It’s been a busy day for the Big Ten, as earlier Monday, the conference was announced as a participant in the newly-created Gavitt Tipoff Games with the Big East to open the college basketball season beginning in 2015.
Now comes news for the Big Ten’s postseason plans as it was reported by multiple outlets on Monday afternoon that the Big Ten Tournament would move to Washington D.C.
The Big Ten’s move to our nation’s capital for the league tournament was first reported by Justin Albers of Scout.com and also confirmed to be at the Verizon Center on March 8-12, 2017 by the Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt.
Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson confirmed to Prewitt the Big Ten’s plans to move to the home of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals for the 2017 edition of the league’s men’s basketball tournament.
A 1 p.m. press conference is scheduled at the Verizon Center on Tuesday that features Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney as well as Anderson and Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon.
“We’re excited the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament will be played at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.,” Anderson said to Prewitt. “The Big Ten has shared its commitment to having a strong presence on the East Coast. It’s a great opportunity for our fans to attend the tournament in our backyard and it should be a tremendous atmosphere.”
The Big Ten has only played it’s men’s basketball conference tournament at Chicago’s United Center and Indianapolis’ Banker’s Life Fieldhouse since the event began in 1998 and it wouldn’t be any surprise if Washington D.C. was permanently alternated into the equation to continue to conference’s growth on the East Coast. With Maryland and Rutgers joining the league in 2014-15, the Big Ten will have a growing East Coast presence to go along with current member Penn State.
The Big Ten is also putting new offices in New York — to go along with headquarters in Chicago — and is also opening a satellite office in Washington D.C.
The Verizon Center will also host the ACC Tournament in 2016.
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?