UCF in one of two American games on Sunday. Temple is at Houston in the first of the two games.

4) Arizona State landed a big win over Oregon at home on Saturday afternoon. The Sun Devils are in third place in the Pac-12 standings. Colorado can tie them with a win over Washington.

5) UMass has struggled in Atlantic 10 play, but had a promising outing against La Salle on Wednesday. Rhode Island has lost three of four, but the Rams are more than capable of pulling off the upset.

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?