Aaron Craft, Keith Appling

Sunday’s Pregame Shootaround: Michigan State-Ohio State rematch, Wichita State eyes 34-0

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 22 Michigan State vs. Ohio State, 4:30 p.m. (CBS)

The Spartans were the top-ranked team in the nation for several weeks earlier this season. Michigan State is now toward the bottom of the top-25 with a rivalry game against Ohio State rounding out its regular season on Sunday. Can Sparty prove its recent slide was just a hiccup in what could be another deep tournament run for Tom Izzo.

It won’t be easy though. Michigan State had to hold off Ohio State in overtime, after blowing a double-digit lead, back on Jan. 7. The Buckeyes have lost back-to-back Big Ten games. A win here could potentially bump Ohio State into a tie for fourth place with Nebraska in the conference standings, depending on how the Cornhuskers fare with No. 9 Wisconsin on Sunday.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET? No. 7 Syracuse vs. Florida State, 2 p.m. (ESPN3)

Previous No. 1 Syracuse has lost four of five games. The Orange are averaging 68.1 points per game this season, but in their last nine games they are under that total. To make matters worse, Cuse faces a tough Florida State defense on the road on Sunday afternoon. The Seminoles are fighting to get on the right side of the bubble with a week before Selection Sunday.

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: No. 2 Wichita State vs. Indiana State, 2:05 p.m. (CBS)

The Shockers are looking to continue their pursuit of perfection, entering the NCAA tournament with a 34-0 record if they can get past Indiana State in the Missouri Valley Conference championship game.

MORE: Our latest bracket projections — is your team in?


1) The Colonial Athletic Association semifinals are on NBC Sports Network:

  • Northeastern vs. Delaware, 2:30 p.m.
  • William & Mary vs. Towson, 5 p.m.

2)  Winthrop and Coastal Carolina battle for a bid to the NCAA tournament in the Big South final at noon.

3) Can Dunk City make a return trip to the Big Dance? We’ll find out this afternoon as Florida Gulf Coast takes on Mercer in the Atlantic Sun championship game.

4) Nebraska has not lost a game at home in its last seven tries. An eighth straight home victory will greatly improve the Cornhuskers tournament chances as they welcome in Wisconsin.

5) The Atlantic 10 tournament is shaping up to be a wild one. Saint Louis and UMass go head-to-head in Amherst with a preview of what’s to come next week in Brooklyn.


  • No. 5 Virginia vs. Maryland, noon (CBS)
  • No. 17 Saint Louis vs. UMass, 2 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)


  • Canisius vs. Iona, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Albany vs. Vermont, 5 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Penn State vs. Minnesota, 5:15 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
  • Boston College vs. N.C. State, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • Quinnipiac vs. Manhattan, 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Hartford vs. Stony Brook, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Georgia Southern vs. Wofford, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Western Illinois vs. South Dakota State, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN3)

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?