Florida, Miami in talks for a home-and-home series

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The Florida and Miami athletic departments continue discussing the possibility of renewing the in-state rivalry.

Two weeks ago, it was reported both athletic directors were “receptive” to schedule one another in football, although, the games would have to be played at neutral sites.

On Saturday afternoon, multiple outlets reported that the Gators and Hurricanes were in talks for a home-and-home series on the hardwood. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald was the first to report the potential series while Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post confirmed the likelihood of this deal being completed.

A UM source said a home-and-home series between the Hurricanes and Gators is “in the works,” but has not been finalized.

However, asked to put a percentage on the chances of a UM-UF series happening, the UM source said “100.”

According to Porter’s sources, the first game would be played in Gainesville this season, followed by a rematch scheduled next season in Coral Gables.

The Gators made another deep run into the NCAA tournament this March, getting past the Elite 8 after three tries for Billy Donovan’s fourth Final Four appearance. The Hurricanes stumbled toward the bottom half of the conference standings after winning the ACC regular season and tournament titles in 2012-2013.

Florida will lose SEC Player of the Year Scottie Wilbekin, Patric Young and Casey Prather, but should still be a top 15 team. Miami is poised for a bounce-back season as its back court will be bolstered by the additions of transfers Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan.

The last time these two teams met in basketball was during the second round of 2009 NIT. Florida won 74-60. The Gators and Hurricanes most recent regular season contest was in Dec. 2005 with Florida earning a 77-67 victory.

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?