UConn and Duke have met just nine times on the basketball court, with the Blue Devils having won five of those meetings. But what the two programs haven’t produced in quantity, it can be argued that they’ve made up for it in quality. Whether it’s the 1990 East Regional Final, the 1999 national title game or the 2004 Final Four, UConn and Duke have combined to play some highly entertaining games.
That will be the expectation when the two programs meet during the 2014-15 season, with ESPN.com’s Andy Katz reported that the game will take place “just prior to Christmas” at the Izod Center in New Jersey (it’s the Meadowlands).
Duke won the last meeting between the two teams, which occurred in the 2009 Preseason NIT title game, and they’ll begin the season as one of the favorites to win the national title. As for UConn, the status of guard Ryan Boatright and forward DeAndre Daniels will have a major impact on their chances of winning a second consecutive national title. Both are still evaluating their options in regards to the 2014 NBA Draft, with the NBA’s early entry deadline just four days away.
As for their schedules, both teams boasted solid non-conference slates even before this contest was announced.
UConn, whose non-conference slate becomes a bit more important given their belonging to the American Athletic Conference, has games against Florida (road), Stanford (road) and Texas (home) as well as a trip to San Juan to play in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. As for Duke the Blue Devils will play Michigan State in the Champions Classic, and they’ve also got games in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic and the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
And in an interesting note about this series, all nine games have been played on neutral courts.
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 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?